Bordeaux wine region is located on the Atlantic coast, on right and left bank of the Gironde Estuary. Benefiting from the location and the climate vineyards here produce exclusive wines. Worldwide recognized for its harmonious, premium quality wines, Bordeaux wine land is a major player in the international wine market. Moreover, the city of Bordeaux is one great wine capitals famous for its historical heritage and an outstanding gastronomical scene.
The region of Bordeaux gathers a large number of activities, whether seaside, open-air, historical, viticultural and gastronomic. The choice is wide. This guide is what you need to learn about:
– Have lunch with your family in the village of Saint-Emilion.
– Wander along the Dune du Pilat the tallest sand dune in Europe.
Everything You Need to Know about Bordeaux Wine Region
Bordeaux wine region includes around 57 appellations(AOC), which makes it the first wine region in France with the number of appellation wines, which makes Bordeaux wines quality control really high.
The region is comprised of 5 major sub-regions: Graves, Médoc, Entre-Deux-Mers, Rive Droite, and Sauternes. The main grape varieties used in the production of world-known wines are Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc from red grapes, which are also known as Bordeaux grapes and produces world-known “Bordeaux Blend” wines. Even though 90% of wines produced here are white, there is also Bordeaux white bland, where primary grapes are Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon. Muscadelle is also involved in this bland in some cases.
What to Expect from Bordeaux Blend Wines?
Right and a Left Banks of Bordeaux – Must-Visit Distinctive Territories
As already mentioned in the intro, Gironde Estuary divided the Bordeaux wine region into right and left banks. This division also defines the style of Bordeaux blends and splits Bordeaux into distinctive territories that are must-visit while you are visiting the region. The left bank area includes Médoc and Graves. When on the right bank you will findLibournais, Bourg and Blaye.
Wines of the Left bank – Peppery & Tanninic
Wines of Left bank, which includes Medoc and Graves wine regions displays fruit aromas and flavours of berries as well as dark cherry, vanilla and coffee beans. The wines here are spicier with peppery flavours and bold tannins. The major factors influence the characteristics of these wines are soils and favourable climate of the territory: clement winter and hot summer. Cabernet Sauvignon is a primary grape in the blend of left bank wines, which is also responsible for the powerful characteristics of the wine.
Médoc gathers many renown appellations as well as Grand Crus, which, according to French wine classification, can be called the wine of the most superior grade, or the vineyard which produces it.
The most exclusive wines in the world – Grand Crus of Médoc
What about fancy Châteaus?
Château Latour – Historical wine estate rated as a premium cru under the 1855 Bordeaux classification. Château Latour terroir is expressed in the elegance and depth of its wines. That’s why it is rated as one of the most expensive wines from Médoc.
Château Haut-Brion is one of the oldest wine estates of this area, located in the town of Pessac, few kilometres away from Bordeaux. Estate produces some of the best white Bordeaux blends in the world. Haut Brion Blanc wine is the world’s most expensive dry white wines.
Château Margaux has been bringing excellence with its wines for hundreds of years already. wines that are meant to be aged and to be enjoyed with food. What makes these wines so special is a special sophisticated character of Margaux terroir expressed in wines.
Château Lafite Rothschild has a fascinating history that goes back to 1234. The wine estate is an honourable member of the five châteaux referred to as the ‘first growths’. And they produce wines that with exceptional finesse and elegance that are great as young but also have significant ageing potential.
Château Mouton Rothschild – Since 1924 estate brings Artists such as Salvador Dalí, Francis Bacon, Picasso and Miró designed labels for bottles. Château Mouton Rothschild gives the complete freedom of creation around the theme of the vine and the pleasure of drinking. The project underlines the exclusivity of each and every bottle produced here.
DON’T miss this lifetime opportunity to visit the most exclusive wine-making Châteaus in Bordeaux! However, keep in mind, Bordeaux is not only about high-end wine-producing Châteaus. There are around 8000 Châteaus around the region and you can find high-quality wines in every price segment.
