Thorsten proposed to me on a vineyard. We thought it was only appropriate to have our first year anniversary be a wine trip. We packed up and set off to explore Bordeaux and Rioja region (and squeezing in Barcelona, Madrid, and San Sebastian on the way).
Bordeaux was definitely one of the highlights. As a quick summary of our itinerary:
- Day 1: Arrive + dinner
- Day 2: Left bank — Médoc region
- Day 3: Right bank — Saint-Émilion region + Bordeaux city
DAY 1: ARRIVE + DINNER
After driving from Barcelona thru the Pyrénées, we arrive in the evening at Le Clos de Meyre, a vineyard bed and breakfast. The accommodations were basic, but the ambiance and location was perfect.
We found a nearby local restaurant to enjoy a savory meal. Be prepared to spend some time and let your wine air at dinner. We took around 2 and a half hours to enjoy this meal. Yet, everyone who was there at the beginning of our meal was still there when we left. We concluded the locals have a good life here. 🙂
DAY 2: LEFT BANK — MÉDOC REGION
Visiting the Bordeaux region, we realized how connected viticulture is to geography. This region is separated by 2 rivers. A typical blend from the left bank composes of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Merlot. Whereas, the right bank wines is dominated by a blend of 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.
We focused on the left bank on this day. To kick off, we toured the château we stayed at and had a tasting of their wine: Château Meyre.
Next, we drove through the region to soak up the scenery and stop by some well known wineries. You can take a tour bus if you wish, but we tend to avoid crowds when possible. So, we booked our own tastings at the individual vineyards instead.
We enjoyed the Château Lynch-Bages tour very much. You get to see the old way of making wine as well as tour their more modern facilities. Plus, right next to the château, there are shops where you can get pastries and other snacks. We are more than happy to vouch for the pastries.
We wrapped up the day with dinner at Le Savoie in their nice outdoor garden area. Although the lighting was not great (hence not much pictures), the setting was a delight.
DAY 3: RIGHT BANK — SAINT ÉMILION REGION + BORDEAUX CITY
We started the day by visiting Château Fonplegade on the right bank. The winery was a nice mixture of modern facilities with a classic look. In the shop, they had a fun wine aroma kit that they let you test your senses with. We are embarrassed to admit that we only got one right out of five tries. When you step out of the main building, you can stop by a fountain nestled in the vines on the map for Camino de Santiago.
Next, we checked out the quaint town of Saint Émilion itself. Here, you can meander your way on cobblestone roads to the top for a great view. Along the way, you can stop in wine shops to further stock up and bakeries to pick up pastries and macaroons. We stopped at one of the restaurants on top of the hill to grab lunch and then proceeded to the city of Bordeaux.
Afterwards, we enjoyed spending the evening wondering the streets of Bordeaux, checking out the gothic and baroque architecture and relaxing on the waterfront.
On our way back, we stopped in a local grocery store to pick up some essentials to top off our Bordeaux wine trip with a relaxing dinner in the courtyard.
FOR NEXT TIME
If you are thinking about this trip, be sure to reserve some of the more exclusive châteaux tours in advance. Because we did not this time, we missed out on quiet a deal to taste wines such as Latour, Mouton, Lafite, and Margaux at 10–15 euros at the time.
Winery for taste profile: On the left bank, there is a modern wine shop with a sculpture garden and a cute restaurant on site. They also holds wine taste profiling sessions that looked really fun. Unfortunately, they were all booked for the English sessions when we went. If you are interested, I recommend booking at least a week in advance to be safe.