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On this unique wine tour based in the recently declared UNESCO world heritage city of Bordeaux, your driver or wine guide will take you to the most famous wine producing regions of the Bordeaux vineyard to make you discover the best of Bordeaux wines. Pick up will be at your centrally located hotel. Come and follow them on this “Grands Crus of Bordeaux” wine tour that has been carefully designed for those who wish to increase their personal knowledge in the Bordeaux wines.
During this holiday, you will stay at a four-star hotel in Bordeaux. Please note, guest accommodations during a tour are double, twin or single occupancy, and will include private, fully equipped, en-suite bathrooms. Hotel rooms are well-appointed; individual, private rooms with large comfortable two twin, queen, or king size beds, and fully equipped, private, and en-suite bathrooms (tub/shower, sink, toilet, etc.) that operator has determined to meet its strict criteria.
Room size on tours is a traditional European standard. In France, a twin room to be shared by two persons is comprised of two single (twin) size beds plus a fully-equipped, private, en-suite bathroom. A double room is comprised of either one queen or one king size bed, plus a fully equipped private, en-suite bathroom. Beds in France are smaller than traditional North American beds. French hotel beds do not include mattress toppers nor are the mattresses memory form. Hotel designation is subject to change without notice at Ophorus excursion and Tours in France's discretion and based on availability at time tour is sold to its capacity.
This tour will cover both the left and right bank where you will see, discover, and visit the most famous appellations and Chateau's known for the quality of their wines but also for the expertise of the men behind the wines. But not only, as you will also discover the original wine region of Bordeaux located in the Graves area as well as the most famous sweet white wine producing region: Sauternes. All visits have been personalized for you and your group only and will be conducted by our most knowledgeable wine guides.
The Medoc wine region spans the left bank of the Gironde from the mouth of the river to the city of Bordeaux and includes the four famous communes of St-Estephe, Pauillac, St. Julien and Margaux. It is about 60 kilometers north to south, and about 10 kilometers wide, with around 10,600 hectares under vines and a production of about 50 million liters of wine per year. All the wine made here is red and the main grape variety used is Cabernet Sauvignon.
During this full day tour, you will experience three visits and wine tasting sessions in classified growth or Cru Bourgeois estates that have been carefully selected for their exceptional setting and quality of wine. During these visits you will learn all there is to know about the history of the estates, the wine making process as well as the techniques used during the wine making.
All these visits are followed by a commented wine tasting session. The wineries that you will visit are usually located in Margaux, Saint Julien, Pauillac or the Haut Medoc appellations. For lunch, Ophorus Excursion have selected a local restaurant that will introduce you to all the specialties this area has to offer.
Today the wine region known as the right bank is on your program. Your main destination will be the Saint Emilion appellation. Saint Emilion centers on the commune of the same name. There are several villages around the region that share the Saint-Émilion name, such as Montagne-Saint-Émilion or St-Georges-Saint-Émilion and they are permitted to label their wines under the same name. Merlot is the dominant grape in this area, followed by Cabernet Franc The climate and damper, cool soils located here make it difficult for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to fully ripen and as such this grape variety is less often used. In favorable vintages the wines have a very good aging potential.
This full day tour consists of the visit and wine tasting in two very carefully selected wineries of the Right Bank as well as the discovery of the enchanting medieval village of Saint Emilion. Conducted by a professional English speaking driver guide, your tour will at first lead you to the right bank of the River Garonne where the Saint Emilion wine region is located.
Your morning will include the visit and tasting in a winery which produce wines that perfectly reflect their ‘terroir’ - a very important notion for French wines as it is the local soils and climate that truly define the main aromas and flavors that are to be found. But not only! The winemaker also contributes in a large manner to the quality of the wines that is why your tours combine both prestigious names to lesser known ones in which the visits are usually taken care of by a family member or the winemaker himself.
After the morning winery visit, reach Saint Emilion. The village is all the more charming because it is so different from all the other French medieval villages. Emilian, a Benedictine monk, was born in Brittany in the 8th century, to a modest family. The count who ruled the province chose him to be his financial steward, which turned out to be an unfortunate distinction in his life: Jealous rivals accused him of thievery to discredit him in the eyes of his master and confidant.
