During our tour we explore the Left Bank, home to the famous ‘First Growths’ and more besides. On the Right Bank, the wines are powerful, tannic, bold and peppery, and can be drunk far younger than their Left Bank counterparts. To the south, there’s Graves, home to a further array of fine wines, while Sauternes is known for its sweet white wines. Over the course of our trip we traverse an undulating landscape of small and pretty villages dotted between the vines. Then there are the narrow streets of Saint-Emilion, lined with shops and bakeries. Sample fabulous wines in the company of those who make them. A unique glimpse into the world of Bordeaux.
Bordeaux’s beautiful architecture is inseparable from the city’s identity. From charming public gardens to monuments full of history, Bordeaux definitely has something to say. The art, river walks, wine and cuisine combine to create an artistic, cultural hub.
When in Bordeaux, don’t miss out on the region’s signature pastry – cannelés Bordelais. These squat, fluted pastries have a custard centre and a caramelised crust, and pair especially well with wine.
Bordeaux wines vary from dry whites through to powerful, age-worthy reds. We get a good understanding of the differences between the Left and Right Bank, and also taste sweet wines from Sauternes on this tour.
We arrive into beautiful Bordeaux today and are welcomed with a delicious early lunch and tasting within the grand setting of our first château visit to château Kirwan. Afterwards, we travel to Margaux and check in to our hotel before a group dinner, where Conal introduces us to the wines of the Left Bank.
Our day begins with a visit and tasting at a winery in the Cos D’estournel before a lunch in the delightful St Julien, right on the banks of the Gironde. We return to our hotel for some free time and later this evening dinner is included at either the hotel or a local restaurant.
After checking out of our hotel, we head to the Right Bank, where the focus shifts to fruit-formed, Merlot-driven wines. We have a morning visit to a château, whose wines are ranked as Premier Grand Crus class B in the Classification of Saint-Emilion wines. Over lunch we enjoy free time in Saint-Emilion, where you can feast on French cuisine at fine dining restaurants or more personal wine bars. This afternoon we visit a château in the highest part of the magnificent terroir of the Pomerol plateau, with its sandy and gravelly soils. We drive to Bordeaux after our visit and check in to our next hotel. This evening we dine together at a local restaurant.
We travel to Graves this morning for a tour and tasting just outside of the city of Bordeaux. These rich and sumptuous reds will prove a vast difference to the Sauternes we will try after lunch. We have a free afternoon and evening today.
This morning and over lunch today you will have the chance to explore the capital of the most renowned wine region in the world, Bordeaux. Flanked by unparalleled vineyards, the city’s Gothic Cathédrale Saint-André is a must-see, along with its notable art museums and 18th-19th century mansions. Or perhaps stroll along the grand Place de la Bourse and admire the Miroir d’Eau reflecting pool. Later this afternoon, we enjoy a final tasting visit at Cite du Vin before a farewell group dinner.
Our final day will be free to explore the area and stock up on the wines we have tried, tested and come to love, before our late evening flight back to the UK.
Conal Gregory has been a Master of Wine since 1979 and was Panel Chair of the International Wine Challenge for 13 years, as well as the Chairman of the International Wine & Spirit Competition. He has won many awards for his skill in blending wines from top Chilean producers (where he helped Vina Casa Silva win the accolades of Top Winery in South America) to those from Saint-Emilion (where his vintage blend won one of only four gold awards for all Bordeaux). When not leading tours for Arblaster & Clarke, he travels the world as a leading consultant and commentator on wine. His discoveries include a century-old wine and finding some of the original vineyards of Persia.