222-226 Avenue Docteur Nancel Penard, 33600 Pessac, France
Owned by wine magnate Bernard Magrez, the Chateau Pape Clement sits only a 20-minute drive southwest of Bordeaux city, in the Pessac-Léognon appellation. It’s a wonderful place to visit or spend the night (Read, A Chateau of One’s Own), but what’s not to be missed is a wine-blending workshop run by B-Winemaker adjacent to the chateau’s beautiful gift shop.
Budding winemakers arrive at a table that is set with a variety of glasses, test measuring tubes, cylinders and, of course, wine. The main ingredients for the novice are Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the classic grapes used to blend Bordeaux, though more advanced wine aficionados can also work with other varietals. The tasting, testing, drinking (or spitting) is overseen by one of B-Winemakers experts who can help identify flavors and aromas, but the point is to arrive at a blend that is best-suited to your palate (incidentally, the most classic Bordeaux blend is: 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet).
Once you've decided on your perfect concoction, you are given an empty bottle that you fill, cork and seal, then design your own custom label for a truly unique, personalized memento from Bordeaux. The only real challenge: aging the bottle for a minimum of three years, as is recommended by the experts. I predict, my self-dubbed Chateau Catherine (subtitle: Vive La France) will not make it past year one.
B Winemakers work exclusively at Bernard Magrez’s properties, which include three wineries in all.
Written by Simone Girner