wine history tours logo
Search
Book Now

Self-Guided Wine Tour of Bordeaux

Self-Guided Wine Tour of Bordeaux

One of the most prominent and prolific wine-producing regions in the world is the Bordeaux wine region, located in the southwest of France. Over 7,500 wine producers, 10,000 unique wines, and more than 111,000 hectares of breathtaking vineyards dot the gorgeous countryside of the wine region, making a wine tour of Bordeaux something that should be on everyone’s bucket list!

Layout

Bordeaux is a port area near the Atlantic Ocean in southwest France. The soil and weather in the area are impacted by two rivers, the Dordogne and the Garonne (terroir). The city of Bordeaux, which is located on the Garonne River, is in the geographic center of the area. The Gironde estuary, which gives its name to the Gironde department, is regarded as France’s top producer of great wine and is reached via the Garonne River.

Bordeaux Left Bank wine region

Bordeaux Left Bank wine region

What is the Overview of Bordeaux?

Bordeaux has a long history of wine production dating back more than 20 centuries, which provides a wonderful history for wine lovers. Visiting this place not only enlightens you on the origin of great wine varieties but allows you to learn more about a great winemaking culture. Bordeaux’s vineyards have a rich history, which is evident in the renowned wines, elegant chateaux, and historical buildings along the Bordeaux Wine Route. The historical buildings along the Bordeaux Wine Route are a must-visit area for you. The world’s largest quality wine vineyards are located in Bordeaux. Wines including reds, dry or sweet whites, rosés, light reds, and sparkling whites can all be produced thanks to the variety of wine-growing regions. The Bordeaux Wine Route’s major stations are located in these several wine regions. There are 6,000 chateaux, historic towns, medieval cities, archeological monuments, and antiquated Roman churches among the Bordeaux grapes for one to visit. Winemakers welcome visitors to their vineyards for wine tastings, wine education, and a variety of gastronomic and cultural experiences.

Without a doubt, May through November is the finest months for a wine tour in Bordeaux whether you want to go for a walk or to explore the vineyards. Visit Bordeaux in September if you would like to participate in the region’s famous grape harvest (at the earliest in late August and the latest in October). During this period you will experience much of the harvesting and grape processing activities and learn about the winemaking activities.

What is the History of Bordeaux?

Bordeaux has been producing wine since the time of the Romans. The first person to have produced wine in Bordeaux is the Roman poet Ausonius (c. 310–394 AD), and in his poetry, the Gironde riverbanks are described as being overrun by grapevines. In the twelfth century, the port of the area contributed to economic growth and a rise in wine production. Burgundy wines became inexpensive to the British at this time because of a trade arrangement with England (who controlled western France at the time), and they kept doing so even after the French retook the region in 1453.

Regions and brands became unique as early as the 1600s. The traditional Bordeaux wine-producing châteaux were divided into grand crus with five quality categories, or “growths,” in 1885. These classifications continue to have an impact on the Bordeaux market today. The five premier crus, often known as first-growth estates, command the greatest prices, and their wine is frequently offered as futures before the vintage is even made available. On the left bank of the Gironde River, in the Médoc area, are all 61 listed châteaux. Despite not being listed in the 1855 classification, the right bank appellations of Pomerol and Saint-Émilion are home to a few similarly renowned winemakers.

What are the Subregions of Bordeaux?

There are three major wine regions in Bordeaux, including the Left Bank, Entre-Deux-Mers, and the Right Bank. Each of these regions has several sub-regions as listed below.

