The Wine Country of Bordeaux

French wine country of Bordeaux. The wine of this region carry the name of the port of Bordeaux and is a personification of what red wine is about. Bordeaux is a first class trade name for quality and prestige. The Bordeaux region is one of the most interesting of the world wine region. One cannot denied the specifity and uniqueness of its soil adding the value of his wine for which without hesitation one would give few more Euros.

1. Day: Arrival to Bordeaux

Morning transfer with the coach to Venice for our flight. Then transfer to our hotel (3*). This charming 19th century hotel is situated in the very center of Bordeaux closed to the grand theatre. The rooms are comfortable and large. Nearby are the banks of Bordeaux for nice promenade looking at the gardens and enlightened façades.

Free time for dinner (not included)  

2. Day: Bordeaux "gourmet"

After breakfast, you are invited to discover the specialties of Bordeaux, city which is classified as world patrimony by UNESCO from June 2007.

 Bordeaux is well known for its rich architectural inheritance and its exceptional quality of life. Its historical center presents an extraordinary urban and architectural scheme created at the time of the enlightenment and second to Paris, the city with the highest number of protected buildings.

For 2000 years, this area was a center of exchange of influences, especially from the XII century on when the city tightened bond with Great Bretagne and Holland.

In the beginning of the XVIII century, the town develops into becoming an example of classical and neo-classical architectural tendencies. Its town planning reflected the ideal of the philosopher of that time, a melting pot of humanism, universality and culture.

We will discover the city in two groups with stops at local’s producers for local’s delicious specialty of the region:

-          Degustation of "cannelés", local pastry mellow inside, crunchy outside.
-          Wine degustation in a wine bar of Bordeaux
-          Lunch at ‘’ bistrot des Négociants ‘’.  Well situated in the XVIII c. Bordeaux in front of the Girondins’s column, the restaurant is in an Art Deco style. The refined cuisine put in value the freshness of the market goods.

In the afternoon visit of the Museum of Wine and Wine Trade. The Museum presents a collection of historical objects enhanced with modern scenography and combined with the use of new technologies.

To enter into the world of wine is also to appreciate it, to observe it and…. to taste it! Thus, each visit is complimented with a commented wine tasting session of two merchant wines.

Free time for dinner. Night in our hotel in Bordeaux

3. Day: Vineyards of Graves and Sauternais

After breakfast, departure for the vineyards of Graves at the south left bank of the Garonne River. There is the most ancient vineyard of Bordeaux, planted near 2000 years ago.

The Graves are like a belt of vineyard encircling the city and certain prestigious cru, the chateau Haut Brion for instance find themselves enclosed in the urban system.

The Vineyards of Graves spread along the valley of the Garonne for about 30 kilometers and are protected by the Landes pine forest. The most famous wine growers and the nearest to Bordeaux regroup themselves under the ‘’Pessac Leognan’’ appellation producing magnificent white dry and red wines. The most known appellations already active in the Gallo-roman period are the Chateau Haut Brion ( 1st grand cru classified in 1855), Pope Clement, le Domaine de Chevalier, as well the Chateau Carbonnieux, Smith Haut Lafitte or Haut Bailly.

Some of the domain are very old as the Chateau Olivier, founded in the 12 century.

One of the most known winegrowers of the region is without doubt Montesquieu. The Chateau de La Brede belonged to his family and there, this winegrower philosopher and mayor of Bordeaux wrote most of his work.

South of the Graves, there is a little enclave composed of only 5 communes, famous for its name, the wines of Sauternes. Sauternes is made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes that have been affected by Botrytis cinerea, also known as noble rot. This causes the grapes to become partially raisined, resulting in concentrated and distinctively flavored wines.

During the day, we propose a visit with degustation in a Grand Cru classified Pessac Leognan and a Crand Cru classe Sauternes, with a lunch as well in a restaurant of the vineyard.

We shall return to Bordeaux in the afternoon. Free time for dinner

4. Day: The Bay of Arcachon

Depart for the day to the Bay of Arcachon across the countryside of the Landes pine forest to discover an intact 250km2 of nature.

We shall have a stop into the village of Gujan Mestras, the oyster capital. There, we propose to have a degustation of oysters with a glass of white wine.

Then we shall continue towards the mighty sand Dune du Pilat, referred to as the largest sand dune in Europe at more than 105 metres high and approximately 2km in length. From its top an extraordinary panoram over the forest, the dune and the ocean.

Next stop for a lunch in front of the sea.

In the afternoon, in the heart of Arcachon we will take a boat called a pinasse, typical embarkation of the region for an excursion towards the bird’s island and the typical houses on pile. Many colonies of birds are to be seen in this protected natural area.

In mid afternoon, back to the port and discovery of the ‘’winter town’’ of Arcachon, one of the first seaside resort dating from the 19 c. with beautiful art deco villas.

