The chef/proprietors of Trout Point Lodge in remote Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia, attended the Acabailles V.I.P. Weekend November 15-16, 2014, as guests of the winery association of one of Bordeaux’s most prestigious regions. The annual event marks the end of harvesting and vinifying each year’s wines. Invitees routinely include chefs & restaurateurs with two or three Michelin stars, as well as a select number of others in the top echelon of the culinary world. Charles Leary and Vaughan Perret stayed as a select few among guests of Chateau Haut-Brion, an acclaimed wine estate whose illustrious history goes back many centuries. This is the fourth year Leary & Perret have travelled to France for the event, but the first time staying at Haut-Brion.
Invitees tasted the complete 2010 and 2012 red and white vintages from the Pessac-Léogan region’s Cru Classés, visited the facilities of Chateau LaTour-Martillac, and had a specially-prepared lunch at Chateau Haut-Bailley. Highlights for the Canadian innkeppers included a private dinner at Chateau Haut-Brion, owned by Clarence Dillon Wine Estates and run by the Prince of Luxembourg, where they tasted highly-vaunted vintages of both red and white wines, including the 1989 Haut Brion, which scored a perfect 100/100 from Wine Spectator magazine. They also sampled 2011 vintage white wines including from neighbour La Mission Haut-Brion, which Leary described as spectacular. The following evening they attended the Acabailles soirée at the table of Mr. & Mrs. Lochlann Quinn, owners of Chateau Fieuzal. Mr. Quinn is Chairman of the National Gallery of Ireland and former Chairman of Allied Irish Banks PLC.
The soirée was hosted at Chateau Couhins-Lurtton, and the multi-course dinner prepared by Michelin two star chef and French television personality Philippe Etchebest.
“It’s a great honour to be invited, but also a highly educational experience,” said Perret. “We get the chance to compare notes with some extremely talented and motivated restaurateurs, and to taste fantstic wines.” Trout Point Lodge has several Péssac-Leognan wines on its list, whcih has won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence each year since 2009. Leary and Perret also met with the director of the local hotel & restaurant school in Talence, a Bordeaux suburb, hoping to attract talented students for internships in Nova Scotia.