  1. The Left Bank

This wine region is noted for producing wines made mostly with Cabernet Sauvignon and is situated south of the Garonne and Gironde Rivers. The following are sub-regions in this region:

  • Barsac
  • Graves
  • Pessac-Léognan
  • Médoc
  • Margaux
  • Julien
  • Pauillac
  • Cérons
  1. Entre-Deux-Mers

Entre-Deux-Mers scenery

Entre-Deux-Mers scenery

Located in the Bordeaux wine region, Entre-Deux-Mers is a sizable subregion. The appellation is situated between the Dordogne and Garonne rivers. It has the following sub-regions:

  • Bordeaux-Haut-Benauge
  • Côtes-de-Bordeaux-Saint-Macaire
  • Sainte-Croix-du-Mont
  • Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux.
  1. The Right Bank

This large subregion extends along the Dordogne. The right bank, which is located to the north of the Bordeaux wine region, connects Libournais and Pomerol. It is home to the following smaller sub-regions:

  • Blaye
  • Côtes-de-Bourg
  • Fronsac
  • Pomerol
  • Saint Émilion

What are the Best Wine Grapes Grown in Bordeaux?

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and on occasion, Carménère are the six Bordeaux varietals. These grapes, which each contribute distinctive qualities to their wines, are combined in various ways to create Bordeaux blends.

With such variety, a wine tour of Bordeaux requires enough time to satisfactorily travel through the different regions and sample the varying blends of wine based on the appellations.

What are the Historical Sites in Bordeaux?

Bordeaux has several historic sites that you can visit to make your tour memorable. The following is a list of some of the best sites I would visit:

  • Andre Cathedral

Eleanor of Aquitaine, then 13 years old, wedded the future King Louis VII at St. Andre Cathedral, a French national landmark. In addition, it is a Roman Catholic Church that houses the office of the Bordeaux-Bazas Archbishop. Although Pope Urban II dedicated the original cathedral in 1096, most of what tourists see now dates from the 14th and 15th centuries.

  • Place de la Bourse

The Place de la Bourse grounds feature the greatest water mirror effect in the world because of the palace’s reflection there. Despite the fact that this is a public area, the Palais de la Bourse palace on the grounds exhibits French classical architecture and 18th-century art. The Hôtel des Fermes and the Hôtel de la Bourse are located on either side of the main pavilion.

  • Chateau de Bridoire

Despite being renovated, the proprietors welcomed visitors to both the refurbished and unrenovated areas of the 12th-century Chateau de Bridoire in 2012. Explore the site to learn what goes into renovating a structure of this caliber. You can participate in some of the several medieval activities the proprietors have set up to amuse the visitors once you’ve seen the chateau.

  • Chateau Lafite Rothschild

With a long history, Chateau Lafite is situated in the Pauillac area of Bordeaux, France. High-caliber wines have been produced by Chateau Lafite since the 17th century. It is well-liked by wine enthusiasts because of its exceptional quality. It is a representation of high-quality wine due to its ideal soil characteristics, stringent grape control, and expert handling.

What are the Best Wineries for a Bordeaux Wine Tour?

Bordeaux wine region is renowned for its illustrious, esteemed wines and historic châteaux. The following lovely wineries are located here, and you can visit them by traveling through renowned appellations.

  • Château La Croizille – Winery

The five hectares of Château La Croizille are under cultivation. It enjoys exceptional exposure to the clay and limestone plateau as well as a magnificent terroir. This winery has been run by the De Schepper-De Mour family for many years. The family creates unmatched wines by fusing cutting-edge technology with traditional winemaking heritage. It is significant to highlight that the Saint-Emilion region greatly benefits from the marine climate.

  • Château du Taillan – Winery

The Château du Taillan winery, which is situated in Haut-Médoc, is a 150-hectare wine estate with approximately 30 hectares of vineyards that date back hundreds of years. Although Château du Taillan was built in the 18th century, Henri Cruse bought it in 1896. The five Cruse daughters currently oversee the estate after four generations.

  • Château de Rayne Vigneau – Winery

Many people think Château de Rayne Vigneau is the second-best Sauternes wine producer. The Baronne de Rayne and Etienne du Vigneau, the first owners of the castle, is honored in the name of the winery. Semillion, 24% Sauvignon Blanc, and 2% Muscadelle make up 74% of the 77 hectares of the vineyard.