Sauternes – High Quality Sweet Wines from the left bank
Many believe that Bordeaux produces only red wine blends. However, Sauternes, a famous village, situated in the South West of Bordeaux, known for its high-quality sweet white wines.
Crossed by the Ciron, the vineyard benefits from the combination of the heat and humidity, that’s why the bacteria Botrytis Cinerea appear. This bacteria allows the development of mushrooms that causes shrivelling grape berries, which results in increased sugar and flavour content and is responsible for the characteristic flavour of Sauternes wines. Sauternes wines shine with desserts as well as it expresses its brilliant character with foie gras.
The grape varieties used in production of Sauternes wines:
Fruity Wines of a Right Bank of Bordeaux
The right bank of the Bordeaux wine region includes renowned wine appellations such as Pomerol and Saint-Emilion. Wines produced here unlike left banks are more Merlot-based, with Cabernet-Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Petit Vertod used in blending. Wines from the right bank are more fruity, lower in acidity, and tannins. Visiting Saint-Emilion is a must for everyone visiting the Bordeaux wine region. Later you will discover what makes this little village so special.
Entre-Deux-Mers – “Between Two Seas”
Entre-Deux-Mersmeans “between two seas/tides” but actually, the territory lies between the Dordogne and Garonne river.
Located in the South East of Bordeaux, Entre-Deux-Mers occupies 7000 hectares, which makes it the largest winemaking area of Bordeaux wine region.
The huge diversity of soils in this wine area allows the production of red and white wine. Here, they produce dry and sweet white wines from Sauvignon and Sémillon grapes. To produce high-quality red wines, wine-growers use the Merlot.
Entre-Deux-Mers wines are well-balanced and crispy with pale golden colour. Normally, they are consumed young but they can be aged well thanks to Sauvignon Blancs potential.
Soil types:sand, clay, grave, clay-limestone.
The most used grape varieties:Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
prestigious Château Lafon-Rochet winery, built in the mid-17th century and located in the Saint-Estèphe appellation of the Bordeaux wine region. Rochet has been experimenting with biodynamic farming techniques and has put a plan into place to convert all the parcels to biodynamic wines over the next few years.
Visit Château Lafon-Rochet to explore picturesque vineyards, estate and taste exquisite wines that carries long history adn traditions.
Château de Cranne is a successful seventh generation family-run winery in the Bordeaux wine region.
Vineyards of Château de Cranne cover 43 hectares. The white grape varieties planted include Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, and Muscadelle. Red varieties include Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
During your visit to the winery you will be able to listen to the history of the estate, wine production ad taste their exceptional wines.
Have a look at our selection of Wineries in Bordeaux with open cellar door and the greatest hospitality!
Explore Cities and Medieval Villages of Bordeaux Wine Region
City of Bordeaux
World’s best city to travel to in 2017, according to lonely planet.
The Bordeaux’s renovation began in the 90′ thanks to the current mayor, Alain Juppé. After cleaning facades, the reorganizing of quays, the tramway placing, the town transformation was amazing in several years.
Walk along the Garonne on the quays and pass in front of Place de la Bourse and admire its reflection on the Miroir d’Eau. Turn at the Quinconces to stroll in “Triangle d’Or” and admire the Grand Theatre and its architecture (don’t hesitate to go inside).
Next, if you’re a shopping lover, explore Europe’s largest pedestrian street: Sainte Catherine Street, where you will discover major Franch chains, design shops, cafes, and restaurants. So, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy your break. Visit the district Saint Michel, where you can take a walk in the alleys of the cosmopolitan district. You will be fascinated by the old architecture of this part of the city and then together with it, you can discover the super modern building of the museum “La Cité du Vin”, must visit place in Bordeaux and perfect for families, couples or friends who want to explore the culture and civilization of wine. You will end up your visit with a glass of wine on the terrace of the museum.
Bordeaux is wealty for its wine bar culture, stroll around old part of the city and explore wine scene, where you will be able to taste not only local but also international wines.
