Once they were one: Graves, a sub-region within the large Bordeaux region of France. It wasn’t until 1987 that the northern part, beginning just south of the city of Bordeaux, gained its own legal appellation, Pessac-Léognan. Separate or together, they both carry the distinction of their soil. Graves means “gravel,” and true to its name, these two sub-regions have deep levels of gravel and stone, excellent for producing particularly fine grapes and, thus, fine wines. Graves and Pessac-Léognan boast another distinction: They are the only sub-regions in Bordeaux that make both top-class red and top-class white wines. Graves produces 20 million bottles a year, of which two-thirds are red; Pessac-Léognan produces half that many bottles, of which 80 percent are red.
Here, as in many Bordeaux districts, Cabernet Sauvignon features as a major grape. But Merlot, which gives a wine gentle tannin and forward fruit flavors, plays a starring role as well, followed by Cabernet Franc. The sub-regions’ ruling white grapes are Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
Following the fine 2009 vintage, Bordeaux was blessed by the 2010 vintage, considered even better, a prediction borne out by the Graves and Pessac-Léognan 2010 reds I recently tasted.
In Graves, Merlot-dominant Château Villa Bel-Air 2010 emits a rich berry aroma followed by a generous taste: a delicious, silky wine. Château Magneau 2010 offers red fruit aromas; a well-balanced, robust taste; and medium-long aftertaste. Château Roquetaillade La Grange 2010, 60 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, presents an inviting nose of cassis and cherry and a full, rounded, satin-like body.
I found a particularly attractive 2010 Pessac-Léognan red in Château La Garde 2010. The nose of this Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant wine brims with deep, dark fruit. Offering a smooth and well-structured body, the taste is spicy and juicy yet firm.
Pessac-Léognan’s Château Haut-Lagrange 2010 reigns supreme. With its aromatic nose of plummy dark fruits, this Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend shows a bit more tannin than other 2010s I tasted, which may indicate a longer life ahead. This full-bodied, almost dense red exhibits forward flavors of dark fruits, especially plums, and a rich and striking spiciness.
Not only are these wines delicious to taste, they are deliciously priced for outstanding Bordeaux; prices range from about $20 to $50.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Experience a big-city hotel stay that doesn’t feel like your typical urban visit at Chicago’s Claridge House, nestled in the sought-after Gold Coast neighborhood. The hotel’s sophisticated décor and serene residential ambience foster the atmosphere of an oasis amid the hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.