A weekend in Bordeaux will obviously involve trips out to various wine-making chateaux that the region is famous for. It’s also one of the largest wine growing areas in France, so you’ll need to narrow down your itinerary to vineyards clustered in specific areas featuring certain grapes.
I am not a wine expert by any means, but from what I can tell, Bordeaux is divided up into two main parts, the “Left Bank” and the “Right Bank“. The vineyards on the Left Bank, which consists of the Médoc and Graves regions, typically feature bold and tannic red wines made predominantly of Cabernet Sauvignon. The Right Bank of the Libournais region, on the other hand, features wine made predominantly with Merlot. If you like white wines, head south to Entre-Deux-Mers, and if you like your whites on the sweeter side, go slightly west to Sauternes. (Reference this link for a helpful primer on Bordeaux wines.) Once you know which chateau you’d like to see, go to their website and email them a request for a visit. Note that Bordeaux isn’t quite the commercial operation that Napa or Sonoma Valley is. Many of these chateaux may require insider connections to get you access.Read More
If you find yourself hungry on the grounds of Les Prés d’Eugénie, the French Relais and Chateux estate home to Michel Guerard’s famous restaurant, but you don’t want to sit through an epic and pricey meal at the flagship Michelin restaurant (read more about that here), you can opt for a casual meal at La Ferme aux Grives. La Ferme aux Grives specializes in rustic country cooking in the Gascon fashion, so the menu skews towards hearty, roasted meats cooked in fat. A spitfire grill roasting a small suckling pig in the center of the main dining room gives you a glimpse of what’s in store for later.Read More
Eugénie-les-Bains is a curious little town about an 1.5 hour drive from Bordeaux that is known for the restorative powers of its geothermal spas. But healing powers come not only from the city’s natural surroundings. They also emanate from the hotel and kitchen of the man who owns this town, acclaimed chef Michel Guérard, a rockstar who has managed to maintain the highest culinary honors of three Michelin stars at his restaurant Les Prés d’Eugénie for 40 years in a row.Read More