We are back from Bordeaux where we had an amazing experience ! Come join us…
Marie Kaposchyn and Harsha Chacko, partners of Bonne Cuvée Wine Tours, after visiting Bordeaux numerous times, created an itinerary that provided the foundation for understanding this historic wine region. The plan was to select wineries and attractions in the various sub-regions that would make the days fresh, exciting, and full, yet maintaining a comfortable pace. There were so many surprises and great moments but here is a compact recap of the journey….
We started our educational tour with a wine seminar. First in a private meeting room with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres (including the very famous Jambon de Bayonne!) for a meet and greet, followed by the workshop and introduction to Bordeaux. We finished the evening with a delightful dinner featuring typical dishes and wines of the Gironde region. For desert we were served Bordeaux’s famous Canelés, the best in the city according to our group’s dessert aficionados!
An important aspect of the planning would be our participant’s comfort. We wanted to use one luxury hotel as a base for the entire week, so we could leave each morning refreshed after a good breakfast, no packing and unpacking all the time. Our very professional and amiable driver, Yann, picked us up every day in a luxurious and spacious Mercedes limo van and drove us to all our visits comfortably and on time. We had a full schedule each day, two in-depth winery visits with a locally flavored delicious lunch in between. It was important to get to know the different wine appellations on the Right and Left Banks of Bordeaux including Pauillac, Margaux, Pessac-Léognan, Sauternes, Pomerol and Canon Fronsac.
Our first day included more education on Bordeaux viticulture and wine tasting at Bernard Magrez’ Wine Academy, Les Clés du Vin at Chateau Pape Clément (Grand Cru Classé). In our in-depth visit at this Chateau, we learned that it had its first harvest in 1252 and is perhaps the only winery owned by a Pope! (Pope Clément, the owner, was Pope in 1305). We tasted eight wines including their best red wines as we learnt about grape varieties and terroir.
We followed the steps of Thomas Jefferson to Chateau Kirwan in Margaux, which he visited in 1787. Here we had a fabulous cooking class by the château chef Stephanie where she instructed everyone to prepare an entire meal from scratch. No step was skipped from peeling to kneading to decorating to tasting! Fortunately, we did not starve as our group exhibited great cooking skills and we enjoyed the fruits of our labor in a private tapestry-filled dining room along with a pairing of great wines!
Moving on to the famous region of Pauillac, we then visited the fabled Chateau Mouton Rothschild (Bordeaux First Growth) where we sampled, among others, the 2011 vintage after a profound visit to the cellars and their eyepopping wine label room. We saw the original art work that had been used for each year’s label since the 1940s including works by Picasso, Dali, Miro, and Chagall. We also met Julien de Beaumarchais de Rothschild, quite fortunately but purely by accident, who kindly chatted with us about John F. Kennedy’s visit to France and welcomed us to Chateau Mouton Rothschild!
Our middle day was Bordeaux exploration day which included a visit to the largest museum in the world dedicated to wine – La Cité du Vin. Afterwards, our participants enjoyed a free day to sightsee and shop in the beautiful city,
Next was Chateau Couhins (Grand Cru Classé), a unique winery that also serves as a research center for INRA (The French Agricultural College) and where we were shown cutting edge research initiatives including the use of satellite technology to improve viticulture. Lunch that day was at La Chapelle, the Michelin rated restaurant at Chateau Guiraud – a Sauternes wine classified Grand Cru in 1855. Our group enjoyed a delightful meal prepared by the chef with fresh market products of the day and accompanied by local wines. Following our meal was a visit of the chateau followed by a tasting of some of the best dessert wines of this premier sweet wine region.
Crossing the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers to the Right Bank, we visited the historic town of St. Emilion and its 10th Century underground church carved from one rock. The winery visit to Chateau Belloy in Canon Fronsac was special since we had hosted the owner, Franck Texier Travers at the Lake Vista Wine club in 2018. We chose to close out our winery visits with a tour and tasting at Chateau Tailhas, the closest thing to a “mom and pop” operation with just 10 hectares of land under vine in the famous appellation of Pomerol. We were greeted by the owner/winemaker Luc and tasted some of his best vintages.
Our final evening dinner was at a local Bordelais restaurant where our group shared their experiences and took their final knowledge test on Bordeaux wines (we meant it when we said that our tours were fun but also educational). The participants had exceptional results and were rewarded with Bonne Cuvée Certificates as a way of remembering the wonderful experiences of a Bonne Cuvée Wine Tour.
We were so thankful to have such great participants who were enthusiastic and eager to learn all along the way. We are now preparing our next tour and will soon have a “destination reveal” of the next wine adventure planned by Bonne Cuveé.