Back in Bordeaux in the end of the afternoon. Free time for dinner 

5. Day: Free morning, afternoon at the Entre-Deux-Mers region

Optional offer: les Sources de Caudalie, a spa offering grape-based therapies (last 4h)

Relaxing morning at the spa with a packet of 4 different cares  (take notice that the number of persons is limited): Barrique bath or red vine bath (30minutes), Merlot wrapping up30 minutes, body massage care (30 minutes) et face care (1 hour). ….a delightful moment in an exceptional atmosphere!

At this unique Vinotherapy spa in the world, we combine spring water, drawn from 540 meters under our vineyards, with pure vine and grape extracts. Exclusive essentials oils developed by Caudalie contribute to the benefits of our relaxing and anti-aging treatments.

You may enjoy in the Turkish bath, thermal bath with jets stream or relaxation rooms sipping red vines teas.

You may also choose to have your lunch there (not included)

In the afternoon departure for the prestigious vineyard of Bordeaux, Entre-deux-Mers. The Entre Deux Mers means literally "between two seas" and is so called because it's sandwiched between the tidal waters of the Rivers Dordogne and Garonne. The area is responsible for ¾ of the wine sold under the Bordeaux AOC or Bordeaux Superior labels.

The vineyards lie on clay-limestone soils and are distinguished by a thirst-quenching freshness and aromas of citrus, yellow flowers and exotic fruits such as melon and passion fruit. The predominant grape variety is Sauvignon Blanc but Semillon and Muscadelle are sometimes used to add structure and depth.

Wine production in the Entre Deux Mers dates back to Gallo Roman times but owes its development to the Benedictine Monks in 11.century. The monks in the monasteries enlarged the vineyard areas, worked at improving the cultural methods and assured the fame of their vintages whilst also insuring the growth of their wealth.

During the afternoon, visit with degustation of an Entre-Deux-Mers vineyard followed by the sightseeing of the Benedictine abbey of La Sauve Majeure.

Back to our hotel in Bordeaux in the end of the afternoon.

6. day : Cognac

Today we shall follow the winding river Charente to come to the beautiful region of Cognac After crossing the river by boat we reach the ‘’Quais de Hennessy’’ to discover with the use of modern techniques the specificities and history of the Hennessey Cognac. Back to the left bank of the Charentes degustation of a glass of cognac at the Hennessy House.

Free time for lunch

Afternoon, visit of the Museum of Art of Cognac, like  no one in France, situated near the quay of the Charente, it is completely dedicated to the Cognac and its history.

Visit at your own pace before our return to Bordeaux.

7. Day: Vineyard regions of Blaye, Bourg and Médoc

Morning drive towards the North to the wine region of Blaye and Bourge for two degustations before lunch.

In the afternoon, we shall cross with the ferry the river estuary of the Dordogne River to reach the wine region of Medoc.

Médoc is a triangular peninsula northwest of Bordeaux near the ocean. 20% of the peninsula is covered with vines and the rest is pine forests. The main types of wine here are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, less known are Malbec, petit Verdot....

Six village cru have the Medoc appellation and from the Medoc wine road. Those are: Margaux, Moulis, Listrac, Saint Julien, Pauillac and Saint Estephe,

In here are the 1st five Premiers Grand Cru from 1855 (châteaux Margaux, Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite Rothschild), but also 1200 win yards from the artisans cru to the Grand cru Classes without forgetting the cru Bourgeois. The knowhow and technology are different but the quality none less is the supreme goal.

We shall not leave the region without a degustation in one of the domain for a glass Grand Cru classé Margaux (Château Kirwan, Brane Cantenac, Giscours, du Tertre…) 

8. Day: St. Emilion between ‘’ wine and stone’’

In estate of Saint Emilion on the first of May, we have the incredible chance of a day of festivities with ‘’open doors.’’

Already in antique time, the vineyard was famous for its quality and celebrated by the Latin poet Ausone. In 1999, it was listed World heritage site by UNESCO.

St Emilion is on the pilgrimage Route of Santiago de Compostella and for that raison there are many churches, monasteries and hospices around. The landscape is covered with vineyard and the villages are rich of historic monuments.

Guided visit of the main underground monuments of the picturesque Saint Emilion: the hermitage is in a natural cave and was the home of the monk Emilion, the chapel of the Trinity build in its honor is a beautiful testimony of 13th century architecture with remarkable frescoes and the exceptional monolithic church with catacombs carved in the limestone between the 9th and 11th centuries, it is the largest in Europe, 38m broad.

Free time for lunch in the heart of Saint Emilion.

We shall regroup in the afternoon by 14th century cloister, ‘’le cloitre des cordeliers’’. In 1892, it already produced a sparkling wine made by traditional method. With the same know how from 1990, it develop, ‘’le cremant de Bordeaux’’ in the underground caves in complete darkness and a constant temperature of 14 degrees Celsius.

Free visit of the caves. Follow a degustation of the cremant together with some local specialty.

Back to Bordeaux to prepare ourselves for our farewell dinner to the estate of the Chateau du Taillan, 11 km from Bordeaux in Medoc. Dinner with the owner of the estate.

Return to the hotel at 11:45 p.m.

9. day: Last day

Transfer to the airport for our flight. We leave Bordeaux filled with beautiful memories and new knowledge. 

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