Bordeaux, June 18, 2017
by Paige Donner (photos copyright 2017)
On a hot summer evening in the Médoc's Pauillac, Bordeaux guests arriving for the 1855 Grands Crus Classés dinner held this year at Château Latour were greeted with a marching Scottish-sounding band and flutes of Roederer champagne (who happens to own the closest neighboring château, Pichon Comtesse).
The Belle of the Ball, namely Madame Salma Hayak Pinault kept herself demurely sheltered inside the reception hall from the intense heat of the evening that persisted until after the sun went down. Thankfully, her and her Kering husband, François-Henri Pinault, offered the option of mingling in the cellar's anteroom (as opposed to outdoors on the inner patio lawn) which was cleared out, save for an elegant display of the Grands Crus Classés en 1855 wines that were to be served at dinner. As a response to the sweltering heat of those few days in June, this ideally accommodated the several hundred privileged guests.
These dinners, the official opening of Vinexpo Bordeaux held every two years, are always lavish events. It's where international and French journalists/ wine writers meet and mingle with these prestige wine estate owners and venerable Bordelais families, many of whose roots in the soil of the region run deeper even than U.S. modern history.
The choice of the chef is always a pivotal statement, too, of how the year's chosen chateau will express their taste and style during the event. This year it was Chef Michel Guérard who ranks among the living legends of French chefs. .. .
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