"GASTRONOMY, VINEYARDS & GRAND CRUS"
Saturday April 13, 2019 - LISBON
Portugal's capital city rich in cultural diversity and home to UNESCO World Heritage monuments, Jeronimos monastery and Belem tower. Exploring Lisbon's Chiado square discover a mix of old and modern commercial establishments and cafes, and luxe shopping. Chiado is also home to several museums and theaters. The Alfama hillside is a popular destination to explore with narrow Moorish streets, historic buildings (Lisbon Castle; Roman Amphitheater; National Pantheon, Fado Museum and more), unique shops, cafes and terrific views. Try a ride on the No. 28 tram as it rattles and rolls through the narrow streets. Our cruise adventure begins at 7:00 PM when we all board Ponant's L' Austral.
This evening our host, Anne Cuvelier, invites her guests to a Welcome Champagne Reception with Champagne Drappier! A classic champagne, Carte d'or is highly praised, and a favorite at the Chateau when entertaining. Visit the link that follows and discover Champagne Drappier , www.champagne-drappier.com/en/champagne-drappier.com.
Sunday, April 14, 2019 - LEIXOES
Leixoes is the main port of entry for the famous city of Porto, Portugal. We will explore the wonderful wines of this region by visiting the famous Cockburn's port lodge to be briefed on what makes port wine different from all other wines in the world. We will get an in-depth explanation of the Douro Valley and why it has become the home of these glorious, fortified wines. Cockburns has offer Anne's group the opportunity to taste some of the finest wines of Portugal. First, they will present five (5) still wines, white and red; some of which were awarded with very high scores by the Wine Spectator. This tasting will include the famous Chryseia! Following that experience, five (5) port wines, fortified wines, will be poured starting with a twenty year old Tawny Port to the famous 2015 Bicentenary Vintage Port. We will be tasting three (3) vintage ports, offing the opportunity to discern the differences among each. The historic center of Porto is a World Heritage Site. Look carefully at the fine old architecture and beautiful buildings.
A word about Cockburn's port lodge. Founded in 1815 by two brothers, this famous port winery produces some of the finest examples of Portuguese ports. . . all kinds . . . in the Porto region. The Symington Family purchased the property in 2006, updating many of the wine making methods to bring this treasured lodge into the 21st Century. In addition, the Symington Family produces some of the finest non-fortified wines produced in Portugal. Be prepared for a World Heritage experience in our own private tasting room within the lodge itself. Some local cheese and Portuguese chocolates will be served to enhance your tasting experience.
Monday. April 15, 2019 - AT SEA
EXCLUSIVE WINE & CHOCOLATE TASTING WITH ANNE CUVELIER
Anne Cuvelier invites her guests to a one of a kind vertical tasting of three fabulous vintages of Chateau Leoville Poyferre, 2nd Grand Cru Classe, Saint Julien. Wines of great complexity, finesse and elegance, an exceptional bouquet, silky tannins, and a lingering finish. The geological lacework of the Saint Julien terroir is expressed to perfection! With its rich color and full body, Leoville Poyferre is a divine elixir offering gourmet connoisseurs a heady whirl of delicious aromas and extraordinary flavors.
