One of the foremost wine regions in the world and home to 5 first growth premiere cru's including Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild and Chateau Latour.
There is definitely a long and interesting wine history in this region and certainly alot to learn here, with five Bordeaux wine classifications, with each classification having sub-classifications, different rules and regulations, unique labelling, opportunities for reclassification and a whole lot more!!
There are also a number of different appellations within the region, with different terroir, sub-climates, winemaking techniques and philosophies all of which produces an amazing variety of wines, with Bordeaux being the largest AOC vineyard of France.
The city of Bordeaux itself is the centre of the region and is a beautiful city with magnificent architecture situated on the banks of the Garonne river. Must visits when in the city are the botanic gardens and the farmers markets, where you can try their famous canelé cakes (a caramalised crust cake in the shape of a mould). These cakes were actually created as a by product of the wine industry, in that they were developed to use the egg yolks left over from the whites that were used for fining the wine. The other local delicacy that you have to try at the market is freshly shucked oysters and wine.
On a nice sunny day it was great to sit at one of the market stall tables and have oysters and wine followed by a canelé while watching the water flow down the huge Garonne River.
There are also a number of beautiful villages within Bordeaux, including St Emilion, home to beautiful wine and macaroons, Pauillac, home to some of the most famous Chateaux in Bordeaux and Labarde, home to one of our favourite little restaurants in the region, La Gare Gourmande.
When planning a trip and travelling in the region, there are a few things that we have learnt to be aware of, including, most restaurants are closed on weekends, many Chateaux are closed on weekends, many Chateaux aren't open to public visits with out pre-arranging a tasting and/or tour, many petrol stations are closed on weekends and while there are some 24 hour self serve stations, we found that our international credit card did not work in most of the machines and finally, the small streets are very busy during the week between 8:30am and 9am for school drop off!
This is definitely one of the most beautiful wine regions we have been to in the world and all of the tours we have done have been a little bit different, making for a very enjoyable and educational experience. Be sure to allow some time to just drive/wander around and take in the amazing architecture and history of this region, which is spectacularly beautiful and somewhere I suspect we will be returning to again and again!