There are three classes of wine in the Saint Emilion region: 1st Grand Cru Classe (This is the highest quality wine in the region and of course the most expensive), Grand Cru Classe and Grand Cru. Our B&B is owned by one of the 13 1st Grand Cru Classe families, Chateau La Gaffeliere (www.chateau-la-gaffeliere.fr) and was nice enough to call the vineyard to request a wine tour in English for us.
We started our day walking through the vines of this prestigious vineyard, then the warehouse where they ferment their wines in huge tanks and of course the cellar holding all the barrels of wine. We asked many questions and learned their process before ending the tour with a taste of their 2010 1st Grand Cru Classe red wine. For those of you who know wine, yes-the 2010 wine was still aging in the barrels, it has about another year to mature, but we were lucky enough to have a taste! It was full-bodied with lots of structure but also had the fruit…this will be a an amazing wine when it is released. We however will most likely not taste it once it is bottled because it will probably cost between 75-100 Euros per bottle.
We left our personal tour and decided to take a long stroll through the gorgeous vineyards around the center of town before stopping for lunch. We grabbed a couple of salads and continued our stroll through the streets. We bumped into the wine shop owned by Chateau La Gaffeliere and Hugo (our tour guide) was there and showed us around the shop. He pointed out super old bottles (1899) of wine that were selling for 1000 euros and more per bottle. He had us taste some additional wines and then wrote down the name of a château to visit in the Medoc region next week. We really enjoyed the personal attention he gave us…
We were ready to wind down the day so we stopped into a small wine cafe which sold fresh cheeses, meats, wine, etc. We stocked up on our picnic foods and began the walk back to our place…only stopping one more time at one more wine shop to taste their wine. You really cannot walk very far in this town without tasting wine. It’s educational, tastes good, it’s fun and it’s free…who are we to turn it down?
Back at our place, we spread out our various foods at a table on the porch and ate a picnic dinner. We decided to stay in the rest of the night to catch up on blogging and emails.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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