Happy New Year!
Looking back over last year makes us terribly excited for the year to come. Last year we saw two of the amazing wine estates nearby open up opportunities for visitors to tour the gussied-up châteaux and vineyards. It's really thrilling to be able to get a better insight into what makes this region so special to the world of wine.
Phélan-Ségur has a wonderful program of tastings, vineyard walks with their chef, and luncheons. At the Phélan-Ségur harvest last year, we were lucky to be able to see the harvest operation, hear about the new investments and ideas they are bringing to their winemaking, do a vertical tasting of their wines, and join a sumptuous lunch for wine négotiants from Bordeaux.
The other estate to make big changes is Cos d'Estournel, which opened a beautiful boutique inn and restaurant called Maison d'Estournel in the Château Pomys in St-Estèphe. Worthy of the write-ups it's getting, Maison d'Estournel is a gem of flawless hospitality. We love dropping in for a cocktail and a snack either in the library or on the lawn patio overlooking the famous vineyards and plan to go back lots this year.
Here's hoping in this new year you will be able to join us on some of our adventures.
Originally—and we mean way back to at least the early 17th century—people in the French countryside didn't eat much meat. When they did, it was the affordable odds and ends and perhaps not the freshest. So, they often cooked it for long periods of time in a single pot with vegetables while they did their farm work. It was called Pot Pourri, which morphed into Pot au Feu as time marched on and versions of it became a traditional favorite all throughout France, even as finer ingredients became more generally available to many more people.
Making a Pot au Feu is a very grounding experience, and can be a social one, too. We have loved getting together to go to the local Médoc farmers market in Saint-Vivien and buying all the wonderful vegetables—leeks, carrots, celery, onions, potatoes and other root vegetables, herbs—for the dish, as well as the butcher's for the marrow bones and beef cuts. Once home, we prep everything and get the "stew" going. By dinnertime, the house smells amazing, and we are all ready to dig into a marvelous and beloved feast.
Want to try it yourself? Bravo! Here's a great recipe to use, but don't be afraid to make it your own based on what you already have to throw in or your own ideas.
PS: For reference...
Pot au Feu #1
Pot au Feu #2