Explore the finest wine experiences in France’s Bordeaux | Travel - Hindustan Times

Explore the finest wine experiences in France’s Bordeaux

Jan 31, 2024 02:36 PM IST

With 270,000 acres under vine, 5,300 wine growers, 13,000 wine brands and 300 wine merchants, Bordeaux is where Bacchus is at his glorious best.

Bordeaux is all about wine. Every year, nearly million bottles of wine is produced in the region and every second, 18 bottles of wine from the Bordeaux region is sold across the world. With 270,000 acres under vine, 5,300 wine growers, 13,000 wine brands and 300 wine merchants, Bordeaux is synonymous with wine (mainly reds). The first vines were planted by the Romans nearly 2,000 years ago, Bordeaux wine region is a paradise for epicureans - it also has 11 Michelin-starred tables. (Also read: 15 groovy Goan bars that made it to the 30BestBarsIndia shortlist)

This year, Bordeaux Fête le Vin, the annual wine tourism festival will be held from June 27-30 on the banks of the Garonne.(Freepik)
This year, Bordeaux Fête le Vin, the annual wine tourism festival will be held from June 27-30 on the banks of the Garonne.(Freepik)

This year, Bordeaux Fête le Vin, the annual wine tourism festival will be held from June 27-30 on the banks of the Garonne.

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Here’s all about Bordeaux region

Wine Regions of Bordeaux: The Bordeaux region is home to more than 7,000 wine chateaux, with 53 appellations with 65 different wine styles. Bordeaux can be divided into six distinct wine regions. Many wineries in Bordeaux require advanced bookings in order to visit - so do plan ahead before trekking out into the wine regions.

• Bordeaux: A world-renowned city, Bordeaux is famed for its vineyards, gastronomy, and unique art de vivre. An absolute must visit is Cité du Vin, a museum that explores wine’s cultural, civilisational, heritage and universal dimensions, from history, viticulture, oenology. Do not miss Latitude 20, a circular cellar at Cité du Vin that boasts 14,000 bottles of wine and 800 references from 70 countries.

Place de la Bourse(Wikipedia)
Place de la Bourse(Wikipedia)

Médoc: The Médoc is where some of the most famous wineries in Bordeaux are situated - with gravelly soils. This area is famous for its age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends and the 1855 classification by Napoleon of the Grands Crus Classés.

• Graves and Sauternes: Graves and Pessac-Léognan is the only Bordeaux appellation with world renowned red and white wines. Some of the world’s finest sweet wines are made in Sauternes.

• Blaye and Bourg: If you’re looking for high quality Merlot dominant red wines and also looking for a great bargain, then check out Blaye and Bourg.

• Saint-Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac: Saint-Émilion, a gorgeous medieval village, is an excellent choice for a vineyard excursion. Expect to find age worthy Merlot and Cabernet Franc blends on the region's clay-mixed soils.

• Entre-Deux-Mers: Between the Garonne and Dordogne rivers lies Entre-Deux-Mers - specialising in dry white wines, many of which are made from Sauvignon Blanc.

Best Wine Bars

• TUTIAC, the Winegrowers' Bistro: A cooperative, which groups together 15 Bordeaux appellations, presents the wines not by châteaux but according to their tastes: fruity, mineral, full-bodied.

TUTIAC, the Winegrowers' Bistro
TUTIAC, the Winegrowers' Bistro

• Au Bon JaJa: Recognisable by its pink neon sign, it has carefully selected wines from Bordeaux, especially from the Loire and Burgundy regions. Try fried organic eggs with grated truffle, herring with potatoes and olive oil, and creamy ‘galabart’ pudding.

• Le Bar à Vin: Established in an 18th-century building opposite the Grand Théâtre, it is entirely dedicated to Bordeaux wine and its many appellations.

• Vins Urbains: Offers a wide selection of 500 mainly French wines, 30% of which come from the Bordeaux region.

Best Wine Tours

• Wine Tasting and Tour at Château Balestard La Tonnelle in Saint Emilion, Bordeaux

• Bordeaux Full Day Tour: Wine Tastings & Lunch: Euro 175 per person

• Half-day guided wine tasting tour in Bordeaux: Euro 75 per person

• Wine Tasting at Plavinci Organic Winery

• Bordeaux VS Rioja Wine Tour: Starts at Euro 2,400 per person

• Visiting and experiencing the Château Haut-Goujon: half a bottle offered per visit

• Discover the wines of Bordeaux - History & Wine Walking Tour: Euro 95 per person

Best Under Euro 10 (according to Vineyards-Bordeaux)

• Bordeaux red wine: Domaine de Courteillac – Bordeaux Superieur.

• Bordeaux white wine: Chateau Milord: Bordeaux Superieu

• Bordeaux rosé: Le Mythe d’Amphorie by Despagne

Beyond the Wine Must-see/do

• Bassins de Lumières: Housed inside Bordeaux’s former submarine base, the Bassins de Lumières presents immersive light show exhibitions celebrating the works of great artists.

• Water Mirror: One of the emblems of the city, this 3,450 square metre water mirror designed by Micheal Corajoud alternates extraordinary effects of mirror and fog.

• Street Art: See street art all over the city: in Bassins à Flot district, Belcier district, Chartrons district, but also on the right river at the alternative ecosystem Darwin.

• Bordeaux Port de la Lune – World Heritage: This 3.6 km long route, labelled Tourisme & Handicaps, leads to 27 sites and monuments in Bordeaux both iconic and unknown, and is marked out on the ground by 275 bronze nails.

• Contemporary Art Museum: Located in a former warehouse, the CAPC has one of the richest permanent art collections in the country.

• Eat in one of the 11 Michelin-starred restraints in Bordeaux: La Table d’hôtes du Quatrième Mur*, Maison Nouvelle*, Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsay**, Ressources*, the Pavillon des Boulevards*, Soléna *, L’Oiseau Bleu*, Tentazioni*, L’Observatoire du Gabriel*, the Saint James* in Bouliac and Le Prince Noir* in Lormont (the asterisks denote the number of Michelin stars).

• Party the night away: la Table du B11 in Mérignac, La Dame, a barge in the Bassins à Flot, the Bourbon or The Base, the Black Diamond, the Intercontinental’s very chic private club and the Monseigneur, the oldest club in Bordeaux, and The Ultra Klubs, gay-friendly venue. Students meet on the Quai de Paludate at La Plage.

• Stay in Pessac Zoo: Relax in the Nordic baths and enjoy dinner while admiring the white tigers and jaguars through the immense bay windows that look out over their enclosure.

• Rue Sainte-Catherine: A 1.2 km long stretch with countless shops.

Good to know:

Getting there: By train: Bordeaux Saint-Jean train station (2 hours from Paris-Montparnasse)

Flight: Bordeaux-Mérignac airport: 52 destinations

Bus: Eurolines, FlixBus OUIBUS, Megabus.

Car: via A10 (Nantes-Bordeaux : 3h50), A63 (Toulouse-Bordeaux : 2h15), A63 (Bilbao-Bordeaux : 2h30), A89 (Lyon-Bordeaux : 6h30).

Bordeaux CityPass: Buy the Bordeaux CityPass available for 24, 48 or 72 consecutive hours. Includes entry to 20 museums and monuments, unlimited access to tram, bus, river shuttle, 1 guided tour and discounts on cruises, wine tours and more. Price: 24-hour pass: €34; 48-hour: €44; 72-hour: €50. A Junior pass is also available.

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