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Important administrative note:
On the Road in France
My travels in Europe continue this week, reporting in tonight - a bit ahead of our usual Monday publication - from the city of Tours in the Loire, not far from Paris, where we plan to arrive tomorrow to spend the last few days of our trip to Europe.

We are sending all subscribers another short, plain-text edition of The 30 Second Wine Advisor; regular weekly editions will resume May 15. (Please note that I am unable to respond to administrative requests such as address changes, unsubscribe or re-subscribe requests until we return home. Please pardon me if you have such a request pending, and be assured that I will respond to it promptly next week.)

30 Second Wine Tasting Tip:
A Hint on Wine Touring in Bordeaux

No matter where in the world you live and buy your wine, the chances are that you think of Bordeaux in France as something of a wine-touring mecca. Not only the great "first growths" but even the less-renowned names of this region have earned a worldwide reputation for being among the finest expression of some of the greatest wine grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

Should you have occasion to visit Bordeaux, as we did this past week, just about any wine lover is going to want to drop in on at least one or two of the region's many noteworthy chateaus.

Be aware, though, that wine touring in Bordeaux is substantially different than in Napa, Sonoma, or most other wine regions outside France. Because many of the wineries are old, they typically don't have open public tasting rooms as New World wineries usually do; and even some of the larger properties don't maintain public-relations or tasting-room staffs. So, frankly, although it is possible to drop in on a big-name Bordeaux winery without advance notice (and it's certainly not improper to ask), the chances are that if you try this approach you will be politely turned away far more often than welcomed in.

But the good news is that it is not only possible but usually easy to visit your favorites, and you don't need a connection in the wine business to do it. All you have to do is request an appointment in advance. It pays to do this from home, before you leave on your trip; a simple, polite request by mail or fax, expressing your interest in the winery and asking if it's possible to visit at a specific time and date, is all it takes. If you can speak a little French, it's best, but a request in English is usually acceptable, and may ensure that you have a tour guide who speaks at least a little English.

Finishing up with the obvious follow-up question: How do you locate contact information, addresses and fax numbers for your favorite Bordeaux chateaus? For the Medoc, generally regarded as the epicenter of Bordeaux wine, try the search engine at Happy trails!

Have you had good luck getting appointments at top wineries around the world? If you have suggestions or good ideas about effective approaches, please pass them along by E-mail to, and I'll discuss them in a future column. Because of my travel, I probably won't be able to respond until later in the month, but I appreciate your input, and it helps me do a better job of writing about wine.

We hope you'll invite your wine-loving friends to register for their own free weekly copy at

30 Second Tasting Notes:
Europe Tasting Reports Coming Soon
The demands of travel (and very spotty Internet connectivity from hotels in France) has me falling briefly behind on publishing notes on the places we've been visiting and the wines tasted during this Europe trip, but I hope to catch up soon. Keep an eye on our Tasting Reports Index,, and you'll find new reports listed at the top of the page as soon as they are online.

The week's 30 Second Advertising Partner
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30 Second Administrivia
This free weekly E-mail publication is distributed to subscribers every Monday. Previous editions are archived on The Wine Lovers' Page. See

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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.

More time for wine?
You don't need to wait for Mondays to read about wine! Drop in any time on Robin Garr's Wine Lovers' Page, where we add new tasting notes several times each week and frequently expand our selection of wine-appreciation articles, tips and tutorials.

If you'd like to talk about wine online with fellow wine enthusiasts around the world, we'd be delighted to have you visit the interactive forums in our Wine Lovers' Discussion Group. If you're from another part of the world and don't feel entirely comfortable chatting in English, visit our International Forum and introduce yourself in the language of your choice.

Vol. 2, No. 16, May 8, 2000

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