Bordeaux is quite simply the most famous wine region in the world. It is astoundingly packed full of thousands of wine estates and is home to some of the most sought after wines on the planet – from the likes of Yquem in Sauternes to Pétrus in Pomerol and Angélus in Saint-Émilion. These world renowned châteaux and their lesser known counterparts eagerly fling open their doors to visitors every year
Saint Emilion region – the right bank (30 minutes)
A two thousand year relationship between man and vine awaits you at Saint-Émilion. The exquisite Pomerol and equally satisfying Saint-Émilion appellations are the superstars of the right bank while there are also some delightful surprises in nearby Fronsac and Cote de Castillon. The area’s exceptional wines are due to the great diversity of its terroirs . Many magnificent chateaux are open to the public; a highlight for quite a few of our previous guests! On the last weekend of April / beginning of May a number of private chateaux open their doors as part of the “portes ouvertes” (open doors) drive initiated by the tourist board. A perfect time to make your booking with us. If April is no good, then visit us in June for the fabulous Festival Printemp (Spring Festival) or in September, just in time for the Fête des vendanges (Vintage Festival) during which time the members of the Jurade (the appellation’s vinous brotherhood ) parade through town in their traditional, crimson robes reminiscent of the all-powerful aldermen of centuries past
The Medoc region – the left bank (90 min, 40 min of which is a scenic ferry trip)
On the left bank of the Gironde estuary is the Medoc area with some of the world’s most renowned appellations, Pauillac and Margaux to name but a few. While the left bank is home to countless great châteaux (and rather unattractive scenery in between), the right bank is about the gorgeous surroundings and more humble wineries. This is where you will find many of the famed “Garagistes” – Garage wines. These include examples such as Le Pin in Pomerol for that single, traditional French experience
Entre-Deux-Mers (40 minutes) & further South
If your preference is white then head towards the Entre-deux-mers area near Libourne, known for its crisp, medium-bodied white wines. This area also produces the famous Clairet, an attractive combination of both red and white wines. The Graves region to the South is the birthplace of Bordeaux wines. The whites here are dry, crisp with an impressive bouquet. Slightly further is the Sauternes and Barsac appellations with rounded hills that slope gently down to the Ciron river. The rich nectar from late-harvest grapes has a particularly intense sweetness and depth of flavour
Bergerac region (1 hour)
Massively overshadowed by Bordeaux, its neighbour to the west, the Bergerac wine region has a few star performers of its own. The regions of Monbazillac and Saussignac are well known for its sweet, white wines while the Montravel dry whites are equally popular. It has been said by a few wine merchants, that Bergerac wine is extremely hard to flog. Be that as it may….a drive to this stunning countryside and a visit to a few of the many local châteaux may leave you pleasantly surprised
Whether it is Bordeaux, Saint-Émilion or Bergerac; visiting a wine estate is an enriching experience. Walking through the vineyard while listening to the winegrower will enable you to become acquainted with viticultural methods, while a tour of the vat room and barrel cellar, followed by tutored testing, will provide a rare opportunity to discuss the art of wine making with your host.
Cognac region (between 20 min and an hour to Cognac itself)
Experience the passion of the women and men who develop and raise the cognac in their exceptional terroir, rich in history and gastronomy alike. A twenty mile area called the “golden circle” of cognac production encompasses Cognac and the second distilling town of Jarnac. It is here that the fabled nectar has been created since the 17th century and that the very air one breathes is permeated by the heavy scent of spirits evaporating from oak casks held in storage: this aroma is referred to as the “angels’ share”. World famous firms such as Camus, Hennessy, Rémy-Martin and Courvoisier are located here. Take a barge down the river or a small train through the vines and discover the history of cognac, its vineyards, distilleries and museums which show, not only how this spirits is made, but proudly display the oldest reserve of cognacs.
Distilleries scattered around us, the nearest of which is a 10 minute drive
It is said that peasant Saintonge accidentally dropped grapes in a barrel containing brandy. The barrel was forgotten in his basement. After a few years Saintonge was pleasantly surprised to discover in the barrel, an amber liquid with a delicate fragrance and a sweet taste. The rest, as they say, is history. The tipple loved by locals, who have been seen to sip away the morning hours at the local Tabac/bar. We think it is best consumed at sundown as that all important aperitif, but it is equally delicious with melon and cured meats as an authentic starter of the region. Many of the Pineau producers in the area distill their own Cognac and produce their own wine.