As you probably know, I won the Millesima Blog Awards 2017 and I collected the trophy in France, in Bordeaux, at the Primeur Week. The prize consisted of a fabulous week tasting wines from the most beautiful Bordeaux Chateaus with my fellow bloggers and the Millésima staff. However, I think the best way to express to you the magic of this fairytale week in France is to show you this marvellous video by the very talented Frederic Lot ©FL/Millésima, who was able to sum up these 7 dreamy days in just 4½ minutes.

This article represents my week's photo report, and will also be the 'table of contents' for the next articles on the Millésima Blog Awards (really unmissable for all lovers of French wines!). Over the next few days I will add the various articles, one for each photograph. If the article is available, if you click on 'READ MORE' the dedicated page opens. If, however, the article is not yet available, nothing happens when you click! Be patient and stay tuned! 😉

Millesima Blog Awards - Day 1, Saturday 1 April 2017:

InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel (5 Stars, Michelin Guide Hotel)

In the heart of Bordeaux, right in front of the Operà, is the emblematic hotel of French luxury: the InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel. Here, amidst pampering and attention, we spent the first two nights of our week at the Primeurs of Bordeaux wines.

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Aperitif with Gordon Ramsay's Fingerfood at Victor Bar

The first night we met at the Victor Bar at the InterContinental Bordeaux. How exciting!!! Even though we were all so tired from the trip, the excitement was palpable. The fingerfoods inspired by Gordon Ramsay's typical English food were really delicious! The sommelier paired us with a great Champagne that 'degreased' them to perfection!

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Gordon Ramsay's restaurants inside the InterContinental Bordeaux Le Grand Hotel:


Brasserie Le Bordeaux Gordon Ramsay

  The first night we dined at Gordon Ramsay's Brasserie Le Bordeaux. I ate very well, although it was not the evening I was most excited about. After all, you can eat really well in France, it's just a pity that there's no pasta! 😀 Special mention for the dessert: unforgettable!


  Photo © CB/PerlageSuite  

Le Pressoir d'Argent Gordon Ramsay

  An orchid collector can only appreciate the omnipresence of orchids in every French club. After all, France is elegant, and the orchid has always been a symbol of elegance. What really amazed me, however, was the sheer number of orchids in Gordon Ramsay's restaurant: there really are more orchids than place settings! Beautiful! To tell the truth, I didn't imagine his restaurant to be like this, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. Ah, I anticipate that, fortunately, his is not one of the nightmare kitchens you see on his TV show! 


Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Millesima Blog Awards - Day 2, Sunday 2 April 2017:

Bordeaux: what to see in the French wine capital

On Sunday morning, we had a nice walk in Bordeaux, and I would say that this city deserves to have the entire historic centre as a UNESCO heritage site! Bruno, our guide, reminded me of the protagonist of one of my favourite books: 'Lord Henry' from The Portrait of Dorian Grey. I imagined him eating a butter tartine with gherkins in a Victorian drawing room just like him! Really an interesting character, so chic!

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite  

For a tasty and quick lunch, we chose L'Orangerie!

  Walking builds up an appetite... but I would say that the French have a very different concept of a 'quick lunch' than us Italians! In Italy a quick lunch is often a sleazy sandwich at the bar! At l'Orangerie, on the other hand, we had an excellent club sandwich that was really huge! And I discovered that gourmet coffee is not coffee with cream and chocolate or hazelnut liqueur like in Italy! Gourmet coffee is a great idea: a coffee accompanied by some pastries to finish the meal! (We Italians should implement it too...) It's just a pity that in France #nocoffeeFrench coffee is exactly like ours when we forget to put the wafer in the coffee machine: dirty water! But French small pastries are the best ever!


Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

La Cité du Vin: 5 reasons why you must visit it if you are in Bordeaux

The Cité du Vin is a spectacular building. For me, having studied architecture for most of my life, it is as exciting to observe it as it is to experience it. The shape is reminiscent of a decanter, the space is supple and carefully delineated. Inside then the care and avant-garde of the tasting rooms makes every sip clean and professional. What I enjoyed most, along with the Chateau Haut-Bailly tasting, was the art exhibition dedicated to paintings featuring wine.

