Brad Ring, Publisher of WineMaker Magazine, personally invites you to join him on this exclusive wine vacation.
Brad Ring, Publisher of WineMaker Magazine, personally invites you to join him on this exclusive wine vacation.
THIS TRIP IS SOLD OUT! Please contact us if you’d like to be placed on the waitlist. Spaces are still available on WineMaker Magazine’s 2023 Chile & Argentina Multisport & Wine Adventure.
Bordeaux – one of France’s most iconic wine regions filled to the brim with impeccable wines, delectable cuisine, and revered architecture.
It is the birthplace of the first known Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot vines and stretches from Soulac-sur-Mer and the Médoc in the north to the vineyards of Graves and Cerons in the south. Approximately 20,000 producers farm around 250,000 acres of vines, producing approximately 850 million bottles of wine each year! A little over 200 years ago, the city of Bordeaux was dubbed “little Paris” due to its distinguished 17th-century architecture and more recently has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most wines from the region are red blends, with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot being the grape mainstays but also including Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. Bordeaux also makes fantastic white and sweet dessert wines, often from the villages of Sauternes and Barsac.
On this tour, we’ll taste a wide range of Bordeaux wines from both the Left and Right Banks. We’ll pair visits to several quaint, ancient villages within the region, including Paulliac and Saint-Emilion with special wine tastings at breathtaking winery estates, several with quite prestigious pedigrees. We’ll venture into various wine caves with incredible histories, stores of outstanding wine, and even delicious cheeses!
To round things out, you’ll have a chance to prove your own oenophile prowess with a few blind tastings and even your own wine blending session. Finally, we’ll add to our wine knowledge by visiting a world-class interactive wine museum, La Cite du Vin.
By the end of your vacation, you’ll have a well-balanced perspective of what Bordeaux is all about!
Welcome to the wine capital of France! Your guide, Jenny, will meet you in the lobby of our host hotel at 1:30 PM for a quick introduction. You’ll then head out for a walking tour of the lovely city of Bordeaux, taking in as many sights as possible, including Mirroir d’eau, Place de la Bourse, Rue Saint Pierre, Rue Saint Catherine, La Grande Cloche, and Marché des Capucins. We will end our walk with a sweet treat – a stop at one of Bordeaux’s delectable chocolatiers, Mademoiselle de Margaux.
We then make our way to Le Bar à Vin, located on the ground floor of the l’Ecole du Vin (Bordeaux Wine School). This delightful wine bar serves a large variety of wines to taste by the glass and offers a wonderful stained glass mural-filled atmosphere, making it a perfect setting for further introductions to our tour mates and itinerary, as well as an official welcome toast! Once we’ve gotten to know each other a little better, we will set out for dinner at La Brasserie Bordelaise for a classic Sud-Ouest (South West France) meal.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will make our way to the Left Bank of Bordeaux to Médoc. Our first stop will have you believe that we’ve stumbled upon a fairy tale as we will be exploring the castle of Chateau Pichon Baron. We will enjoy a private tasting of several vintages of their enchanting wines.
During this trip, we’ll visit two wineries owned by the Pages family – the first being Chateau Noaillac, which gains climatic influences from both the Atlantic and the Garonne River. We’ll have a special visit with Damien Pages and a lovely wine-paired lunch. After, we’ll set off for an exquisite tasting at Chateau Mouton Rothschild while also admiring their incredible wine art collection.
We’ll then return to Bordeaux where you’ll have time to relax and explore on your own. That evening, we’ll reconvene in our hotel’s lobby and walk to Baud et Millet for dinner – a cheese lover’s paradise! They have their own cheese-aging cave where you can go in and help yourself to over 100 different cheeses from all over France. You also have the opportunity to pair regional wines with the cheese of your choice. C’est magnifique!
Yesterday we explored the Left Bank of Bordeaux, today we’ll explore the Right Bank! We begin our day with a tour and tasting at Château Beau-Séjour Bécot, a Saint Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé. It was once cultivated by an order of monks and even has an extensive network of underground limestone caves.
Once we’ve enjoyed our intriguing vertical tasting, we’ll depart for the village of Saint-Emilion, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the celebrated center of Left Bank wine production. This picturesque village dates back to ancient times with its unique Romanesque architecture and ruins scattered amongst the narrow and steep streets. We’ll take a walking tour to learn about its history in detail.
You will then have free time to explore and grab lunch on your own at one of the many quaint cafes. We’ll meet back up and head to the village’s namesake monolithic church where we’ll learn about the story of Monk Emilion, the carving of the monolithic underground church, and the fascinating catacombs. Once back above ground, we will drive back to Bordeaux where we will engage in a cooking class and dinner at Côté Cours, the cooking school at Le Saint-James.