The Medieval Village Saint-Emilion
Saint-Emilion is famous for its huge vineyards, the quality of wines, architecture, and cultural heritage. The village hosts thousands of wine enthusiasts every year because of its wines. However, not everybody knows that Saint-Emilion was the first vineyard written on the World Heritage List by UNESCOin 1999 for having an outstanding universal value. And we don’t talk only about wines and vineyards here. The town has incredible architecture and a great history.
Come, discover the largest monolithic church in Europe, the catacombs, Chapel of Trinity! Saunter in the village in a couple, or with your family and friends to discover its amazing landscapes and visit surrounding vineyards!
After exploring the heritage of Saint-Emilion, you can visit wineries in the surroundings of the village!
Château La Croizille offers a wide diversity of experiences: workshops, wine tasting events, picnics, you can even have accommodation at the winery.
The town is separated in 4 “towns”, and each “town” name one of the four seasons.
Arcachon was created in 1857 by the imperial decree of Napoléon 3, its renown increased rapidly and became the town of the four seasons. Indeed, the town is separated in 4 “towns”, and each “town” name one of the four seasons. Explore four seasons of the city and have a diversity of experiences that this oceanside city has to offer.
The Summer town gathers seafront and Arcachon city centre where you can find the famous Casino, hostels, restaurants…
The Autumn town presents fishing and nautical activities so, you can walk along the marina/fishing port (the third largest of France).
The Winter town is located on the Arcachon Dune and It’s a place where you can spend family time and admire the view from the Belvédère.
Finally, Spring town is a more residential district. You can find the famous Abatilles spring.
DON’T forget to visit the tallest Sand dunes in Europe, Dune du Pilat. You will admire incredible view over the ocean and Arcachon forests. It will definatelly be the highlight of your holidays!
What to Eat in Bordeaux
Discover Culinary Specialities in Bordeaux Wine Region. The location as a port and a trading city has effected on the peculiarities of its gastronomy. Bordeaux gastronomical scene is pretty diverse. You will find everything from high-end gourmet restaurants and bistros to wine bars and market places, where you can taste authentic food and products. Here you will find the three most characteristic dishes that represent the region the best.
La Lamproie Bordelaise – Fish Served In Its Own Blood
The old Aquitaine recipe from Middle ages.
Not a pleasant story to be told how they prepare this dish. However, it is considered to be a delicacy in Atlantic coastal areas of France as well as in Spain and Portugal. Between February and March, the fish come back at Gironde and Dordogne confluence to lay its eggs. This is when fishermen catch Lamprey, which is the only fish to bleed alive.
the preparation of the dish starts with extracting blood from the fish, which is later mixed with red wine to prepare the sauce. Then, The Lamprey is cooked with leeks and added the sauce. You can serve it with garlic croutons, fresh pasta or boiled potatoes.
Caviar from Michelin-Starred Chef’s Selection
Caviar d’Aquitaine is one of the most famous caviar in the world and part of the Aquitaine gastronomy. The Caviar comes from sturgeons raised in high-quality rivers and ponds. That’s why the Caviar d’Aquitaine is recognized by Michelin-starred chefs.
The best way to taste Caviar is to eat it alone to don’t change its amazing flavour. Avoid taking the Caviar with silver or stainless steel spoon to don’t oxidize it.
Taste it with dry white wine, brut or extra brut champagne, or fresh vodka!
The Famous Confit de Canard
First, the aim of this recipe was to conserve the meat and protect it from the air thanks to the grease. Then, it became a real traditional recipe from the south-west of France.
After to choose Landes’s duck, put the wings and thighs aside as well as the grease.
During 24 hours, the duck is covered with salt to dry up it before to be cooked. The meat is cooked for 2 hours in order to be tender. It can be tasted directly or it can be kept in its grease and to eat later.
South Treat – the Canelé
The canelé is a vanilla and rum flavoured delicious little cake with a tender heart and crispy, caramelized crust. The Canelé’s origins are still uncertain but the legend says it was invented by nuns of the Annonciades’ convent. Yet, during the last archaeological digs, any cakes pans weren’t found.
This pastry disappeared during several decades to come back in force during the ’20s. There is some trouble with the cake’s name: how many “n” need the word? The answer: only one since 1985 with the creation of canelé’s association.