If there is just one word that is synonymous with Bordeaux, it has to be “wine”. Or vin in French. So it would have been almost criminal to visit Bordeaux without visiting its famous wine-growing region.
“Bordeaux wine” is basically any wine grown in the Bordeaux region of France. However, there are many different wine growing subregions in this area, including Saint Émilion, Pomerol, Médoc, and Graves. If I had time, I would have loved to explore all of these subregions. But we only had one day to explore, so I had to pick just one.
I settled on Saint Émilion, mostly because of what I’d heard of the quaint little town. A quick search on TripAdvisor led me to 2 wineries that had tours in English with great reviews. I emailed both of these wineries in the morning and they were surprisingly very quick to respond, giving us appointments for that afternoon. Happily, we set out from the town of Bordeaux, driving about 45 minutes east to the small town of Saint Émilion.
Unfortunately, we happened to hit the Bordeaux region when it was undergoing an unusual heat wave (90+F!!), and our limited time outdoors was spent trying to find the next restaurant/store/wine shop with A/C (la climatisation, or simply “la clim” in French). But in between ducking in and out of shops for A/C relief, we were still able to appreciate the beauty of this little town.
The town was adorable, but it was time to do some wine tasting outside of town. Understandably, there are many wineries around Saint Émilion, ranging from the opulent to the small family growers…
I really prefer small family-run wineries to the opulent corporate ones. Our first appointment was with Chateau Cantenac. This winery is run by a mother and her 3 sons. One of her daughter-in-laws, who is originally from the Bay Area, gave the tour and we instantly felt at home due to our common California connection. The tour, which included a walk around the grounds, was also very informative, and I felt free to ask many questions.
I was very impressed by Chateau Cantenac. For the quality of the wine, their prices are very reasonable, especially for one who’s used to Napa’s ridiculously inflated wine prices. We couldn’t help but to walk away with a few bottles.
Our second tour, at Chateau Coutet, while pleasant and also very informative, could not measure up to our first tour. But we were still able to have a nice time, see the grounds, and taste some great wine as well.
We really enjoyed our time in Saint Émilion and I would definitely love to return during a time when the weather wasn’t so hot. Oh, and by the way, we were treated to a beautiful field of wildflowers as left…
Until next time…
- Chateau Cantenac, No. 2 Locality Cantenac, RD 670, 33330, Saint Émilion. Open Monday to Friday by appointment and weekends subject to availability. Reservations by phone at +33 (0)126.96.36.199.22 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For the most up-to-date information, go to http://www.chateau-cantenac.fr/visites/.
- Chateau Coutet, 33330 Saint Émilion. Open Monday to Saturday 9am – 5:30pm, by appointment. Phone: +33 (0)188.8.131.52.21. Email: email@example.com. For the most up-to-date information, go to http://www.chateau-cantenac.fr/visites/.