Our good friend Oz Clarke came to Bordeaux last night to launch his new book, ‘Bordeaux – the wines, the vineyards, the winemakers’. I’ve got a copy or two of the earlier version, published by Webster’s, but the updated hardback from his new publisher, Anova, is a far more impressive affair. The Bordeaux Wine Bureau (Conseil Interprofessionel du Vin de Bordeaux) were handing out free French versions to invited guests, with Oz signing merrily. I took one as a birthday present for Daniel, our vineyard manager, but we can’t decipher what Oz wrote.
Oz kindly agreed to sign a stack of books for our customers this November, each with a personal dedication, so an offer to Bauduc customers by email is imminent (to be included, go to ‘Chateau Bauduc’ above and sign up for the email newsletter, or contact me, as above).
Some serious players turned out for the launch in the wine bar at the CIVB, including Alain Vauthier of Chateau Ausone (pictured with Oz, and Madame Mitjaville of Chateau Tertre Roteboeuf), Alan Sichel, the head of the Union des Maisons (negociants) de Bordeaux, and Sylvie Cazes-Regimbeau, President of the Union des Grands Crus.
Afterwards, I had dinner with Oz, his publisher and his wife, and his long-suffering assistant Fiona at Café Gourmand near Les Grands Hommes. Oz and I had both eaten here before but we didn’t realise that it had recently changed hands. Stylish French cooking has given way to a Franco-American brasserie, with burgers on the menu alongside French classics. It almost works, but not quite. Although he didn’t want to order the Chateau Clarke 2003, it was the best value on the wine list. Unsubtle and punchy – a hearty drop from a roasty toasty vintage. I was reminded of Stephen Brook’s comment on this estate in Listrac in his excellent book, The Complete Bordeaux: ‘It has proved a difficult property to manage. The Rothschilds may, after years of costly investment, have realized why the property had been abandoned’.
Both books should be on every Bordeaux lover’s bookshelf – and they won’t look out of place on the smartest coffee tables.