To the north of the city are the vineyards of the Médoc, which stretch along the Gironde river on its way out to sea. Wine-growing in this region dates from 37 BC with the arrival of the Romans, who planted the first vineyards on the gentle slopes to the south of the town. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that most of the wine estates and châteaux were established.
Whether you are a seasoned collector or a fledgling enthusiast, this tour offers an accessible enjoyment of the wonderful Left Bank and its glorious city. Coupling both visits and tasting experiences with tours of the châteaux themselves, all of which qualify as growths under the 1855 Bordeaux Classification, this is a unique and all-encompassing four-day experience that is simply not to be missed…
We arrive into beautiful Bordeaux today and following an afternoon welcome, we head to the Max Bordeaux Wine Gallery & Cellar for a private tour. Here, we sample excellent wines and our guide enlightens us about its quirks. Afterwards, there is the chance to taste some of the many wines in the Enomatic machines. Our evening will be spent at leisure.
Our day begins at the Second Growth Château Gruaud Larose, where we discover its history, which dates back to 1725, along with the world-class wines produced here. Lunch will be an indulgent affair as we sit down to a special wine-flight menu at the fantastic restaurant, Le Saint-Julien. We end our touring at the phenomenal Château Pichon Longueville Baron, possibly the most famous building in the region and often touted as a quintessential fairytale castle. Here, we explore the vineyards, discover the cellars and get to taste the fabulous vintages. Tonight there’s more free time to walk around this enchanting city, take in its sights and get a little closer to the rich culture.
A visual treat awaits this morning at Château Cantemerle. Set within verdant Médoc woodlands on the fringes of Bordeaux city, there are 94 hectares of immaculate vines that produce its amazing fifth growth wines. Our next stop is the charming 18th century Château Kirwan, which has belonged to the Schÿler family for 75 years. Beautiful lawns and gardens lined with flowers frame our sampling of this château’s excellent wines. The afternoon and evening are free.
Before we make our way home this afternoon, we visit the Cité du Vin Museum, which brings wine to life with its immersive, multi-sensory approach. Here, the cultural journey of wine is laid out across engaging exhibits and interactive experiences.
Resident wine expert for BBC Radio Oxford, Alistair is also an established journalist and Master of Wine. He set up the Oxford-based wine bar, 1855.
Just one hotel for the entire tour means that once you unpack, you’re ready to discover the incredible wines this stunning area has to offer. Relax and recharge in your comfortable room, perhaps enjoy an evening drink in the hotel bar or take advantage of the fantastic location and head out for a stroll around this rich city.
While in this glorious region, make sure you don’t miss out on its signature pastry – cannelés bordelais. These squat, fluted delicacies have a custard centre and caramelised crust, and pair especially well with both red and dessert wines. Meals in Bordeaux will undoubtedly utilise amazing local produce and flavours.
Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the red blends of the Left Bank and Merlot is king of the Right Bank of Bordeaux, but both Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc are also used to great effect. The sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac are among some of the most expensive wines in the world to produce. Every sip is a new discovery.