Just in the same way that wine delights the senses and piques our curiosity, Anne has paired up with up and coming chocolatiere, Hasnaa. Crowned Chocolatiere of the Year 2017 as well as being awarded the "Tablette d'Or" (equivalent to 3 Michelin stars) and "Coup de Coeur du Jury". Based in the center of Bordeaux, Hasnaa has truly captured the hearts and taste buds of many a chocolate lover! All handmade, Hasnaa's chocolates are 100% pure cocoa and cocoa butter, with no preservatives, no additives or artificial aromas. Using only the finest Grand Cru plantations, carefully selected for their unique aromatic profiles. These delicious chocolates are a perfect match to our carefully selected vintages of Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Grand Cru Classe 1855. We pair 3 vintages of Chateau Leoville Poyferre (2012, 2008, 2005) with 3 Grand Cru chocolates from Sao Tome, Costa Rica and Ecuador. Follow the link to discover more about Hasnaa Chocolats Grands Cru, www.hasnaa-chocolats.fr
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - SAINT- JEAN DE LUZ
Saint-Jean de Luz is a historical city situated at the east end of the Bay of Biscay. The town has a large number of residences build in the 17th and 18th Century's along the waterfront and adjacent streets. This city is only minutes from the Spanish border; and, as such, much of the architecture and culture are a combination of French, Spanish and Basque. This will offer the opportunity for an in-depth experience into Basque culture and if you choose to have lunch ashore, Basque cuisine.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 - BORDEAUX
BE ANNE CUVELIER'S GUESTS - PRIVATE TOUR & TASTING AT
CHATEAU LEOVILLE POYFERRE
It will be a pleasure to welcome our group to Chateau Leoville Poyferre! We will start with a brief presentation of the estate, followed by an insider's tour of the vat house and barrel cellars. Weather permitting, a quick stop in the vineyards. There, you will see how we have combined modern innovations with respect for traditions. The tour of our winemaking facilities will delight and enlighten guests with lively commentary and anecdotes. After that, we will explain the art of tasting a great wine, illustrated by a comparative barrel tasting of two of our estate wines, Chateau Moulin Riche and Chateau Leoville Poyferre. Before we start sipping, we'll begin with an "Aroma Awakening". As we sniff pure aromas they will come to life in your scent memory for you to recognize in our wines.
Now for your evening with Anne Cuvelier at Chateau Leoville Poyferre
Dinner cocktail finger food paired with two (2) Clos des Lunes, Lune Blanche (a top Bordeaux dry white, perfect with oysters) and Chateau Leoville Poyferre Estate Wine (two (2) Chef surprise vintages will poured). We can trust Anne to come up with some spectacular wines for your approval.
In this part of France, the beginning of a meal can only mean one thing, oysters from the bay of Arcachon. To further whet your appetite, we might serve a selection of freshly baked individual quiche with seasonal vegetables, a refreshing gazpacho and of course the traditional foie gras, perfect atop some crisp toasts.
One of our most popular items that will be offered is our parmentier de carnard, Bordeaux's answer to a sheperd's pie, prepared with the finest duck from the south west of France.
Next, we source some aged artisan cheeses that perfectly complement our wines; mimolette, gouda and comte.
Now for dessert, as the Chateau has a real sweet tooth, try the perfect fruit tart, prepared with local red fruits, or succumb to a sumptuously light sabayon, an indulgent chocolate mousse, or a mini mocha.
We take great pride in using the bounty from our region for a truly memorable meal, and wine casino that will undoubtedly delight you.
Thursday, April 18, 2019 - BORDEAUX
A PRIVATE WALKING TOUR THROUGH BORDEAUX CITY CENTER WITH A MEDIEVAL TOUCH
Step off the ship and become Bordelais for the morning! You will be guided by Anne Cuvelier and Lori Westmoreland, the Chateau's very own adopted Californian, a true local guide and Leoville Poyferre expert!
Splitting up into two groups, you will be able to make the most of the city and its myriad of streets, iconic landmarks, and simply breathtaking architecture. Without bypassing the must-sees, our tour guides will tailor the walking tour to suit your varying interests. The three (3) hours tour where one can experience the "once upon a time" medieval life of Bordeaux by walking down cobbled streets, through impressive gateways and hearing old medieval poems from Troubadours. Kings of England and a queen crowned twice that introduced courtly love . . . We'll take you off the beaten path with a historical perspective; not your "typical" city tour. Your tour will end about lunch time dockside, where you may decide to lunch aboard or backtrack to one of Bordeaux's quaint cafes or bistros in the city center.
Friday, April 19, 2019 - PAUILLAC - Morning
Stretching along the left bank of the Gironde River, Pauillac is one of the most important villages in the entire region. Rich in historic wine chateau, be sure to explore this fascinating culture. The famous vineyards almost extend into town and can be explored easily by taxi. The waterfront has many shops and wine centered cafes that can offer a taste of the region.
