Hotel La Co(o)rniche
Description A luxury hotel in the romantic seaside setting of Arcachon, this five star hotel is…
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 find their perfect Bordeaux wine tours and 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.
Bordeaux is known and loved throughout France as a grand bastion of fine eating and living. Be sure to pair a sampling of the local cuisine with one of our Bordeaux wine tours.
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!
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.
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.
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 and our Bordeaux wine tours will show you exactly why. 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.
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).
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, 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, 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.
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.
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.
Description A luxury hotel in the romantic seaside setting of Arcachon, this five star hotel is…
Description Le Grand Hotel, a luxury hotel located in the magnificent city of Bordeaux. Nostalgic…
Description Located at the corner of the Allées de Tourny and Rue de Sèze in…
Description Les Sources de Caudalie, is a luxury vineyard spa hotel located among the vineyards…
“Thanks for taking the time and trouble to call. You really have set the standard by which we compare all other companies!! Thank you so much for organising a fantastic itinerary with such an interesting and varied range of stop-overs. We are already starting to think about next year’s trip to France so would welcome any suggestions.”
Speak to our experienced travel consultants.
020 8877 4940 Enquire online
Book with confidence, we are fully ATOL & ABTA bonded.
What does the ‘luxury’ mean in ‘luxury wine tour’? It means the smoothest experience possible; first class travel...Read more
If there’s one thing Europe does well, it’s hotels. From the finest French châteaux to the most spectacular...Read more
Smooth Red did a super job of organizing our 11 day tour of French wine regions. Although the tour was originally designed as self-drive they were able to meet our needs by arranging for travel by train. All of the arrangements worked, and the hotels and wine tours were first…
Very enjoyable. All three Chateaus were very different adding to the experience. Saint Emillion is beautiful. Our group of 8 was just right size for personal fell yet fellowship. Only did a one day, but certainly if the Chateau quality is indicative will consider Smooth Red for longer tours. Very…
SmoothRed organised an amazing holiday for my Mum and I- we went to Bordeaux for three nights and stayed in a wonderful hotel. We had the perfect mixture of trips and free time and the visits to the Chateaus were wonderful. From start to finish, my experience of booking the…
We had a fantastic weekend in the Rioja region with Smooth Red; the Bodegas, hotel and mostly the tour guide were all fantastic. Everything was organised really well and we are already considering our next trip with Smooth Red which is a real compliment from us. Thank you
This was a wonderful and memorable experience. Smooth red were attentive in the planning and a pleasure to work with as we expressed our requirements. i look forward to using their services again.