Where should I Eat in Bordeaux?

Bordeaux has long been renowned for many of the best wines in the world. Bordeaux is now renowned for things other than wine. Bordeaux is currently a true haven for culinary and wine enthusiasts. Here is a list of the top restaurants you should visit while in the wine area.

  • Belle Campagne

This assiduous locavore restaurant, which is located in the city’s increasingly fashionable Saint Pierre neighborhood, alters its seasonal cuisine every two months and occupies a duplex space. It has modern dishes like a velouté of white asparagus from Les Landes and a free-range organic guinea hen filet packed with foie gras. It’s the richness of the farms of southwest France.

  • Le Flacon

One of the greatest of the new breed of wine bars that have been sprouting in Bordeaux is Gilles Davasse’s Le Flacon. It’s a terrific spot for a light small-plate meal.

  • Miles

It is one of Bordeaux’s most well-liked restaurants due to the creativity of the market-driven menu prepared using regionally fresh ingredients from the southwest of France. Swordfish with Madras curry jelly and coconut, coriander, and lime gremolata is just a couple of the expected dishes.

Where Should I Stay During a Wine Tour in Bordeaux?

Chartrons is the coolest place to stay in Bordeaux. The fashionable of Bordeaux congregate at Chartrons is frequently described as the poshest district in Bordeaux to shop, eat at the many upmarket bistros, and have a pint at one of the surrounding pubs. Irish, German, and Flemish wine merchants first settled in Chartrons in the 17th century, and it soon became known as something of an expat neighborhood as artists and bohemians from all over the world opened up shop along the riverfront. You can choose to stay in the following restaurants in Chartrons:

  • Seeko’o Hotel Bordeaux. On the banks of the Garone River, the Hotel Seeko’o is situated in the center of Bordeaux. The hotel faces the Jacques Chaban Delmas Bridge and is 801 meters from Cité du Vin and 40 meters from the Quai des Marques shopping area. With free WiFi, it has roomy rooms.
  • Hotel Vatel Bordeaux. The Hotel Vatel in Bordeaux offers air-conditioned rooms and free WiFi access throughout the building, 400 meters from the Bordeaux Wines Museum. The on-site restaurants are available to visitors.

How Should I Save Money in Bordeaux?

The following are the best tips on how to save money in Bordeaux. First, when traveling, try to always use public buses, which are considerably cheap. Also, use the train when getting around the city. Using a bus and a train will save you money and allow you to enjoy the great scenery around the region. Secondly, always look for budget accommodations. Chartrons is the best place to stay and save money. Lastly, eat on budget when on your tour in Bordeaux.

Conclusion

Bordeaux is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world, dating back 20 centuries ago. The long wine production culture offers visitors a wonderful experience, especially while visiting some of the oldest and most popular wineries in the world. When visiting the region, you are able to stay and eat in places that you have just read about in history books. Historic sites, like St- Andre Cathedral and others offer that experience you will never forget.

The Vide: Naturally, Bordeaux’s ability to age is one of the main reasons it is so well regarded worldwide. Before being bottled, all of Bordeaux’s red wines will be stored in conventional barrels, but since the tannic Cabernet Sauvignon grape is emphasized, they are ideal for aging in bottles. Such uniqueness among other great things the region offers is why you should consider visiting Bordeaux.

Source:

  • Bordeaux Travel Guide
  • Bordeaux Tourism and Conventions: official website

Want to read more on Bordeaux Wine Tours? Try these books!

The Essential Guide to Bordeaux Wines The Complete Bordeaux- 4th edition- The Wines, The Chateaux, The People

Book Now

Share:

Hot Topics

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.
On Trend

Most Popular Stories

Dick Erath's wine

Dick Erath: An Oregon Legend

Willamette Valley’s Dick Erath Dick Erath’s contributions to the Oregon wine industry were numerous and profound. In the 1960s, he was  actually working in the