At one point he said, “Come on, let’s go! I have something to show you – we will come right back.” I jumped into Julien’s car, Claire gave me a smirk, and we were off to who knows where or what he had to show me. Low and behold we ended up in the barrel cellar of his winery in Pomerol. He went through some wine boxes, and tested the alcohol levels on some of the wine in the tanks. The smell of rich red wine permeated the whole cellar… the smell of cherry and vanilla from the wine soaking in the oak was intoxicating. He was opening cases of wine as if looking for something, then all of the sudden he shouted “Ici!” Which meant here, here it is. I turned to look at him and as he smiled he said “here this is for you.” I looked at the bottle and it was the vintage 1985 – which just happened to be my birth year. I blushed and a grin lined my face. I was taken off guard and felt so appreciative in that moment, and that he had remembered that or the thought I guess. We drove back to the dinner party, not saying much, but I was in awe of this sweet gesture. Once back at Thomas and Emile’s house, dinner was being presented and all of them signed my bottle – wrote me little “going away” messages like you do in school in yearbooks at the end of senior year.
“D’accord À Tous, On y Va.” Professor Ramage stated. I pulled myself out of my daydream as we were pulling up to Chateau Theyssier (our first Chateau visit in Saint Emilion.) It was a castle and stunning. Absolutely grand and stunning. It looked like something out of a storybook, perfectly manicured flowers and landscapes went on for miles outside of the castle with the backdrop of vines everywhere.
Next thing I witnessed was our professor Mr. Porter taking off his wide rimmed glasses and wiping his eyes with a handkerchief. He was even brought to tears by the beauty here once we walked into the castle. This was something I was experiencing everywhere. It was so moving being in these places and I felt emotions come over me that made my whole body flutter. Just the sheer history and beauty were able to make you sink into yourself and be so immensely present it was an incredible feeling. I had felt this experience in Champagne also. Sometimes it was overwhelming, the connection, the looking back in time, to think about the work and artistry, rounded out with the pleasure and care of the wines. This experience was so beautiful. Throughout the day we also visited the village of Saint Emilion, and one more Chateau – Beau-Sjour Becot. I fondly remembered when I had purchased a bottle from this winery and had enjoyed it on my terrace in LA back when I made the decision to come to Paris. How foretelling that moment was to where I was now, even though I didn’t realize it at the time. What I was undergoing in these moments made me look back on that girl on her terrace and smile. She had no clue the dream she was about to enter. I felt my eyes start to water. We would be going back to Paris after one more special night in Saint Emilion. It was bittersweet.