The City of Bordeaux and it’s Wine Regions

The City of Bordeaux and it’s Wine Regions

Bordeaux is the biggest wine producing area in the world; add in neighbouring wine districts and the Aqiuitaine region of southwest France proffers an abundance of wine.

World renowned wines and wonderful food.

Bordeaux is the biggest wine producing area in the world; add in neighbouring wine districts and the Aqiuitaine region of southwest France proffers an abundance of wine.

Each year Bordeaux’s finest wines, the meticulously produced fermentations of the great Medoc chateaux, are sold on spec for incredible amounts of money; months before the wine is even made.

Always Blended from the traditional grape varieties, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the finished taste is sometimes tweaked to perfection, by adding small quantities of the less well-known Melbec and Petit Verdot grapes.

The wineries of the Medoc have inspired neighbouring wine makers, particularly those centred around the beautiful medieval village of St Emillion (a UN heritage site) on the opposite, right bank of the Garrone river. They too manage to produce almost as famous a range of wines.

Merlot-WikiThis time merlot is the lead grape supported by cabernet franc and sometimes cabernet sauvignon. Softer versions of the Medoc style, the best also command enormous prices.

Saint Emillion is easily accessible by train from Bordeaux city, as is Pauillac in the Medoc. Both are very traveller friendly but St Emillion can be extremely crowded during the summer, particularly at weekends.

 The region also produces white wines, including Sauternes a renowned dessert wine and cognac the world’s best-known alcoholic digestive. All the aforementioned wines can be expensive, but the city offers numerous affordable opportunities to taste the wines of the region and even visit the wineries.

Also there are cheaper alternatives to the wines of the great chateau.  Thousands of mainly small producers utilise various combinations of  the permitted grapes to offer an enormous range of excellent wines to suit every pocket.  

Renovated recently, Bordeaux city has been restored to its 18th century grandeur and enhanced by a new tram system. Wine and city tours are easily booked from the tourist office, and the metropolis, while impressive, is compact and easily strolled.

Then there’s the food, this is taken as seriously as the wine, the inhabitants declaring themselves the region of fine eating and great living (region de bien manger et bien vivre). Foie gras and beef braised in wine sauce can be eaten at candlelit tables that line the many atmospheric alleyways in the old part of town.

A new generation of restaurateurs serve light modern dishes, a la celebrity chef. While for those who really love and respect food, the atmospheric LaSnapshot 1 26-11-2013 00-06 Tupina, preserves the regions ancestral culinary traditions. Enormous cuts of meat, cooked on a open range offer a temping alternative to the tastiest spit roast chicken in the world, which is served with mouth-watering chips, fried in goose fat.

Outside the city are forests and preserved parks, teaming wildlife and natural fauna. While the silver coast (Cote d’Argent), is a strip of sand that’s runs 200 kilometres along the regions Atlantic shoreline. A  local train will transport the traveller from Bordeaux to Arcachon, a seaside resort of fairytale villas. Also well worth a visit is the Dune dy Pyla a spectacular windswept mini version of the Sahara desert.

Now back  to the food and drink. Copious seafood platters, mussels and frits are eaten at numerous beachfront eateries, or join a boat trip to watch oysters being freshly plucked from the sea, later sample the catch at one of the rustic dining huts perched on the beach along the coast.

English speaking visitors need not fret about a language barrier, English is the language of commerce and for two thousand years the Bordelaise have been vigorous practitioners of the art of salesmanship. Consequently their English is perfect.

As for getting there, the Eurostar train from ST Pancras via Lille is the easiest option if you live in central London. This requires a simple platform change at the Lille Europe station. However the Eurostar website will usually send you via Paris, this necessitates a journey across Paris from the Gare du Nord  to the Gare Montparnasse on the outward leg and vice versa on the return leg. Tickets cost from around £74, journey time is around eight hours. Easy jet offers a cheaper alternative without the hassle of crossing Paris, while British Airways also fly to Bordeaux.