Friday, April 19, 2019 - CHATEAU LATOUR - PAUILLAC - Afternoon
This afternoon we join the ship's company to visit Chateau Latour in the heart of Pauillac portion of the Medoc. Latour is rated as a 1st Growth under the 1855 Bordeaux Classification. Along with Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Chateau Latour is recognized as producing superb world-renowned fine wines. How lucky are we to have such travel companions! The photo right shows the Saint-Lambert tower situated within the vineyards of Chateau Latour (the original tower was named Saint-Maubert). It is said that the harvest was supervised from atop the tower. This evening, Ponant invites everyone to an exceptional Gala Dinner where each course will be accompanied by a selection of some of the best wines of the region.
Saturday, April 20, 2019 - BELLE ILE EN MER
WINEMAKERS DINNER THIS EVENING
This small French island is located off the coast of Brittany, and has inspired some of Monet's famous coastal landscapes. The island has always been a popular location for artists. In fact, the famous artist Rodin saw the island and exclaimed, "it's a Monet". Visit some of the wonderful natural sights around this island and be dazzled in the same way as some of the world's greatest artists were.
Anne Cuvelier requests your company this evening for a special dinner paired with some of her best wines. A chance to sample more of Anne's wines in the most perfect setting, around the dinner table. We will introduce all of the wines and the vintages so that you can truly understand the innovations in recent years as well as the "vintage effect". We plan on serving 4 wines: Chateau Moulin Riche 2015, Chateau Leoville Poyferre 2006 and 2010, and Chateau Le Crock 2011. These wines have been carefully selected for your tasting pleasure.
A few words about the estates:
Chateau Moulin Riche, Saint Julien: Purchased by the Cuvelier family in 1920 at the same time as Chateau Leoville Poyferre. The vines of Chateau Moulin Riche grow in a specific area of the estate with its own particular terroir and character. It matures earlier making this wine already enjoyable when young.
Chateau Leoville Poyferre, 2nd Grand Cru Classe, Saint Julien: is the highlight of the tasting! A wine with great complexity, finesse and elegance, an exceptional bouquet, silky tannins, and a lingering finish. The geological lacework of the Saint Julien terroir is expressed to perfection! With its rich color and full body, Leoville Poyferre is a divine elixir offering gourmet connoisseurs a heady whirl of delicious aromas and extraordinary flavors. www.leoville-poyferre.fr.
Chateau Le Crock, Cru Bourgeois, Saint Estephe: The vineyard is located between those of the prestigious Chateau Cos d'Estournel and Montrose. The feminine touch of Isabelle, our in-house winemaker, has rounded out the tannins of our Saint-Estephe, an appellation traditionally known for its intense, virile style. www.chateaulecrock.fr.
A few words about the vintages:
The 2015 vintage, the magic of the number 5.
Everything in 2015 contributed to the making of a remarkable vintage. Weather conditions allowed for the perfect alcoholic richness with the ideal balance between the tannins and acidity.
Together with 2008 and 2009, 2010 first fabulous trilogy of XXIst Century.
2010, together with 2008 and 2009, has provided the first fabulous trilogy of the 21st century - 2010 is a sunny vintage reminiscent of 2009, although with lower temperatures. The wine shows the classicism of the 2008 vintage and the style of the 2005 with additional power.
The new double-walled truncated conical vats allow a real plot-by-plot vinification of the Chateau Leoville Poyferre Grand Vin for the first time, enabling a pre-fermentation cold maceration to be carried out in optimum conditions. The results are immediately visible both in the aromatic intensity of the fruit and in the quality of tannin's extracted. The Cabernet Sauvignon reveals the purity of its fruit with this vintage. In conclusion, 2010 promises an exceptional potential that should delight your palate for many decades to come.
A great 2006. Comparable to 1996?
The vines benefited from very similar weather conditions to 2005 until September. The careful mastery of vine-care techniques followed by well-adapted vinification methods have brought out the full quality potential of this vintage, revealing a remarkable wine, more marked by the Cabernet Sauvignon than usual.
