Bordeaux wine tours

Be it for beginners or connoisseurs, Bordeaux is one of our most popular destinations for wine tasting trips and experiences. And we love nothing more than helping our guests discover its countless delights and delicious drops. The Bordeaux region holds a particularly special place in our hearts here at SmoothRed. Our history with it goes way back, further even than when we chose it as the destination for our very first wine tour.

Over 100 years ago, previous generations of our family were importing some of the finest Bordeaux to the UK. Indeed, one of our family’s old price lists from 1905 shows a Château Margaux going for a very reasonable two shillings, while a Château Citran nearly broke the bank at two shillings and sixpence! If only prices had stayed that low.

A foodie’s paradise

Bordeaux is known and loved throughout France as a grand bastion of fine eating and living.

To accompany those sumptuous reds, meat-based dishes like duck-confit and Pauillac lamb are all the rage. While the region’s white wines are best served with seafood selections from the coast, like oysters from Arcachon, and the sweet wines not only a partner for desserts but also blue cheese and foie gras!

Teeming with historic & natural beauty

As well as pleasures for the stomach, Bordeaux also offers plenty of delights for the eyes. The city of Bordeaux itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as is the medieval village of Saint Emilion, with both offering plenty of opportunities for idle wandering and architectural marvelling.

Beyond the city and village gates meanwhile, the Bordeaux countryside is well tended to by the region’s maritime climate. With the benefit of the Gulf Stream and the protective, warming effect of the Gironde Estuary, it’s the perfect environment for vines and visitors alike.

Endless possibilities

As you can see, the region of Bordeaux offers endless possibilities for your wine-tasting trip. We have a range of Bordeaux wine tours available. And we can always tailor trips exactly to your tastes.

The wines of Bordeaux

Where to start with the wines of Bordeaux? As they’re invariably made from blends of grapes, you could probably spend a lifetime sampling its seemingly endless varieties and never taste the same wine twice (although for health reasons, we don’t necessarily recommend it).

The grapes permitted for red Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The first is generally used more heavily in the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the last tends to be favoured on the Right Bank.

For white wines meanwhile, Bordeaux vintners mostly use a mixture of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadelle grapes – exclusively so in the case of Bordeaux’s sweet Sauternes wines.

Bordeaux is, unarguably, the most well-known wine region in the world. The wines that flow from Bordeaux are amongst the very finest and most sought-after by connoisseurs and casual wine lovers alike. The environmental conditions in the region – a calcium-heavy soil structure combined with an oceanic climate – make it a place where vineyards can flourish.

The Region

Bordeaux is dissected by the Gironde estuary and its two tributaries, the Garonne and Dordogne Rivers. Based on each appellations’ locations with regards to those rivers, the region is split into three sub-regions: the Left Bank, the Right Bank and Entre-Deux-Mers (“Between Two Tides”, located between the Garonne and the Dordogne).

The Left Bank

Situated in the west and south of the region, and based around the city of Bordeaux, the Left Bank consists of Médoc and Graves. Médoc is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon blends, whilst Graves produces both red and white wine. A number of sweet white wines are also produced in the south of Graves.

The Right Bank

The Right Bank, located in the north and east of the region and based around the city of Libourne, is made up of Fronsac, Pomerol and Saint-Émilion. These three regions are known for the production of Merlot blends.

Entre Deux Mers

Entre-Deux-Mers, between the two ‘banks’, is a producer of dry white, light red and sweet white wines. It is the largest of the sub-regions, though much of it is forested and thus unsuitable for the growing of grapes.

Styles

Whilst Bordeaux is primarily famous for its claret, a vast range of wines are produced in the region across its 60 appellations. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc are the most popular grape varieties in Bordeaux. The styles of wine made in Bordeaux are split into six categories; the reds based off region, the whites based off sweetness.

Red Bordeaux and Red Bordeaux Supérieur: These wines, which are produced all across Bordeaux, are often the least expensive and tend to be made with blends dominated by the Merlot grape variety. They tend to be fruity, young and highly popular on international markets.

Red Côtes de Bordeaux: The appellations which produce this style are often found on the outskirts of Bordeaux, and, like the Red Bordeaux and Red Bordeaux Supérieur wines, are usually dominated by Merlot.

Red Libourne: These are the Right Bank wines. Cabernet Sauvignon is sometimes used, though Merlot is again most prevalent here. Wines from the Right Bank (with those from Saint-Émilion being arguably the most popular) are usually fruity, long-lived and have softer tannins.

Red Graves and Médoc: Left Bank wines are made primarily with Cabernet Sauvignon, though Merlot is also used in blends. These wines in particular are concentrated, tannic and long-lived.

Dry White: Dry white wines can be found all around Bordeaux, though Graves is known for them in particular. Sauvignon Blanc or a Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon blend are most common.

Sweet White: Sweet white wines are, again, found across Bordeaux, with Sauternes being perhaps the most famous, though similar wines are also made in Loupiac, Cadillac and Sainte Croix du Mont. Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle grapes affected by noble rot are generally used in making sweet whites.

As you’d expect from a city which lies so close to the Atlantic Ocean, Bordeaux is teeming with seafood. Beyond all the oysters, crabs, shrimp, cockles, clams, scallops and fish that you could ever want, the region is famed for its éclade – a beach barbeque of mussels, cooked on a water-soaked board with a fire built from pine needles and hay.

Bordeaux is also the home of bordelaise sauce, which brings together some of the culinary delights for which the region is most renowned – red wine, shallots, bone marrow and demi-glace – into one, world-famous sauce. The region also boasts confit de canard and foie gras amongst its specialities.

Spotlight Dishes

Éclade: A dish that is found up and down the western coast of France, éclade consists of mussels positioned on a wooden board, covered in pine needles. The needles are set alight, and the mussels are baked. Generally served with bread, salted butter and white wine. Often eaten at the beach.

Bordelaise Sauce: A famous sauce made with red wine, bone marrow, butter and shallots. It is traditionally served with grilled beef or steak, though any meat which pairs well with dry red wines will also do.

Confit de Canard: Duck confit is found all across France, though the south-western regions specialise in it. A duck leg is preserved in salt, garlic and herbs and then poached in its own fat. Served with vegetables and sautéed potatoes. Many local Bordeaux reds will pair nicely with it.

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Description Le Grand Hotel, a luxury hotel located in the magnificent city of Bordeaux. Nostalgic…

France, Bordeaux
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Description Located at the corner of the Allées de Tourny and Rue de Sèze in…

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Les Sources de Caudalie

Description Les Sources de Caudalie, is a luxury vineyard spa hotel located among the vineyards…

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Bordeaux wine trips

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“Sit back and relax, SmoothRed will take you on a faultless, varied, and interesting wine (and gastronomic!) tasting tour in your region of choice. 90 happy people have now been wowed by Bordeaux, Rioja, Tuscany, Languedoc, and Alsace courtesy of SmoothRed. You only live once, so stop sipping it at home and start enjoying it where it is lovingly created, courtesy of the experts at SmoothRed” Hoares Bank

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