There is one name in the world of fine wine that is hallowed the world over. This revered wine region has influenced almost the entirety of New World wines, and sets the standard for what is considered “fine wine”. It is, of course – Bordeaux.
Bordeaux is a vibrant, stylish, and innovative wine capital. This stunning region gifts you the most perfect venues and vistas for your Bordeaux wine tours; guaranteed to enhance your enjoyment and love of Bordeaux wine forever.
Once you arrive in Bordeaux and start to explore, you will be left in no doubt why UNESCO blessed this world-class city.
A perfect example of the blend of ancient and contemporary on offer in the city of Bordeaux is found in the elegant symmetry of the grand Place de la Bourse, which is gracefully juxtaposed and reflected within with the miroir-d’eau (water mirror). A must visit.
In Bordeaux you can visit absorbing museums, relax within charming squares and parks, and shop in high fashion boutiques. Or perhaps you might like to climb the 229 steps of the flamboyantly gothic Pey-Berland tower to enjoy glorious panoramic views of the city.
There are many ways to explore Bordeaux – each giving a different experience and unique memories for a lifetime:
On foot – to take in every little exquisitely French detail, as you traverse the cobbles of the atmospheric historical centre;
Via the historically important river Garonne – to meander past and take in the city from a different vantage point;
Or perhaps zip around easily and efficiently using the modern tram system, to see as much of the city as possible.
However you choose to spend your time, Bordeaux will seduce you with its beauty and magnetic vibe.
And if you carefully plan your visit and Bordeaux wine tours for the right time in June, you will be able to attend Bordeaux’s world-renowned Wine or River festivals (they alternate each year).
Bordeaux is the native home of grapes renowned the world over
Bordeaux is a gateway to the most famous vineyards in the world and enjoys the distinction of being the largest “appellation d’origine controlee” (AOC) vineyard of France. The term means “controlled designation of origin” in French. AOCs are regions whose grapes are expected to reflect similar terroir in their subsequent wines (terroir = unique qualities the soil and climate impart onto the grapes, in other words, the “soul” of the grapes and the wine). The Bordeaux vineyards offer a great diversity of terroirs.
Bordeaux wine is truly democratic, with offerings for every wine lover: be that amongst the most expensive bottles the world has ever seen, or presenting great value for money with more reasonable, everyday drinking, bottles.
Most people immediately associate Bordeaux with its classic aged red wines – powerful, silky and full-bodied. But Bordeaux also offers wines in varied colours: white, red, rosé, and clairet (particular to Bordeaux, full-bodied and deep coloured rosé); and types: still and sparkling, dry and sweet, powerfully tannic and elegantly smooth.
Bordeaux is the native home of grapes renowned the world over, most notably Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc. Red wines in Bordeaux are blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and/or Cabernet Franc; and the Bordeaux whites are Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
Geographic factors and the styles produced are what define the ‘six families’ of Bordeaux wines. Of course, a wine or an appellation can still be outstanding, even if not part of these classifications – and here is where the fun of exploring Bordeaux is found, on a discovery tasting tour.
Prepare to be surprised and delighted on a vineyards tour, where you will learn about and taste many different Bordeaux wines. Cruises, tailor-made tours, and hands-on workshops will add that memorably magic touch to your trip. Within the city you will find the Cité du Vin museum – a true temple dedicated to wine which is an immersive museum experience, and not to be missed.
Most people also associate Bordeaux with its quintessentially French, and utterly exquisite, array of Chateaux. The wine tours and tastings on offer in the Bordeaux Chateaux are experiences that will hold a special place in your memory. Memories that will be fondly recalled every time Bordeaux wines pass your lips over the many years to follow.
Wine and Chateaux aside, there is plenty to keep you busy in Bordeaux and the Gironde region: 180 kilometres of beaches, thousands of hectares of woodland to roam, hundreds of rambling paths and beautiful spots to discover.
Some specific ideas to inspire your Bordeaux adventures are: the Gironde estuary and the Cordouan lighthouse in the Medoc area; the colourful seaside resorts along the ocean; the Bassin d’Arcachon and Cap Ferret, centres for oyster farming and natural home for birds; Blaye, on the right bank of the Gironde estuary (on the Unesco World Heritage list since 2008); and last, but certainly not least, Saint Emilion, an enchanting medieval town perched on a hillside, overlooking its reputed vineyards (also Unesco World Heritage listed).
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CEO at Millesima
Millesima is a family company oriented on providing customers with high end wines, top service and expert wine knowledge.
Founded in 1983 , Millesima transformed into Europe’s leading fine wine mail order merchant and has continued to develop into a top online retailer and beyond. Fabrice Bernard leads the company in Bordeaux.
The company’s aim is the same as when it was founded: to bring some of the world’s greatest wines directly from the Chateaux to wine lovers around the world.
Welcome to the Bordeaux decade!
Leading towards a European metropolis
The Bordeaux Region attracts:
- In 10 years, the population of the Aquitaine has risen by nearly 10%, reaching a total of 3.3 million residents.
- The Bordeaux conurbation, with 850,000 residents today, has also seen a large increase in population.
Bordeaux among the top French cities
“Bordeaux instead of Paris” read the headline in the New York Times on 1st October 2013. At national level, the city frequently finishes among the front runners in the list of cities considered to be attractive, “business friendly” or “good places to live” … these rankings attest to the dynamics of a city which is among those creating the most jobs.
Euratlantique is one of the largest urban projects in France: 738 hectares, 3 municipalities involved, more than 5 billion euros of investment, 25,000 jobs planned in the tertiary sector. Capitalising on the arrival of the high-speed train link in 2017 and the extension of the St Jean train station, this new neighbourhood will receive its first new services in 2016 in the shape of the new MECA (Center for the Creative Economy and Culture of Aquitaine) building and the Headquarters of a savings bank, the Caisse d’Épargne.
Bordeaux is clearly growing, and wants to remain a learning city. With the “campus of excellence” accreditation, the University of Bordeaux has recorded a steady increase in student numbers. Its goal? To be included among the major European universities.
This constant interaction with volatile weather means producers are attuned to the changes and evolution in climate. Recent vintages have seen an increase in average temperatures, in climate variability and a change in rainfall, resulting in a more pronounced vintage effect.
Although the climate change effects are currently still favorable for the quality of Bordeaux wines, the perspective of the temperature rising 1° or 2°C could have a substantial impact on their style.
Bordeaux has had a proactive rather than reactive response to these challenges. The CIVB (Conseil Interprofessional de Bordeaux or Bordeaux Wine Council) is investing €1.2m annually in on-going research by 200 researchers in over 20 public laboratories.
Perhaps the most newsworthy innovation has been adapting plant material. Traditionally AOC wines in Bordeaux were limited to six main red grape varieties and up to eight white grape varieties, already offering growers a catalogue of grape varieties with different growing cycles and ripeness spread over time.
Bordeaux was the first French vineyard to include new grape varieties into its AOC specifications. As this is still experimental, to retain the AOC growers are limited to planting just 5% of their vineyards with these grape varieties and they must represent no more than 10% of the final blend for each color.
- Video: Château de Roquefort
- Wines: Château Castera
- Wine tourism: Château de Candale
- Internships: Château Marquis de Terme