I could go on for days talking about Bordeaux. It is my favorite city that I have visited so far and I am so pleased that I took the opportunity to go while I had the chance. Like with my visit to Germany, I found a £20 return ticket from Standstead airport with my good old travel buddy, Ryanair. How can you not go for that kind of price?!
Well this was my initial genius idea anyway but there’s no kidding that Bordeaux is not a cheap place to visit…
When I arrived at the airport, I had a short half an hour journey on a train and then a tram into the city centre.
Being a student and all, I didn’t offer myself the luxury of staying in the city centre so I had another 40 minuite walk out of town to my hotel.
If you get the chance to stay in the city centre then your one lucky little traveller because your in the heart of the city and the tram links are so easy to understand and super efficient!
My first day was very relaxed as I ambled around and began to get used to the tram system.
The city lived up to it’s French stereotype with tall, symmetrical, white buildings lining the roads.
I wandered around for a few hours dreaming about all the clothes I would buy the next time I visit as a mature lady with an empty suitcase.
On my second day, I visited La Cite du Vin which is a museum all about wine! This place was incredible, so incredible in fact, that I am doing a separate post all about this day where i’ll go into more detail about my experience here.
Whilst at La Cite du Vin, I noticed a desk selling excursions to vineyards. Here I bought a ticket to go and visit two different vineyards on the left bank for my third day. The two areas I would be visiting were Graves and Sauternes.
The Chateaux in the image above is called Chateaux Myrat and produces the most amazing Sauternes from the noble rot grape.
We met the owner of the Chateaux (guy in red coat) who explained the whole grape to bottle process…with the help of our English speaking tour guide (guy in black coat).
The lovely Chateaux owner took us into his vineyard.
He showed us the noble rot grape.
Basically…noble rot is a fungus which attacks the grape, sounds bad right? Surprisingly not, this fungus is encouraged for the sweet Sauternes wine because it pierces the grape so that the water evaporates, leaving the concentrated sugary pulp.
The owner gave us all a noble rot grape to try and assured us that it would not make you ill. I did eat it and I didn’t feel ill afterwards, yay. It was a strange sensation though because you expect juiciness from a grape but there was none of that, it was very dry and very sweet.
He then took us into his pressing room.
Unfortunately none of the grapes were being pressed when we visited due to rain two days prior to our visit meaning that the grapes were too ‘bloated’ to harvest.
Then he showed us where the wine is aged and stored.
This is the view on the way to the tasting room. Believe it or not but Bordeaux city centre was pretty grey on this day. Sauternes has its own micro climate where it attracts lots of sunshine. It also attracts mist due to the two rivers meeting nearby…this is what causes the spread of the noble rot fungus.
After all this intake of information, it was time to see and taste the stuff!
The owner called it ‘golden nectar’. A perfect description, it was full and syrupy and aromatic and all together just one of the most delicious things i’d ever tasted.
This poster in the tasting room showed all the flavours that you can expect to taste in Sauternes.
That was it for Chateaux Myrat, what an experience.
This was Chateux number two which is in the Graves region. Graves is known for its premium Cabernet Sauvignon.
This Chateaux produces wines on a much larger scale than Chateaux Myrat and uses large steel tanks for fermentation.
Like Chateux Myrat though, they do age their wines in oak barrels. This can add oak, toast and vanilla flavours to the wine.
Again, we tasted the wine and it was absolutely delicious!
As we left the sun started to go down and by the time we got back to Bordeaux centre it was dark.
The next day was home time. This was genuinely sad because I realised there is so much more to Bordeaux and I didn’t get chance to see it all. I couldn’t be too upset though because I gave myself a pretty good taste of Bordeaux…literally. 😀