Dewey Markham Jr. is Bordeaux wine personified.
My wife and I, joined by another couple, just completed a three day, eight chateau tour under Dewey’s wing. My fear was that a program like that might prove to be too intensive or too monotonous, especially for wine “amateurs” such as ourselves – but Dewey made sure to select chateaux which presented us with a wide variety of experiences and a minimum of repetition. We saw all sorts of wine making techniques and equipment (vats of rectangular concrete to cylindrical wood to funnel shaped stainless steel), viticulture philosophy (off to the future with laser-driven grape sorters, or back to the past, with tasks accomplished via hand, horses, and gravity), architecture (centuries old castles, underground catacombs, to modern processing plants), geologies/terroirs (from gravel to clay to limestone), and finally the wines themselves – ranging from the mature 2000 “vintage of the century” to still gestating 2012s pulled directly from the barrel.
Through it all, Dewey exhaustively (and sometimes exhaustingly!) filled in all background and answered all questions. It is clear that he is THE reigning Bordeaux wine expert, a credential which gets him a lot of respect from those involved in the industry. This respect translated to a personalized access that he – and by extension, we – got at the chateaux that we visited, something I think not normally available to the typical wine tourist. During our tour many of the chateau owners made it a point to make themselves available to us, and in one case we even got the tour directly from the winemaker herself, a real treat!
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