Wine tourism in Bordeaux
France is probably the country with the most renowned wines in the world; among the areas where wine culture is most prominent, Bordeaux holds a dominant place on its own merits.
The region of Bordeaux
The wine region of Bordeaux is located in the Aquitaine, Southwest of the French territory.
The relevance of its wines is favored by exceptional geological and climatic conditions; with calcium-rich soils, the Gironde estuary and the Garonne and Dordogne rivers irrigate the land and provide sufficient water for the growth of the grapevines.
We can distinguish three wine regions:
- The right bank of the Dordogne river, in the surrounding areas of the city of Libourne
- Entre Deux Mers, the central region, in the middle of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers
- The left bank of the Garonne river, subdivided, in turn, in the Graves region, to the north of Bordeaux, and Medoc, to the south of this city.
The wines and grapes of Bordeaux
With more than 270.000 acres of vineyards, Bordeaux is the second region of France with the greatest number of vines, and more than 9,000 wine cellars (Chateaux).
The production of Bordeaux wines is more than 700 million bottles per year.
These magnitudes cause the Bordeaux wines to have a wide range of varieties, from modest table wines to some of the most renowned and expensive wines in the international scene.
Generally, a mixture of grapes is used for the production of wines: for reds, some of the most noteworthy are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, while for the whites, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle prevail.
The classification of the Bordeaux wines originated in 1855, when the City Chamber of Commerce made a classification based on criteria such as sales, consumption or quality:
Grand Crus 1855
These are wines produced in prestigious wineries, either for their recognition or for the price reached in the market, such as Médoc reds or liqueur whites from Sauternes.
Grand Crus de Graves
These are only 16 wines that belong to Chateaux of the Pessac-Léognan Designation of Origin
Grand Crus de Saint-Émilion
This area has 82 wines exclusively, grouped under the Saint-Émilion Designation of Origin umbrella and reviewed periodically to determine exclusions and inclusions in the list
Under this name we will find red wines produced in the wine-making region of Médoc
These wines are produced in small Chateaux in the Médoc region, in which the vineyard extension should not exceed 12,5 acres.
Some wine tourism activities in Bordeaux
This Bordeaux region, like the rest of the country, offers endless wine tourism activities from wine tastings and sampling of other products like cheese or pâtés to cultural visits.
One option of special interest for the wine tourist in Bordeaux is to visit some of the most imposing Chateaux in the region; the so-called Route des Chateaux (highway D2) offers the traveler a world of aristocratic bearing where the traditional architecture of the French castle-wineries can be admired.
The Bordeaux experience can be complemented with relaxing swims in the nearby beaches, hiking, bicycle riding or a cultural visit to the capital of the region: the amazing city of Bordeaux.