Monthly Archives: May 2009

Discover Bordeaux this summer – lesser known Bordeaux !

Stay in the south of the left bank in the heart of the sweet white wine area. Château d’Arche is a lovely Château hotel and a working vineyard on a hillside next to Yquem. Unsure of which foods to serve with sweet white they will organize a cooking class or food and wine dinner for you and all will be revealed. Contact Nicole Hampton:

Pessac Leognan
Château Smith Haut Lafitte is the ultimate wine resort. The Château opens for visits and has a fabulous hotel with 2 excellent restaurants in the grounds. It is also home to ‘Les Sources de Caudalie’ the original wine spa. Drink the wine and bath in it!
Contact the owner, Florence Cathiard:

Cotes Region
Blaye – Chateau La Rose Bellevue, 5 Les Mourriers, 33820 Saint-Palais. Secret garden offering food and wine matching and picnics and in 2008 there were tastings on a boat. 2009 winner of Best of Wine Tourism Awards,

Entre Deux Mers.

Cycle through the vines on the old railroad track that leads from almost down town Bordeaux out into the lovely countryside of this region past Abbeys and Châteaux. Rent a bicycle from Creon especially on a Wednesday when the arcaded centre of this old medieval town is taken over by a farmers market where you can stock up for a picnic along the way. Bicycles as of € 15 a day.

Stay in one of the guest apartments at Château de Sours a beautiful working vineyard
Contact Martin Krajewski

How to get around
You don’t fancy driving so you can enjoy the tastings – a wise move

See what the Bordeaux tourist office has to offer as arranged wine tours for the day leaving from down town to visit different parts of the region and the vineyards : contact :

Discover Bordeaux this summer – the right bank

Saint Emilion (East of Bordeaux )
Almost as well known of the Medoc is the beautiful medieval town of Saint Emilion to the East. History and wine as well as beautiful landscapes.

Hostellerie de Plaisance is a Relais château in the centre of this medieval town. It has been recently renovated with a 2 star Michelin restaurant. Chef Philippe Etchebest is young and delightful. Owner Gerard Perse also owns Château Pavie and Monbousquet

Château Franc Mayne has been converted into a boutique hotel with each room being funkier than the previous one. You can contact the owner directly, she also owns 2 other properties in the area: Griet Laviale,

La Poudette Restaurant , 1 Bernadigot, 33350 Pujols, serves fantastic regional specialities
Tel : 05 57 40 71 52, email

Château Petit Villages can be found next door in Pomerol. It does not have rooms but is an ultra modern winery, a real change amongst all the old world properties, with a lovely dining room for groups. Lori Julia, their American hostess, does terrific visits for the public.

The fabulous modern cellars of Petit Villages

Should you fancy living like a local how about renting a house
Sharon Harris rents out a super 4 en suite bedroom house with a pool in Saint Emilion or contact Marilyn Clegg whose beautiful home between St Emilion and Castillon has several different rental options contact :

FRONSAC A relatively unknown region of Bordeaux with some of the most beautiful hillsides overlooking the Dordogne.

One of the most imposing Château open to the public is Château La Rivière contact : Maïté BELLOUMEAU-DUPUY Not only can you visit the winery, taste the wines and see the spectacular underground caves but also spend the night in one of the 5 guest rooms.

Discover Bordeaux this summer part 2

Fancy a new spin on an old skill? Visit La winery – visitors can take part in a tasting test to find out their individual ‘wine sign’ pointing out which wine(s) suits your palate and lifestyle best. Their wine experts can then devise a wine portfolio with suggestions of wine styles and even particular wines that the individual would enjoy. Their on-site international wine shop with bar is a great place to sample or buy these wines or just enjoy browsing, amongst unusual pieces from local artists. And you can take in lunch or dinner at their on-site restaurant.

Château de Malleret – For a more laid back visit contact Bruno Van Der Heyden at this beautiful old estate with rooms for groups and tree houses where you can spend the night. For the tree houses contact: Prune Gouet –

Haut Médoc
One of the tree housezs at Château Malleret

Chateau d’Agassac won a National competition for its architecture, parks and gardens Visits are offered in French and English by appointment (from 1st June to September 30: Tuesday to Saturday between 10.30 and 6.30 and from October 1st to May 31st, Monday to Friday). Wine tastings are offered, including tastings with chocolate, and there are adventure trails for children to ‘find the chateau princess’ and more.

Château La Lagune is an amazing property and has recently been beautifully renovated. It has a few guest rooms which can be rented, with the most fabulous kitchens where you can dine courtesy of the private chef. Caroline Frey is the young owner and wine-maker. Both Caroline and the property are very photogenic!

Discover Bordeaux this summer

It is no longer a secret that Bordeaux is now become a top weekend break destination thanks to the renovating of the city under the impetus of Major Alain Juppé. What is less well known is that the surrounding area has also profited from this wind of change.

The wines of Bordeaux have never been so accessible either by price, style or through the cellar door. Just check out the 100 Everyday Bordeaux wines on the site

What was previous considered as a closed door policy by the properties of Bordeaux is no longer the case : yes most places would prefer if you called to book a visit but it is a small price to pay to open the doors to some of these estates – both great and small.

Bordeaux is by far the largest French wine region, 5 five the size of Burgundy and Beaujolais and as such offers a range of styles of wine, properties and landscapes to suit everyone’s tastes and wallet. There are over almost 10 000 producers to get to know.

Discover the diversity
Bordeaux divides itself into 6 styles of wine each one reflecting the geographical characteristics of the regions.

The Medoc (North of Bordeaux)
The most famous area of Bordeaux is probably the Medoc this stretch of land, a peninsular between the Atlantic coast and the Gironde estuary owes its fame to a classification of the wines dating back to 1855.

It takes about 90 minutes on a straight line to reach the top but the places to explore on the way will definitely slow you down. Driving up the D2 ‘La Route des Châteaux’ is like driving through a restaurant wine list the famous names and beautiful buildings dotted amongst lesser known producers.

‘Villages de Bages’ near Pauillac
Pauillac is a sleepy water front town on the estuary and one of the famous classic wine ‘appellations’ in the north-west of the region. Just before the town stop off at the Village of Bages ( to see what the Cazes family (Chateau Lynch-Bages) are doing here. They have established a Hotel and Michelin star restaurant, Cordeillan-Bages, in this pretty village, as well as Café Lavinal and the Bazaar Bages boutique full of wine paraphernalia. Chateau Lynch Bages is open to visitors to see the old and the new approach to wine making and taste their powerful wines. The Cazes family owns their own travel company running fabulous wine tours and themed holidays which make use of all their products and properties including Château Les Ormes de Pez ( which is a very up market B&B or can be rented as a whole home. Contact Mary Dardenne for enquiries and bookings:

Even further North at Saint Yzans de Medoc right on the Estuary is the picturesque ‘Pink Château’ Château Loudenne, whose lovely guest rooms overlook the water. Loudenne offers a romantic weekend for 2 including a cellar visit, lunch or dinner and bed and breakfast for €280 contact

Many of the Château in the Medoc are delighted to welcome the public to see how the vines are grown, wines are made and aged and of course to taste the result of all the hard work.
There are three new tasting rooms open to the public:

Château Lagrange ,

Château Kirwan ,
Contact :

• Château Rauzan Gassies,
Contact :

More ideas tomorrow………….