Day Three brought our group to Château Carbonnieux, where Pessac-Léognan vineyards were born, and Mr. Thomas Jefferson planted a pecan tree in 1787. Here, a most meaningful moment occurred that underscored the deep links between France and the United States. In 2022, the pecan tree planted by Jefferson succumbed to a harshly dry summer and high winds. Our group visited the famous tree and took a tour of the estate led by winemaker M. Eric Perrin, member of the family that has restored and grown Carbonnieux since 1956. After this behind-the-scenes tour, M. Perrin surprised American Friends President, Mr. George Sape, with the first taste from a very unique wine barrel. He explained that the château was able to repurpose a portion of the felled pecan tree to create one barrel for a 2023 vintage of sémillon. The Perrin family wished to bestow this honor on Mr. Sape, who has been a family friend, a fan of the château, and a steadfast proponent of French-American relations for many years.
That afternoon, Mme. Sylvie Cazes, President of the Foundation for the Culture and Civilizations of Wine, hosted the group for a private guided tour of La Cité du Vin, which included a visit to the Thomas Jefferson Auditorium, where the mission of American Friends of Cité du Vin began with a 2015 capital campaign to fund the naming rights of the venue. Mme. Cazes explained that the auditorium is the heart of the center, hosting annual conferences, academic symposiums, and interviews with winemakers, estate owners, celebrities, and dignitaries, exploring the history, culture, science, agriculture, and geology of the world of wine.
After a group photo, guests were treated to the unforgettable experience of the interactive, multi-media revitalized permanent exhibits, followed by a wine tasting and 360-degree view of Bordeaux, nine stories up in Le Belvedere.