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Baron Eric de ROTHSCHILD and Jean-Bernard DELMAS.

From left, Jean-Pierre FOUBET and Neil BECKETT.

Christian & Corinne SEELY.

CH'NG Poh Tiong, Paul PONTALLIER and a partially hidden Adam LECHMERE.

Story By Ch'ng Poh Tiong
Photo By Courtesy Of The Grands Crus Classes En 1855

For more than 25 years, the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855, the organization that comprises all the properties listed under the 1855 Classification of the Médoc and Sauternes has hosted a dinner for the international press on the first evening of Vinexpo Bordeaux, held once every two years.

The honour of hosting the dinner has always been given to a First Growth.

The 21 June 2009 dinner was originally supposed to have taken place at Chateau Latour. However, the Pauillac property felt that in view of the then world economic crisis, spending huge amounts on a lavish celebration would have been ‘indecent’.

Chateau Latour offered a more modest affair but the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés did not think that was appropriate. Chateau Lafite-Rothschild then picked up the mantle and the dinner was held instead at this other Pauillac First Growth.

(Chateau Latour, owned by French businessman Francois PINAULT, may have had a point but, one doubts it was really so concerned with being ‘indecent’ because otherwise it would had also asked consumers around the world not to buy any of their expensive branded goods such as Gucci, YSL, even Chateau Latour, during the financial crisis).

More than 300 people – including some 170 journalists from 25 countries – came together at Chateau Lafite-Rothschild on Sunday 21 June 2009. They were welcomed by the proprietor Baron Eric DE ROTHSCHILD and Philippe CASTEJA, President of the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés.

Following a tasting of the 2006 vintage of the sweet wines of the Grands Crus Classés of Sauternes and Barsac, dinner was served in Lafite’s celebrated barrel cellar designed by Ricardo BOFILL.

The meal by candlelight was accompanied by the wines of the Grands Crus Classés (what wines you drank depended on which chateau was hosting the table you were on).

The last red for every table was Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1978 served from 3-litre jeroboams. Dessert was paired with the sweet wines of the Grands Crus Classés from Sauternes and Barsac in the 1996 and 1986 vintages.

Everyone felt indecently spoilt.

All Rights Reserved · The Wine Review · 2013