Today, we are off to the Entre-Deux-Mers subregion of Bordeaux. “Entre-Deux-Mers” translates literally to “between two seas”, although the seas in question are actually rivers – the Garonne and Dordogne, which respectively form the area’s southwestern and northern boundaries.
We’ll start with a special visit to Chateau Boutillon, where we will meet the other half of Pages family and the owner of the winery, Anne-Sophia Pages, for a behind-the-scenes tour of their beautiful estate and a tasting of their delicious wines. After, we’ll make our way to Chateau Lauduc where the tables are turned and you’ll have the chance to prove your wine blending skills.
We return to Bordeaux in the early afternoon and have the option to walk to a local cognac or canelé shop. You will then have the opportunity to further explore the city of Bordeaux and have dinner on your own.
Today we explore the wine region of Graves and Sauternes, a larger region than Medoc but producing only about half the amount of wine. We start at Château Haut Bailly, a Cru Classé Graves in 1953 set in a gorgeous 19th-century chateau. Due to the surrounding gravely fossil soil, there is more of a mineral taste to their Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon blends. We’ll have a special private visit to discover the secrets of their grand cru and a tasting of three wines including an older vintage.
After, we set off for Sauternes and stop for a hearty lunch along the way at an adorably cozy restaurant where meals are cooked over an open fire. We then continue on our way to the stunning estate of Château Suduiraut, formerly Formerly Cru du Roy. The estate encompasses 200 hectares of land of which 98 hectares are vineyard – 90% of their grapes are Semillon and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. The Chateau’s gardens were designed by Le Nôtre who designed gardens for Louis XIV.
After our exploration of the estate, we will have a fun vertical tasting served in black glasses. We will then match the wine with the aromas revealed in their Aroma Gallery.
Tonight we feast at La Belle Époque, a superb quayside restaurant. Formerly the Nantes Hotel, the restaurant has maintained the exquisite decor that was designed by Amedee de Caranza at the end of the 19th century – making it a grand setting for our farewell dinner.
On our last day of the tour, we take the tram to Bordeaux’s world-class interactive wine museum, La Cité du Vin. A fun way to cap off the trip, we’ll learn about the world of wine – from history, viticulture, producers, and Bordeaux in general.
The museum is visually and architecturally spectacular both inside and out – the building itself is built to resemble “the swirls in a wine glass”! It offers hands-on, hi-tech exhibits where you are encouraged to use all five of your senses. To top things off, we’ll have a world wine tasting on the eighth floor while taking in the 360-degree view of Bordeaux.
After we’ve soaked up some wine knowledge, we’ll head back to our hotel to check out and say our goodbyes.
As is with every Taste Vacation tour, the attention to detail is incredible. Everything from ensuring that participants have enough wine, tasting spectacular wines, visiting exclusive wineries, dining on great food, touring beautiful vineyards, plenty of activities to keep us busy, and enjoying unique restaurants is covered.Elizabeth & Jake
I was concerned about the limitations of being on a guided tour as well as having to spend the entire time with a group of strangers. What I found was that the tours were extremely well planned and the accommodations, meals, wine tastings, and activities were perfect! And at the end of the trip, the people that began the tour not knowing each other, parted as a group of forever friends planning another adventure together with Taste Vacations.Alice T.
Nights 1 – 5: Located in a renovated 18th-century mansion in the center of Bordeaux, the Hotel de Normandie Bordeaux is perfectly situated near restaurants, bars, shops, and sightseeing attractions and overlooks the Place des Quinconces. You’ll enjoy a pleasant stay in 4-star accommodations with comfortable rooms and an excellent hotel staff.
Please note: Hotels are subject to availability. If listed hotel is not available at time of tour, a hotel that is equal or better to the original will be secured.
Not Included: Travel to and from destination, wine with meals, personal expenses, and optional gratuities to local staff and your guide. Travel insurance is also not included, though we highly recommend it. Check out our Travel Insurance page for more information.
While the general trip itinerary will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common — restaurants close or lose their amazing chef, a winery changes their visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, etc. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance.
We meet at 1:30 PM on the first day of the tour at our downtown Bordeaux hotel, allowing you to arrive either that morning or the day before. The tour finishes in Bordeaux before lunch on the final day of the tour. There are no direct flights from the United States to Bordeaux, but you can easily fly through Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG). At the end of the tour, you may want to extend your stay in France and book a train from Bordeaux (Bordeaux-Saint-Jean Train Station) to other popular areas such as Nice, Paris, or Marseille.