Saint-Émilion’s wine is graded into three tiers – more or less – and there appears to be a correlation between the height of the tier and the width of your wallet.
A quick glance into a wine shop window tells me, I too can quaff a bottle of 1961 Pétrus for €10,000. A quick calculation into Aussie dollars tells me I’ll have to be creative and google a virtual experience. According to the tasting notes of someone called the Wine Bum, it tasted like “iron-fillings and pencil sharpenings”. I’m sort of glad I skipped the tasting.
Apart from creating outstanding full-bodied reds, the village is picture post-card perfect. Perched on a hilltop, it oversees a patchwork of vineyards, rolling hills and limestone châteaux. The town itself comprises of cobblestone street and ancient alleyways which co-exist alongside terrace cafes and dozens and dozens of wine stores.
So if your idea of a holiday is popping-in-and-out of wine shops, chatting to friendly sommeliers and quaffing a few good full-bodied reds then Saint-Émilion – the merlot capital of the world – is the place for you.
A pilgrimage-like destination for wine buffs and connoisseurs alike.
One handy travel hint though is to remain sober at all times; watch those sommeliers. There’s a good reason why they’re so friendly and it’s got nothin’ to do with your charm, beauty or wit.
For those that know me, this may seem a little out-of-character, but it appears I didn’t heed my own travel advice.
A few days ago a friendly customs officer rang and apparently I have a box of Saint-Émilion wine sitting on the tarmac at Melbourne airport. It needs to be collected ASAP otherwise they are going to charge me storage costs.
I’m praying it’s not a box of Pétrus and so is my husband.
A good travel tip is to buy your French wines when you return home; believe me, it’s far cheaper. Europa Cellars in East Melbourne has an excellent range of imported wines, even a few Saint-Émilion merlots.