The New Book

"It was the beginning of May and I had a one-way ticket to the beating heart of the world of wine - Bordeaux. A region renowned for its vineyards, chateaux and fine wine. The Médoc lay to the north-west of the city where the great appellations of Margaux, Saint-Julien, Saint Estéphe and Paulliac were found. Pomerol and Saint-Émilion lay to the east and Sauternes was situated to the south. And then there was Bordeaux City itself with its lively restaurant scene and Wine Bars. All this I was heading off to discover. It was a land where I didn't know the language and didn’t know a soul. ..."

"The drive to work took me through the archaic wine appellations of Moulis-en-Médoc, Listrac-Médoc, Haut-Médoc and Saint-Julien. The church spire of Saint-Julien rose above the town in the early morning light like a phoenix as I passed Château Leoville Poyferré and Château Leoville Las Cases. A large water tower rose up amongst old gnarly looking vineyards, just out of town, running south on the D2. Château Langoa & Leoville Barton unveiled itself nestled amongst mature trees shortly after. 


I had arrived for work at one of the best châteaux in Bordeaux, in France, in the whole world. The château was situated in the very heart of the most famous regions of Bordeaux. With Paulliac a few kilometres north, and Saint-Julien a stone’s throw away, I couldn’t think of a more significant region in the world where premium, top-end red wines were forged. ...."


"Coffee break was fifteen minutes that often stretched longer. The lads would talk about what food they wolfed down over the weekend, the bottles of wine they drunk, which football players needed their ears boxed, who was going to win Rolland Garros and detailed arguments on how President Macron was robbing them blind. It was a great time to listen in and hone my French....."

"The word Medocain referred to someone born and raised in the Médoc. They were wild, unpredictable and all-round dangerous. They weren’t French, they weren’t Spanish, they weren’t even Bordelais - they were Medocain...."

"I let in the balmy night breeze through the open windows. I could see lights on in the nearby château Talbot and Chateau La Tour Carnet. A rabbit ran across in front of my car lights as I drove through the vineyards of Saint-Julien and Haut-Médoc. It was a night to remember. I was a bumpkin from Kumeu who grew up eating apples off the tree with dirty hands and here I was drinking fine wine with fine people at one of the finest châteaux in the world. I would’ve loved telling the story to my late Poppa..."

"...the final touches to the crushing area in the Rose Courtyard were handled. Hose lines to the cuves and pumps were washed and sanitised in the Cuvier bois. Pumps and valves were checked, the sulphur drip put in place and the optic sorting machine re-calibrated. The last of the new barrels were stained and the BBQ area was prepared at the back of Chai Thomas. It would be here where the traditional barbecuing would be done...."