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Millésima Blog Awards 2017: the awards ceremony

  Definitely the award ceremony and post-award dinner was my favourite moment of the week. First of all, the wineries at Millésima are stunning and carefully guard extraordinary wines, then it was great when they called us in to present us with the trophy and explain why the judges considered our wine blogs to be the best in the USA and Europe! Super WOW! Everything was so well organised and the evening was a puzzle of different moments and emotions that fitted together perfectly.


Photo © FL/Millésima

Millesima Blog Awards - Day 3, Monday 3 April 2017:

Château Pichon Baron: the magic of arrival, tasting, aperitif and lunch at the château

I had already seen this castle several times in photographs, but I guarantee you that seeing it in front of you has a completely different effect! I was really excited when I saw it... and to think that I would be staying here for the rest of the week really made me feel like a fairytale princess! My room was beautiful: circular, well-kept and with lovely floral patterns! Every night I could hear a toad croaking outside my window, but I refused to kiss it! Potential princes don't interest me anymore, by now to give my kiss I want to see tangible titles displayed or I don't even consider them! 😀 😀 😀

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Château Beychevelle:

  This castle is really beautiful, and the new wine cellar even more so! I can say that I had never visited such a beautiful wine cellar! I loved the motif of the waves and the boat, which are the common denominator in every corner of this Chateau! The wines are truly remarkable! One thing that amazed me was the tidiness and cleanliness of all the French chateaus, even during work: really unthinkable for most Italian wineries!READ MORE  


Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Château Montrose

Château Montrose seems to belong to an enchanted little hamlet, with well-kept buildings in pastel shades and vineyards that are lost in the horizon. The château inside is very beautiful, and I liked one wine above all.

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite (except for the external photo of the chateau, which was taken from the official website).

Château Mouton Rothschild

  #nocoffee #nophoto #noshower... but we tasted some very interesting wines! In particular, I really loved Le Petit Mounton de Mounton Rothschild. The location of the tasting was really nice and it was fun to get there in those little electric cars you see mostly at golf courses! 


Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Restaurant Le Saint-Julien

Claude Broussard, the Chef of this Michelin-starred restaurant, is not only a good cook, but is the portrait of the innkeeper of yesteryear. A strong temperament, like a professional entertainer, that sweeps you away in this charming little country restaurant. We ate very well, two high points: the cooking of the meat and the dessert.

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Millesima Blog Awards - Day 4, Tuesday 4 April 2017:


Château Léoville

  The tasting was quick, but I found 2 wines that I count among the most interesting I drank during my stay in France.


For the group photo, special thanks to our Manuela Picot <3

Château Talbot

Château Talbot is really beautiful with its ivy-covered walls and those beautiful white windows so tall and regular. The Appellation Saint-Julien boasts wines of great depth, among which I found Chateau Beychevelle. We had lunch in a beautiful room, with a stunning fireplace, glass walls that break down the boundaries between inside and outside, and a grand piano so beautiful that I couldn't help opening it to take a photo. My passion for pianos is something absolute, and if there is one thing I have promised myself to do, sooner or later, it is to learn how to play it.

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Château Kirwan

  What beautiful barrels!!! I still laugh thinking about the photo Rob Frisch took with his head inside the barrel... and somewhere there's an even worse photo of me! Apart from the Appellation Margaux, which is the one I liked best (without, of course, bothering Sauternes), the thing that gave me pause for thought was the painting at the entrance to the cellar depicting a small group of Asians drinking wine. In the cellar stall, I found the sheet with tasting notes in French and (I think) Japanese. English language not available. Here. 


