This summer, I was on a work trip to France. And as a red wine lover I couldn’t help but spend a couple of days in Bordeaux. Apart from the city, I was keen to explore the surrounding vineyards and especially Saint-Émilion. I came across Bordeaux Wine Trails and I was happy to see that they conducted small group tours led by local guides (my two main criteria in choosing any tour). Since I was short on time, I decided to try their half-day Saint-Émilion Wine Trail.
Wine tasting in Saint-Émilion
It was a hot late-June day (in the middle of a heat wave). So I was glad to have chosen the morning tour instead of the afternoon option. I met my guide Camille in front of the tourist office, along with a few other wine enthusiasts, and we drove to Saint-Émilion. Along the way, Camille introduced us to Bordeaux wines, the various appellations from the region, and what makes these wines unique.
Our first stop was Château Le Châtelet, a small family-owned winery that produces Grand Cru Classé Saint-Émilion wine. The château’s fifth-generation owner Virginie gave us a short tour of the winery and also took us down into the cellars where the wine barrels are stored. We then had a wine tasting with Virginie guiding us on the tasting notes; the tasting included a wine from 2016, which was considered to be an exceptional vintage in Bordeaux. The wines were paired with locally produced dark chocolate. And I was proud to see that the cacao beans came from India!
Our next stop was the village of Saint-Émilion where we stopped by a wine shop for another tasting. The shop owner was an enthusiastic proponent of Bordeaux wines. We tried several wines from the region, all of them made by small wineries. I loved two of the wines so much that I ended up buying them to bring back home. We then had some time to explore the village. It was a steep walk up to the cathedral. But it has the best view of the village, its sun-kissed walls, its red roofs, and the rolling green vineyards surrounding it. I was completely charmed by Saint-Émilion with its narrow, winding streets, small boutiques, and a wine shop at literally every corner! The half-day tour with Bordeaux Wine Trails was a lovely introduction to Saint-Émilion & its wines. I’m already planning a longer trip back to explore the region & its wines further.
Prachi Joshi is a travel & food writer based in Mumbai.