The next morning I met the group- there were just five of us in total- and we headed to our hotel half-way between Bordeaux and Cognac. Our hotel, Chateau de Rimbaud, was more of a castle (which is always nice) that was filled with antiques and wallpaper that matched the curtains, bedspreads, and everything else in the room. Busy, but beautiful.
That afternoon we had a short mixology session with G'vine. Because the gin is so floral, I find it overwhelming served in a martini and don't think it mixes as well as other gins with tonic water. I learned on this trip that champagne works better than tonic with this product (grape with grape, after all), and that the Spanish make their tonic water go flat before drinking it- we didn't try that but I could see it working.
After a lazy afternoon we had a lazy dinner at the castle, and a good night's sleep. Then we were off to Cognac. We visited the distillery where G'Vine is made, which is a cognac distillery that produces one percent of all Cognac in France, in addition to several other products. It was the first time I've seen Cognac stills, so I was a bit overexcited, but soon we were off to the traditional pot and column stills actually used for G'Vine.
We drove out to a vineyard and fondled a vine, as the founder of EuroWineGate showed us where the blossoms would be if only they were blossoming. We all offered to stay two more weeks in the castle waiting for this to happen, but apparently G'vine's generosity doesn't extend quite that far.
We had lunch at the funky and delicious La Ribaudiere restaurant near Cognac (you can pull up to it by boat if that's how you roll), where they made gelato in different flavors that are found in the gin. (gin-lato?) Then we spent about an hour wandering through the city of Cognac. I found it nice and full of very old buildings, but smaller than I had imagined.
The same is not true of Bordeaux, where we stayed the night. Bordeaux is huge and cosmopolitan and appears magnificent in the evening we spent there. We went out for dinner on one of the many pedestrian streets, had a beer later, and called it a trip.
In the meantime, feel free to look at all my trip photos here.