Monday, 11 April 2011

The golden arches McDonald’s are a Mecca for wine hacks

I’ve always disliked McDonald’s, mainly because of the disgusting food, but in Bordeaux I’ve had an epiphany.

Bordeaux’s an old fashioned town. A Sunday afternoon is like being in an English suburb in the mid-70s – all bored teenagers and bus shelters and not an open bar to be had.

Finding an internet connection is just as bad. The chateaux generally have wi-fi (pronounced to rhyme with ‘leafy’), but there’s something about the stone walls that blocks the signal.

At Lafaurie Peyraguay, where we stayed this en primeur 2010, you had to sit in a broom cupboard in the entrance hall to get a signal, and even that was poor.

Then you might find a cafĂ© with wi-fi and discover they charge for it, and it still doesn’t work. And in any case, I hate giving my custom to some so mean-spirited and lacking in promotional nous that they charge for wi-fi.

But McDonald’s is another story. Generally empty, friendly staff, fair coffee, accessible power sockets – and free connection.

What’s more, everyone in Bordeaux knows every McDonald’s, as if it’s on a satnav in their inner ear.

Liliane Barton of Leoville of that ilk didn’t bat an eyelid when I asked her if she knew a McDo’s (as they charmingly style it). ‘The nearest one is Lesparre,’ she said. Lesparre was 25km away.

So the Decanter team, which starts twitching if it’s without internet connection for more than half a day, whiled away many a happy hour under the sign of the golden arches. The best McDonald’s, with the smiliest staff, is on the D2 at Le Pian Medoc.

I didn’t have a Big Mac though. I wouldn’t go that far.

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