We are perfectly positioned to explore the wines of Bordeaux

The Magnificent Seven Best Wine Spots in Bordeaux

When people talk vintage in Bordeaux, they aren't referring to '70s Gucci dresses or black leather Versace skirts from the '80s. They're talking vino, and in Bordeaux (one of the world's most prestigious and highly ranked vino regions), wine is everything. The air smells of grapes and everyone's fingers and lips are tinted red by the fruit's natural colors. And, for the record, they're most proud of their 2010, 2009, and 2005 vintages—undoubtedly some of the best wine the region has ever produced.

Click here for details of how to become a winemaker for the day and blend your own wine at one of the top Saint-Emilion vineyards


A recent guide to the Saint-Emilion vineyards is here:  Guide

When the options are so bountiful (there are hundreds of winemakers here), it's tough to narrow down which wineries to visit. We've selected a few of our favorite spots, primarily on the Right Bank in the Saint-Emilion region of Bordeaux (where fashion titans like Bernard Arnault and the owners of Chanel Group all have chateaux), to go for tastings.


1.  Chateau La Dominique

Make sure to plan enough time for lunch at the neighboring Chateau La Dominique. The family-owned, contemporary winery, which was redesigned by French architect Jean Nouvel last year, just opened its rooftop restaurant La Terrasse Rouge last April. It's bustling with locals enjoying wine and cheese platters during their lunch break, plus sweeping views of the vineyards. If you only have a few days in Saint-Emilion, this should be high on your list.


2.  Chateau Cheval Blanc


Owned by Belgian Albert Frere and Bernard Arnault (CEO of LVMH), this is one of the most state-of-the-art wineries in the world and worth visiting for the views alone. The original property has remained almost unchanged since 1871, but after Frere and Arnault bought it, they enlisted world-renowned architect Christian de Portzamparc (who also designed the LVMH headquarters in Paris) to add on a super modern, eco-friendly new building. As for the wines, they run anywhere from 400 to 2,000 euro, per bottle, and they are phenomenal.

More information at chateau-cheval-blanc.com.


3.  Maison du Vin de Saint-Emilion


This is Saint-Emilion's wine school, and it should be your very first stop on the trip. Whether you are a wine expert, or just discovering it, their oenologists will give you an excellent overview on all things Saint-Emilion, from it richs history to wine-by-wine tasting notes. You'll want to know the difference between les grands crus classes and premiers grands crus classes wines before you continue your adventures, so make sure to set up a visit here.

More information at vins-saint-emilion.com.


4.  Chateau Villemaurine
Not far from the center of the medieval town, Chateau Villemaurine boasts miles upon miles of underground caves open to the public. Take the candlelit, guided tour recounting the history of the region, and then finish off with a tasting of their excellent wines. The main 2010 Chateau Villemaurine label is one of the more elegant wines we tasted during the week and runs at around 45 euro a bottle.
5.  Chateau de Sales Pomerol
For a completely different experience, stop over at Chateau de Sales in Pomerol. The massive estate, which is surrounded by forest, has been family owned and run since 1464, and you'll feel like one of the family members by the time you leave. Call ahead to set up a tasting and tour and make sure to ask for Bruno. If you are looking to buy a few bottles and not break the bank, this an excellent place to do so. The 2001 was a clear favorite.
6.  Chateau de Candale
If you are tired of tasting and spitting, head for lunch at L'Atelier du Candale where you can sit and sip. The views on a warm, sunny day are positively majestic, and the food by Cyril Gillard is modern twist on French classics. You won't find anything else like it in Bordeaux.
7.  Chateau Tertre Roteboeuf

Though it's small in size and its production is small (just over 2,000 cases a year), this is some of the best Grand Cru wine you'll find in Saint-Emilion. Its richly aromatic and blackcurrant notes on the palate are a sensory delight, making it a favorite of somms at Michelin-starred restaurants around the world. For more info, email tertre.roteboeuf-roc.de.cambes@wanadoo.fr  




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