The monkey’s ship moored in dense fog at Port Modoc, a small, gateway village to Bordeaux country in Southwestern France. The traveling simians were coming ashore for a day trip through the wine country and a visit to the city of Bordeaux.
The grape harvests this year had come early after a hotter than normal and very dry summer. (It seems it was like that everywhere this year) So missing the grapes due to climate change, Kongo also missed the grapes because of the fog. Busing through the countryside was like traveling through a misty gray tunnel. Our helpful (not) guide cheerfully pointed out all the famous vineyards we were passing that we couldn’t see. Yeah, it was one of those kind of tours. There were also majestic, famous, and beautiful châteaus along the highway. We didn’t see those either, except for one that happened to be perched right next to the highway.
Eventually we stopped at a vineyard, Château Siran, one of the few “classified” wineries from 1855 when strict quality rules were initiated about how the wine could be made and bottled. We tasted some of the offerings, and to Kongo’s palate they were okay. Just. The monkey is besotted by California’s wine offerings and the Bordeaux grapes (mostly cabernet) wouldn’t do that well in Paso Robles, at least in Kongo’s opinion. Some of the classic vintages were also a bit pricey for the monkey who really can’t tell the difference between a $50 bottle of wine and a $500 bottle. Not that he’s actually had a $500 bottle of wine.
Of course, every winery should boast a statue of Bacchus.
Leaving the vineyards in the rear-view mirror, Kongo pressed on to Bordeaux and learned that this city was where the first embassy of the United States to France was located. Thomas Jefferson, the first ambassador, evidently preferred the wine in Bordeaux to the diplomatic advantages of being closer to the King of France and his government in Paris.
Bordeaux reminds you of Paris. Beautiful architecture, wide boulevards, and shady parks filled with massive plane trees. In fact, Bordeaux was rebuilt 100 years before Paris got its makeover and much of the concepts in the City of Light are Bordeaux copies. Even the famous Paris Opera House (be still my Phantom of the Opera) is an exact copy of the Opera House in Bordeaux, even down to the grand staircase. One thing though, I don’t think anyone will ever say, “We’ll always have Bordeaux …”
Kongo bids adieu (his Wordle starter word) to France and sails further south to the Basque Country of Northern Spain to arrive at the resort town of San Sebastian tomorrow morning. Stay tuned.
Travel safe. Have fun.