THIS TRIP HAS BEEN POSTPONED TO 2013
Bordeaux is the most famous red wine region in the world, and is a must visit for every wine lover. The elegant City, beautiful chateaux and rolling vineyards make Bordeaux the ultimate wine destination.
I have put together a long weekend tour to Bordeaux which will help you to experience the maximum amount in the shortest time - this way I can keep the cost down and you can make the best use of your holidays. This is made possible by the times of British Airways flights to Bordeaux- the outward BA flight will depart Gatwick at 07.10 on Friday 12th October, arriving Bordeaux at 09.30, and the return flight will depart Bordeaux on Sunday 14th October at 20.00 arriving Gatwick at 20.30. So it’s a bit of an early start on the outward flight but this will enable us to have 3 full days in the Bordeaux region whilst only needing 2 nights hotel.
Here is the draft program (visits to be confirmed):
Friday 12th October, Medoc: We will be met by coach and whisked straight to our first appointment at Nadalie Cooperage in Ludon, Margaux to see the fascinating process of how oak barrels are made. The use of oak barrels is an important part of the quality of Bordeaux wines and we will taste a couple of wines to see what difference oak makes.
We will then have an early lunch (own expense) possibly at La Winery in Margaux. Here there will be the chance to taste a selection of wines from their Oenomatic machines and buy wines from their shop.
Early afternoon we will visit a chateau in the Margaux region and taste a range of their wines.
We will then head back to Bordeaux and check into our hotel – Quality Hotel Ste. Catherine, see: http://www.qualityhotelbordeauxcentre.com/ The hotel is in the heart of historic Bordeaux close to the opera house and many other elegant buildings.
There will be some free time to explore the sites of Bordeaux and then later we will have a group dinner at a nearby restaurant, possibly Chez Jean (cost included)
Saturday 19th May, after breakfast, departure to the Sauternes and Graves regions.
We will start this day with a visit to the beautiful open air market in the town of Bazas, where local market gardeners sell their products in the shade of the 16th century cathedral and its square lined with archways.
Then we will head to Ch. D’Arche, a Grand Cru classe of Sauternes for a visit and tasting and also a gourmet picnic lunch in their lovely gardens (cost included).
After lunch we will head to the Graves, the oldest of the Bordeaux wine-producing areas. Here we will visit a chateau and taste some of their dry white and red wines.
We will head back to the city of Bordeaux late afternoon for a free evening to sample another of the many restaurants (dinner at own expense).
Sunday 20th May, after breakfast and checking out of our hotel we will head to the ‘Right Bank’ to the regions of Saint Emilion and Pomerol.
We will visit a Saint Emilion or Pomerol producer in the morning to taste their Merlot dominated wines and then head to the beautiful medieval town and UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. Emilion. The town has narrow alleyways, cobbled streets, and open air cafes which give it a lovely character and charm.
There may be the chance to join a tour of the private guided tour of the principal sights of the medieval town: the Emilion Hermitage, the Tour du Roy built in the 13th century by Richard the Lion heart, the collegiate church and its 14th century cloister and, above all, the exceptional monolithic church and its catacombs dug out of the limestone cliff between the 9th and the 11th centuries. Its 38 metre span makes it the largest such church in Europe.
There will be time to wander round the town and enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants and brasseries (own expense).
After lunch we will visit another chateau in St. Emilion or Pomerol for a tour and tasting before heading to the airport for our return flight at 20.00 which arrives back into Gatwick at 20.30.
Approx. Price per person: £445 (sharing a twin or double room), £80 single supplement.
The price includes:
- 2 nights bed and breakfast accommodation at Quality Hotel Ste. Catherine (3*)
- 1 dinner and 1 gourmet picnic lunch, some wine included
- All of the visits and tastings at 6-7 different chateaux as mentioned in the programme
- Coach travel throughout the region during all 3 days including pick-up from and return to Bordeaux airport (for group flights only)
- The services of Christos Ioannou as Tour Guide and Wine Expert
The price does not include:
- Travel to/from Bordeaux, however as mentioned above I have reserved 20 seats on the British Airways flights at a group fare of £135 per person (includes all luggage and other charges)
- Other personal expenses not mentioned in the program
Wine Tastings: part of the fascination of Bordeaux is the range of styles and qualities of wine which the region produces. All of the chateaux charge for their tastings but normally only offer 2-3 wines to taste. I have factored in to the cost of the tour a sizeable tastings budget so that we will be able to have more than the standard tastings normally offered. This way we will be able to taste an extensive range of quality wines (at least 30) over the weekend, which will help to give us an in-depth practical knowledge of Bordeaux wine.
Payment: To book this tour you will need to pay a deposit of £100 and the balance will be due 8 weeks before the tour, i.e. by mid-August. This tour is being organised by Wine Voyages (run by Christos Ioannou, and Sandy Leckie and Malcom Franks of The Wine Education Service) and your monies will go into their Client Trust Account which is administered by a solicitor. The funds cannot be accessed by Wine Voyages until the tour has been completed, so your payment will be fully protected. Further details regards payment for the tour will be on the booking form which will be available soon.
Extending your Trip
Bordeaux is a beautiful city packed with stunning Renaissance buildings and museums and merits a day or two there to view the sites and soak up the atmosphere. The tour program has been designed to concentrate on wine and will be action-packed, so if you want to extend the tour so that you can see more of the city we can arrange additional nights’ accommodation for you (please ask about the cost). If you do so you will need to make your own way to Bordeaux airport in time to meet the group flight arriving at 09.30 on the Friday morning.