Experience the Bordeaux Wine Region
The Bordeaux wine region is a very popular place to visit, and rightly so! There are literally thousands of wine chateaux to visit, as well as charming medieval towns and beautiful countryside.
Here are some ideas on what you can do and see here – in particular – wine tasting!
Of course, a holiday in bordeaux would not be complete without a visit to a few world-famous Bordeaux wineries.
Some of the top estates include Chateau Palmer and Chateau Margaux in the Medoc district. Château Belair, near the town of St-Émilion, also produces some of the region’s top wines using traditional techniques.
(Advance booking is essential).
Visiting the smaller, family run vineyards is highly recommended, too, and can provide you with a unique insight into the bordeaux wine region.
You can find many excellent wines without having to spend a fortune, and it is often the owner who takes you on a tour of the cellars (rather than a hired guide). You can also find accommodation that operates as a winery at the same time.
Here is a selection of some places that you could visit or stay. You could also ask at the tourist office or Maison du Vin for suggestions.
Château de La Grave
The Château de la Grave is in the Medoc region, approx 1hr drive north from Bordeaux or north-west from St-Emilion. The Château was built in the 18th century, and looks like it has come out of a fairytale book.
Phillipe and Valérie, who own and run the place, are lovely; it has a really relaxed, family atmosphere (they have 3 kids). They also run a bed and breakfast (three rooms) if you’d like to stay (and the price is very reasonable).
Château De La Grave
Ph. et V. BASSEREAU
33710- Bourg sur Gironde
Tel: 05 57 68 41 49
Fax: 05 57 68 49 26
This château (about 1/2 hr drive St-Émilion) is a real gem. As well as producing red, white and and rosé wines (very reasonably priced), owners Wilfrid and Jacquie raise Aquitaine “Blonde” cows, and breed gorgeous Bearnease dogs.
Jacquie is a great cook too, and specialises in regional specialties.
They run a bed and breakfast within the chateaux – we highly recommend staying there. It’s got a lovely terrace at the back where you can have breakfast in the summer; and a greenhouse which they use for candlelit dinners. It also has some lovely places for walking.
33890 Pessac sur Dordogne
Phone: 33 (0) 5 57 47 46 46
Fax: 33 (0) 5 57 47 42 46
Another highlight of the Bordeaux wine region is St-Émilion, approximately 45 minutes drive from Bordeaux city. St Emilion is the oldest wine town in France and is on the UNESCO World Heritage List; the town was named after the monk Emilion who settled here in the 8th century.
St-Émilion is in a beautiful spot overlooking the Dordogne valley, with warm ochre-coloured houses and steep cobblestone streets. What makes it unique is that it sits on a vast area of catacombs, or underground galleries, carved out of the limestone rock. It also has a huge underground church (the largest in Europe).
It can get busy during the summer months, so try and come early in the morning.
St-Émilion wine is delicious….(the ‘nectar of the gods’, as Louis XIV put it). The most famous St-Émilion wine houses, Ausone, Cheval-Blanc and Belair, are only a short distance away. Prices for wines in the St-Émilion region can range from around 15 euros to 310 euros.
The St-Émilion tourist office is great. You can pick up maps and brochures, and they can help you out if you’re looking for ideas on which vineyards to visit, and walking trails too. They also have wine tours in the summer. The Maison du Vin, just around the corner, is also a good place to get advice.
Office de Tourisme de la Juridiction de Saint-Émilion
Place des Créneaux 33330 Saint-Émilion
Tél: 33 (0)5 57 55 28 28
Fax: 33 (0)5 57 55 28 29
Maison du Vin de Saint-Émilion
Place Pierre Meyrat (à côté de l’Eglise Collégiale)
Tel. 33 (0)5 57 55 50 55
Fax. 33 (0)5 57 55 53 10
There are some wonderful hiking and biking trails in the area – in particular around St-Émilion. You can pick up free, detailed maps at the tourist office.
They can suggest walking and cycling routes and also rent out bikes.
The Bordeaux wine region also has many festivals and wine-related celebrations, including “Portes Ouvertes” (open door) where producers offer free tastings. Some of the best include the Portes Ouvertes in late march/early april in the Medoc, the wine festival in Bordeaux in late june; jazz festivals in Monsegur and Fort Medoc in July; and the wine, cheese and bread festival in Langon in early September.
We hope this page provides lots of info on the Bordeaux wine region to tempt your tastebuds… enjoy, and as they say in France – “santé!”