In Bordeaux you find world famous châteaux and world famous wines but also a lot of new exciting initiatives – less famous but maybe more important for the future of Bordeaux! – And young enthusiastic wine makers. On this trip we will visit both some big, famous Grand Cru Class chateaux and smaller ones that are less known, but very quality conscious. We will learn about viticulture, vinification and vintages and after this trip you will know quite a lot about what’s going on in Bordeaux.
There will probably be a lot of harvesting going on and we will have a golden opportunity to see what happens both in the vineyard and in the cellar. In all the châteaux we will get private tastings together with the people who are involved in the wine making and who are delighted to share with us their passion for fine wine. The city of Bordeaux is also on the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
Bordeaux wines can be divided into four sub-regions, including many familiar wines we know and love. North of the city of Bordeaux, the Médoc wine region is celebrated for its well-balanced Margaux, Pauillac and Saint Julien reds. From the southern Graves region we have sticky white dessert Sauternes and wines from the Premières Cotes de Bordeaux, including earthy Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec reds. Perhaps one of the most enjoyable ways to discover the wine and food of the Bordeaux region is to pair food and wine with a visit to several wine-growing chateaux, a wine merchant's cellar and tasting platter lunch.
The Médoc is the name for the "triangle" of land stretching northwest from Bordeaux between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde Estuary. This is a star studded wine region packed tightly with thousands of famous Châteaux and neat vineyards. The grapes used on the left bank to make the region’s rich red wines include Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Cabernet Franc and occasional, very targeted Malbec and Petit Verdot. The best examples of Médoc wines are full bodied, concentrated and extremely elegant.
Arrival in Bordeaux and stay arrangement. Today relax your self.
Bordeaux city is the centre of the Bordelais wine trade. But today you see more of beautifully renovated renaissance or baroque mansions, luxurious boutiques and university students than wine warehouses.
Bordeaux is without a doubt one of France’s most elegant cities, where it lies along the banks of the Garonne River. What used to be warehouses and parking places have been transformed into a myriad of cafés, wine bars, and restaurants. Here you can find everything from Michelin starred places to friendly neighborhood bistros.
One absolutely must do is to explore the Old Town and go for a stroll along the river and see the Place de la Bourse when evening is falling!
Evening is free to explore the city.
After breakfast we will head for Medoc, home to many of the big châteaux names and famous for its wines made primarily of cabernet sauvignon. Here in the Medoc the vines grow on a narrow strip of land along the Gironde estuary, sheltered from the rain and winds from the Atlantic Ocean by the Landes pine forest.
We will drive along the route des chateaux that lead north. This is a spectacular journey along an almost unreal road. The magnificent chateaux, some are virtual palaces, are dotted along the road like a string of pearls. We will visit the through the villages of Margaux, Saint-Julien and Pauillac and up to Saint-Estephe and see the beautiful and famous chateaux on the way.
You will see many famous wine estates (winery is too humble a word) where the cabernet sauvignon grape dominate in the vineyards. The terrain is gently rolling hills; the best vineyards have a view over the river.
We will first have a private tour of the cellar. If timing coincides with the harvest we will see the extremely diligent sorting of the grapes that is done at “grape reception”, a key element in producing top quality wine. Early evening we will be back in Bordeaux. A walk along the river is a must. At dusk the famous miroird’eau, the water mirror, at the Place de la Bourse is at its most spectacular.
After breakfast We board the busto cross the river Garonne for our visit in Entre-deux-Mers. In the afternoon we will taste some of the world’s best sweet white wines in Sauternes.
We will visit the vineyards and learn how to pick grapes and how to know when they are ripe enough to be picked.
In the cellar we will talk about fermentation, blending, oak ageing and different decisions that the wine maker has to take during the year. After the visit you will be invited to sit down for a delicious winery buffet with local specialties at the winery. With that we will taste the chateaux’s own wines.
After lunch we will drive through Entre-deux-Mers. We are going to visit one of the grand chateaux in this region, well known for its sweet wines made from noble rot. We will learn how these magnificent wines are made, a process that is quite complicated. We will also taste a few different vintages.
If the vintage has progressed as normal and is not late we will take a look at the vineyards and see the early stages of this “noble rot” that produces there extraordinary wines. It is quite an incredible sight to see, the shrivelled sweet grapes. The production of these exclusive wines is painstaking. The grape pickers go over each parcel of vines several times to make sure that only the best grapes are picked.
Today we cross both rivers, the Garonne and the Dordogne. We will visit the right bank, rive droite, of Bordeaux: Saint Emilion, Fronsac and Pomerol. The landscape is hillier here than in the Medoc and the châteaux are smaller. This is also where you will find the most expensive wines of Bordeaux!
We will visit, among other chateaux, the lovely Château de la Dauphine in Fronsac. The chateau has been beautifully restored and the wine cellar in ultra modern. The wines are well structured and classic in style. We will also visit famous Chateau Franc-Mayne where we will also have the opportunity to admire the magnificent limestone cellar and to taste some older vintages. We will also have time for a stroll in the picturesque town of Saint Emilion before our afternoon visit. Saint Emilion is a wonderful medieval small town on the World Heritage list of UNESCO.
The rest of the evening is free to make more discoveries in the city centre. Perhaps a walk in the Old Town. The beautiful façades are a must to see!
Tour ends after breakfast. Departure.