I’ve been visiting wine estates since the mid-1970s, a time so distant that even to describe the experience may sound a little like a medieval explorer landing on an undiscovered continent.

The first cellars I came across were in France, during the year I spent in Montpellier. Some were very smart by the standards of the day — a couple of first growths in Bordeaux, some of the grandest in Burgundy, a few in the Rhone Valley and some close to Montpellier itself.

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