Last week I met up with Dr Chris Kissack in Bordeaux. Chris was juggling a family holiday whilst also trying to do some work. I know the feeling well!
Chris is the man behind the excellent website www.thewinedoctor.com which covers many wine areas, but mainly focuses on the Loire and Bordeaux.
I have clicked on The Wine Doctor at various times, and certainly used information when researching background details for Chateaux in Bordeaux. There is a great depth of knowledge and facts on the site. I have no idea how Chris manages to keep the site up to date as well as holding down a far more important job as a real doctor in a Neonatal unit.
We met at Chateau de la Riviere in Fronsac, where I wanted to show Chris the latest wines as well as to have a good look around the amazing limestone cellars. I also invited Xavier Buffo, the winemaker along for a chat and to add his angle to the tasting. We tasted Chateau de la Riviere 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. We also tasted Aria 2009 and 2010. We ran out of time for the white, rose and clairet from the 2011.....but hopefully Chris enjoyed them later.
It was great fun to taste and chat.....and Xavier was extremely impressed by Chris' tasting ability, when it was noted that there was a change in style and quality since the 2008 vintage. This was due to a different philosophy and attitude at the estate. The yields have been reduced, the grape selection is finer and more precise, the use of oak is less and the quality is higher.
I look forward to seeing Chris' notes on the wines from Chateau de la Riviere.
Chris kindly gave Xavier and I a copy of his recently published book:
Pocket Guide to the Wines of Bordeaux. (£6.99)
The book is an excellent light read and really good introduction to the Bordeaux wine world. It is really up to date, with reviews on the 2011 vintage (as well as detailed reviews going back to 2003). I really like the easy relaxed style of the book. It is not heavy on tasting notes and historic background, but this is the perfect guide and prop for someone who is just getting in to Bordeaux or someone who wants to be current with what is happening, or even someone who is going on a wine tour to Bordeaux!!!!
There are short chapters on Biodynamic/Organics, Investment, the 1855 classification,major areas, serving wines, wine and food matches, the En Primeur system and much more.
In fact many of the Chateaux that Chris mentions in his Pocket Guide we visit on a regular basis at www.bellawinetours.com, so it is great to get different opinions and perspectives. The main Chateaux that we visit regularly are: Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Margaux, Latour, La Mission Haut Brion, Pontet Canet, Grand Puy Lacoste, Lynch Bages, Leoville Barton, Yquem, Pichon Baron, Cos d'Estournel, Smith Haut Lafitte, Domaine de Chevalier, Haut Bailly and Figeac.
I can recommend this book, and I will be buying several copies for clients on Bella Wine Tours.