2011, the year of precision
After two great vintages, 2011 is a delicate one: a year when the vine grower's work and the selection processes make all the difference and will result in a quality harvest. A concentrated, low-yielding vintage, 2011 present a remarkable tannic structure, yet already enjoyable in its youth.
Sunday, April 21, 2019 - GUERNSEY
Near the French coast, Guernsey is a Channel Island in the English Channel; and, is a self-governing British Crown dependency. It's known for beach resorts like Cobo Bay and the idyllic scenery of its coastal cliffs. Castle Cornet, a 13th century harbor fortification in the capital of St. Peter Port, now contains history and military museums. Hauterville House is the sumptuous former home of French writer, Victor Hugo.
Monday, April 22, 2019 - HONFLEUR
Honfleur is situated on the estuary where the Seine river meets the English Chanel; and, is a city within the Calvados producing area in northern France's Normandy region. The old harbor is lined with colorful 16th to 18th century townhouses built by wealthy families, a distinct location, and a favored subject for artists then and now. Be sure to check out the famed St. Catherine's Church, erected by shipbuilders and built of timber. There are numerous shops and restaurants dotted along the cobbled streets in this extraordinarily picturesque setting. The stop is short, so, plan accordingly. However, if you choose to make this stop more meaningful; we offer the following option at a very modest cost.
MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2019, CRUISE TERMINATION OPTION - HONFLEUR TO PARIS
If you choose this option, at 8:30 am you must depart the L' Austrel with all of your belongings. We say farewell to this beautiful ship and we begin a day of French adventure that you might want to extend for several days to come. Having dropped our luggage at our private coach, to be safely stored, you have the entire morning to explore this beautiful and historic port city. Don't forget to stop at one of the great seafood restaurants, or sidewalk cafes, that surround the harbor for a true Normandy lunch that will include oysters, mussels, pomme frites, fruits de'mer, or whatever your heart desires. Remember, anything with apples is truly Norman. At 1:00 pm SHARP, our coach will depart for a Norman experience with a visit to Domaine Drouin Cavados distillery. Cavados is as French as the Eiffel Tower. It is a brandy (cognac style) that is made from apples, not grapes. We will have the opportunity to see how it is made and then taste different versions of this elixir, and for sure, some different vintages as well. You'll definitely want to bring a bottle home of this magical delight. At 4:00 pm, your coach departs for the Gare du Nord in Paris. At this location, your adventure with Chateau Leoville Poyferre & Crystal comes to an end. Now comes a huge decision. After collecting your baggage from the coach, you will have to decide! Do you spend a few days in Paris, and enjoy the crown jewel of French culture? Hills Travel and Virtuoso can help you find a great hotel where you may enjoy this wonderful city.
When you return to the home is up to you. Paris offers many flights and may airlines to choose from. Now, for your other option. You may want to gather your belongings from the coach and check in with Eurostar for the high speed train to central London. Again, Hills and Virtuoso can provide many options for London Hotels, and tickets for the Eurostar. You may decide to spend a few days in London or catch an early morning flight home the next day.
So, this gives you two fantastic options for a way to close your trip, in what we feel is a much smarter way than staying aboard L' Austrel for only a channel crossing. However, should you decide to stay on board and journey onto Portsmouth, the choice is entirely yours. Should you decide to take the Paris option, and depart the ship in Honfleur, you must choose this option at booking.
Monday, April 22, 2019 - PORTSMOUTH
We arrive in Portsmouth England at 7:00 pm. This concludes our last day of a Grand Cru wine, Portuguese Port, fabulous food adventure. Along the way we saw some of the great historical sights of Portugal, France, The Channel Islands, and now England. We bid L' Austral farewell and bon voyage as we journey home. We will be sure to carry with us wonderful experiences, memories and a few pounds/kilos gained on this Gastronomy, Vineyards and Grand Cru Cruise! Hills Travel and Virtuso can provide you with options for hotels in the Portsmouth area, and transfers the next day, or whenever you choose to London or London airports.