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This post by Wendy Narby is part of the 2014 Guest Bloggers Program.
Blog URL: http://www.insidertasting.com
Photo credits: Wendy Narby
If you are planning a visit to Bordeaux this year, here are a few ideas I’ll be suggesting to visitors.
Stay somewhere (very) different. I’m constantly suggesting lovely places to stay in and around Bordeaux on this blog but this year why not stay somewhere (very) different? I previously have posted about staying in tree houses and vats but if that is not cutting edge enough for you, try staying at Chateau La Romaningue in a bubble or even in a gypsy caravan.
Learn to cuisine like a chateau chef. More and more Chateaux are happy to open not just their cellar doors but also their kitchens where you can learn the secrets of Bordelais cuisine and food and wine matches at the source. Chateau Phelan Segur in Saint Estèphe, Chateau Gruaud Larose in Saint Julien and Chateau La Pointe in Pomerol all offer cooking classes and workshops followed by lunch to sample your success with a glass or two of the chateau wine. Lunch or dinner at Chateau La Lagune in their sumptuous kitchen is an opportunity to see Chef Catherine Negre at work. Check out some of the recipes here to whet your appetite or start practicing at home.
A table in the kitchens of Chateau La Lagune
Shop ‘til you drop. More and more Chateaux have great shops, selling not just wine and vinous paraphernalia but other cool gifts. In the Entre deux Mers, call in at Chateau Lestrille in Saint Germain du Puch to see owner Estelle Roumage’s eclectic selection of gifts and French specialities.
Shop at Chateau Lestrille
Just down the road in Grezillac at Chateau Ferret Lambert, Valerie Lambert has created a wonderful space showing various collectables and renovated French country furniture and bric à brac.
Look for treasures at Chateau Feret Lambert
You if like you can even stay for lunch, dinner or even overnight in one of her guest rooms. Chateau Biac is opening its new tasting room this year on a unique oriental theme as befits the Lebanese owner Youmna Asseily.
Get off the beaten track. Have you noticed that a lot of the above recommendations are in the Entre deux Mers? That leads me to my next suggestion. Yes the classified growths of the Medoc, Saint Emilion and Graves will always be on visitors wish lists but try and find the time to visit the lesser known appellations of Bordeaux: the Saint Emilion Satellites, the Côtes and the Entre deux Mers. Here you will find the smaller family owned properties where the owners and wine makers will be on hand, often with bed and breakfast and table d’hôtes to add to the welcome.
A cellar lunch at Domaine de Claouset in the Entre Deux Mers
Be a culture vulture. Bordeaux has some great museums and art galleries. If contemporary art is your thing, do not to miss the amazing Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez created by the Chateau owner in the centre of Bordeaux. Many chateaux use the summer months to not just show their wines to visitors but also to show-case up and coming artists. Chateau Kirwan, Chateau Palmer, Chateau d’Arsac, Chateau Paloumey, La Tour Bessan and Lynch Bages are some of the properties that welcome artists to their cellars each year.
An art installation in the cellars of Chateau Kirwan
Learn how Bordeaux works. There’s more to Bordeaux than just the Chateaux,. To understand how the wine gets to Market, visit a negociant. Cordier, and Millesima both offer great visits to discover how the ‘Place de Bordeaux’ works and on the banks of the Dordogne, a visit to Le Chai au Quai can show you a hands on wine making experience.
See you there soon.