© FL/Millésima

Château Phélan Ségur

By far the cellar visit and tasting that I enjoyed the most and found the most interesting! Then I was delighted to be able to understand, just by smelling 4 different samples of the same wine from the same vintage, the % of new cask, the type of grain (fine or coarse) of the cask wood and the length of time it had been in the cask compared to the type of grain. A confirmation that my truffle nose, in spite of the 2 weeks with a fever of 40 that I had recently broken, still works! READ MORE

For the group photo where we throw the bottle © FL/Millésima, for all other photos © CB/PerlageSuite

Restaurant Le Lion d'Or

  Here, of all the delicious meals I have had in France thanks to Millésima, this is the only one that did not convince me. Apart from the questionable canapés, the eel was really good. It was followed by a typical local dish, Lamproie à la Bordelaise, a fish cooked with wine and a hint of chocolate that to call it strange is an understatement. I remember eating something similar in Portugal, but less 'extreme'. The dessert did not live up to the description on the menu: the ice cream was not creamy and the cream was whipped. On the other hand, at the suggestion of Manuela Picot of the Millésima staff, we drank really interesting wines!


Photos © CB/PerlageSuite... and thanks to our trusted photographer Rob Frisch for the photos of me, Daniel and Agnés!

Millesima Blog Awards - Day 5, Thursday 5 April 2017:.

Château La Pointe

Ah, Pomerol! How I talked about it, back in my Sommelier course days! The pleasure of being in this area and tasting all the wines of the 2016 vintage at Primeur was indescribable! I particularly liked two of them.... 

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Château Petit Village

  How nice to see horses working among the vines! I had never seen it... thank you! Delightful hospitality with a Franco-Spanish flavour from Diana Berrouet Garcia, who made us taste really good wines and dishes. At the first tasting at Chateau La Pointe, this was not one of the wineries that had impressed me the most, but I must say that I absolutely changed my mind! The 2001 vintage was exceptional, and the other vintages also full of satisfaction. As for 2016... not all the donuts come out with a hole in them, right? 😉 I will definitely be in touch with Diana to help her take care of her beautiful orchids!   


For the group photo © FL/Millésima, for all other photos © CB/PerlageSuite

Saint-Emilion: a Grand Cru between history and wine

Before I tell you about this 'legendary' Cru from one of the oldest villages in France, I also want to tell you about another local invention: #StEmilionStyle tea! Well, while we were telling each other about ourselves, Daniel and I came up with the brilliant idea of having a hot tea and a cappuccino. Daniel's cappuccino OK, but to me, after asking me twice how I preferred my tea, they brought me cup, teapot with hot water, spoon, sugar... but no tea. After all, I also always say that tea is just sugar water... 😀

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Château La Gaffeliére

  Interesting tasting experience, excellently conducted by Mr Stéphane Derenoncourt. The wines tasted turned out to be really interesting, however I found the format too fast. The wines were tasted in battery, you didn't get to finish the first one that you had to clear your glass for the next. Definitely useful to get a superficial overview of the Cru, but you need to take a bit more time to get a precise idea of the various labels.


Photo © FL/Millésima

Restaurant L'Auberge des Vignes

This was the restaurant I liked best, from the décor to the food. A simple, well-kept restaurant, homely but punctual service... and the extraordinary hospitality of Mr Pierre Montégut. That I adore this man I had already written to you HEREbut this evening was more than that. I ate very well and drank better. The air was full of positive energy, we were all well. And even though Pierre ate snails, I 'forgave' him after uncorking a 1975 Sauternes Suduiraut. And then the excitement of being in Sauternes, a real mecca for me. Simply wonderful. Thank you, thank you very much.

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Hotel Le 23

 Simple and nice hotel right next to the restaurant l'Auberge des Vignes, of which it is a part. I really appreciated that everything was 'in its place'. From the electrical socket to the desk, everything was really comfortable. And the shower was really super! I found the mattress and pillows comfortable, which is something that doesn't happen to me very often also because I am very delicate with my back. Not a hotel for long stays also because the wardrobe was practically non-existent, but it is perfect for a couple for 3/4 days... which is enough to explore Sauternes!   


Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Millesima Blog Awards - Day 6, Friday 6 April 2017:

Château Suduiraut

Beautiful vertical tasting of 10 vintages of Sauternes conducted by Mr Pierre Montégut. The tasting room then is absolutely delightful. Special mention to the 1997 vintage, Pierre really made my day!  READ MORE

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Tasting notes from Primeurs Week: all the 2016 Sauternes

  Greedy mare... as soon as I arrived at Primeurs at Hangar 14 in Bordeaux, I immediately spotted the Sauternes zone... and decided to beat it all. That is, I tasted all the Sauternes churned out in 2016 to get a complete picture of the Appellation's wineries. I knew that on this day I would meet the Sauternes cellars that were missing on Monday, and that there would probably not be enough time. I was prophetic! So I am happy to be able to write you a really comprehensive overview of this vintage of Sauternes which, in my opinion, was good given the wines produced. And I hope to help you choose what to buy and then forget in your cellar.... READ MORE  


Photo © CB/PerlageSuite

Château Margaux

What can I say? Château Margaux left me speechless! We also met Aurélien Valance, Managing Director of Château Margaux and part of the jury of the Millésima Blog Awards 2017. The château is beautiful, really well kept and full of history. I found the wine exceptional, with a spice capable of striking all wine lovers to the heart. We ate very well in a cosy room with a lit fireplace. Mrs Mentzelopoulos is also a great hostess!

Photo © CB/PerlageSuite.

Château La Lagune

Here I have just finished tasting the latest Sauternes cellars. What can I say? Tidying up my notes to create this report was really wonderful, especially because of my love for this type of wine. Do you know that at the oral exam to become a Sommelier, I was asked about Sauternes? I remember pairing it with a mildewed cheese... However, after testing them all, I must say that they are very different, and change both as families of aromas and in the mouth. Very interesting!  


For the group photo where we are all together © FL/Millésima, for all other photos © CB/PerlageSuite

Château Pichon Baron: tasting and gala dinner for the last night in Bordeaux

Château Pichon Baron: an extraordinary vertical thanks to Christian Seely, General Manager of Axa Millésime Group

Mr Christian Seely is really an out-of-the-ordinary guy, whom I would call a brilliant man from another era. He speaks Italian quite well, and waited to hear me trudge along for several minutes in English before telling me! (But I've already started studying...) 😀 Great wine culture, great personality, great presence. You could listen to him for hours. He conducted an extraordinary vertical with really, really good wines and with great difference from one year to the next! 

For my photo with Mr. C. Seely © FL/Millésima, for all other photos © CB/PerlageSuite Château Pichon Baron: Gala dinner for the last night in Bordeaux   Apart from the fact that, as always, I was late because I was the last one to leave the tasting (sometimes even I don't realise how much I write about the same wine... and if I had more time I would have gone on even more!), I managed to take a shower and change for the gala dinner. The staff of Millésima and Pichon Baron were present. We had a wonderful evening, as well as eating reasonably well and drinking very well. And when it was time for bed... Daniel, Agnés, Rob and I stayed in the lounge drinking port and laughing like crazy! I even cried at the moment of saying goodbye... perhaps for some people the time we spent together may not seem like much, but they were such intense and happy days that at least they were worth three times as much.  


Photo © CB/PerlageSuite. For the group photo, thanks to Rob Frisch's legendary self-timer <3

Millesima Blog Awards - Day 7, Saturday 7 April 2017:

After a last breakfast in the splendid Château Pichon Baron, we left to return to our respective countries. The only thing that made my return less sad was the knowledge that in a few hours I would finally stop saying #nocoffee! 😀

For the group photo © FL/Millésima, for all other photos © CB/PerlageSuite

And here is my report/index of the Millésima Blog Awards... which will be followed by many, many articles full of tastings and emotions. Many thanks to Millésima for the wonderful experience.



P.S. For the photos of the Millésima Blog Awards evening, Chateau La Gaffaliere and all the group photos where I am also present, I would like to thank the very talented Frederic Lot of Millésima (photos marked © FL/Millésima). For all the other photos taken by me I thank for the provision of the Sony RX100M4... it really is a gem (photos marked with © CB/PerlageSuite)!

franciacorta universe photos

P.P.S. You absolutely must also read THIS ARTICLE by dear Giulia Mengoni of Millésima, which sums up our whole week... you'll find some more pretty pictures there! 😀

error: This content is copyright ©Chiara Bassi