After some turmoil, his path eventually led him to a forest where, captivated by the serenity of the area, he dug out a cave and dedicated his life to God. The hermit had performed so many miracles and done so much good around him that his name was given to the place where he had lived (after his death in 767) which became known as Saint Emilion. Follow your guide on a walking tour and unusual place not to be missed: the underground monolithic Cathedral. 125 feet long, 66 feet wide and 36 feet high, all you can see from the exterior are a few windows on the one facade and the steeple, topped with a Gothic arrow 174 feet high. Benedictine monks were the inspiration for this church carved out of solid rock which is Europe’s largest monolithic cathedral!
The tour will also include some information about the world-renowned wines of Saint Emilion through the history of the Jurade. When John ‘Lackland’ succeeded his brother, Richard Lionheart, to the throne of England in 1199, he signed the ‘Falaise Charter’ which accorded Saint Emilion the statute of a free and independent commune, with the right to be administered by a mayor, twelve members of the Jurade (the town council) and twelve advisers elected by the town’s notables. These councilmen had vast power that included rendering justice, regulating the manufacturing process and the sale of wine, and even publicly announcing the start and the end of the grape harvests.
After your walking tour, enjoy some free time for lunch and personal discovery.
Finally, your tour will include a visit and wine tasting session in a second winery. At opposite ends from your morning visit and located in a different appellation, this will be the perfect opportunity for you to understand how two wineries that are located in the same wine region can produce such very different wines. Color, Aromas, Tannins, Flavors are just some of the notions that will be evoked but undoubtedly the commented tasting will constitute the highlight of this afternoon tour!
Today’s tour has been designed as an introduction to a lesser-known wine region of Bordeaux the Graves region. Bordered on the north by the Garonne River, it contains the sub-regions of Pessac-Léognan, Sauternes, and Barsac. It is known for its intensely gravelly soil. In the Middle Ages, the wines that were first exported to England were produced in this area. Château Pape Clément, founded at the turn of the fourteenth century by the future Pope Clement V, was the first named chateaux in all of Bordeaux. In 1663, Samuel Pepys’ mention of Château Haut-Brion was the first recorded mention of French Claret in London.
Leave Bordeaux and reach the Pessac Léognan sub-region. Here, discover this appellation where some of the most magnificent Bordeaux Reds and Whites are produced. After a visit of a carefully selected winery, participate in a commented tasting that will introduce you to the typical aromas and flavors that are usually found in Pessac-Leognan wines. Traditionally, the red wines crafted in this area are mainly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon as the main grape variety and then blended with Merlot and/or Cabernet Franc. Then, discover a restaurant near the vineyards to enjoy lunch with local and fresh products of the region of Bordeaux.
After lunch, we will head towards the Sauternes wine producing region. Sauternes is a subregion of Graves known for its intensely sweet, white, dessert wines such as the Premier Cru Supérieur classified Château d’Yquem. Wines produced in the region of Barsac, such as Premiers Crus Château Climens and Château Coutet are allowed to be labeled either with the commune name or with Sauternes. The intense sweetness of these wines is the result of the grapes being affected by Botrytis cinerea, a fungus that is commonly known as noble rot. In the autumn, the Ciron river produces a mist that descends upon the area and persists until after dawn.
These conditions are conducive to the growth of the fungus which desiccates the grape and concentrates the sugars inside. The three main grapes of this area are Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc and Muscadelle. Production costs for this area’s botrytized wines are comparatively high. The evaporation and fungus produce low yields, five to six times less than in other Bordeaux regions. The grapes are normally harvested individually from the bunch with pickers going through the vineyards several times between September and November to ensure that the grapes are picked at their optimal points. The wine is then fermented in small oak barrels, further adding to the cost.
Follow your guide as you tour one of the first Grand Crus of the Sauternes wine region. After a brief introduction of the historical past of the winery and a visit of the technical installations, the most interesting part of the tour will no doubt reside in the explanation of how this wine is being made, far from the techniques seen in the Medoc or Saint Emilion! Finally, a commented tasting will reveal all the subtleties of Aromas and Flavors that are to be found in this very refined wine.
This tour includes a private guided walking tour in Saint Emilion.
This wine tour will take place in Bordeaux, France. It is classified as the "city of art and history" and has been inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List as "an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble". It is home to one of Europe's biggest 18th century architectural urban areas and stands out as one of the first French cities to have entered an era of urbanism and metropolitan big scale projects, with the team Gabriel father and son, architects for King Louis XV, under the supervision of two Governors, first Nicolas-François Dupré de Saint-Maur then the Marquis de Tourny.
During this holiday, you will be served with daily breakfasts, lunches in a local restaurant during the Medoc as well as during the Graves and Sauternes tour. In addition, wine during the wine tastings and bottles of water in the minivan are included in the package.
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