Wine tour experience – An Australian Nomad in France

Bordeaux is world-renowned for the luxuriousness and exclusivity of its wines. This region as most know is home to some of the most expensive wines in the world, and for good reason. It has now become a major hot spot for tourists and wine lovers from all walks of life, especially those hoping to taste these lucrative wines for themselves.

I come from Perth, Australia and my local wine region is Margaret River which has a reputation for powerful cabernet sauvignon blends that are high in tannins and structure. They are chalky and rich, thick and sometimes overwhelming on the palette. This bold style of red wine became the norm for me, until I tried my first Bordeaux wine. I experienced a new sense of elegance and structure and yearned to know more about Bordeaux, its Chateaus and all else that France had to offer.

I was immediately overwhelmed by all the appellations and varieties that Bordeaux wine encompassed. Luckily, Bordeaux has become such a popular place to visit and accordingly many amazing wine tours in Bordeaux vineyard were available. It was time to get educated!

I chose Bordeaux Wine Trails, a local tour company that seemed to be authentic and friendly. We booked their Holy Wine tour in Saint Emilion :

 I was already intimidated by the idea of being in the presence of great winemakers and immediately upon starting the tour, I knew I’d made the right choice. Driving along the narrow vine surrounded roads of Saint-Emilion, our guide taught us about not only wine but the culture and history of where we were. He emphasised the global differences between new world and old world when it comes to making and selling wine. This became key in understanding the true meaning of terroir, and how the wine industry differed around the world.

By the end of my half day tour, I had solid basic knowledge of Bordeaux’s wine appellations, had explored the underbellies of several chateaux, learned the different stages of a proper wine tasting, and savoured local goodies like cheese and chacuterie as well. I had a very so Frenchy so chic moment during an exclusive visit in one of the vineyards. I stood boasting a satisfied smile beside the emerald leaved vines and a limestone coloured chateau, still tasting a delicate and sumptuous Saint-Emilion wine upon my lips. It was heaven!

 

There is so much more to discover, and every day I am learning something new. It is no surprise that Bordeaux became Europe’s number one destination in 2016 according to the Lonely Planet, and Bordeaux wine tours continue to thrive. What a beautiful and decadent place to explore, Bordeaux is now my home and every wine lover’s fantasy…I can promise it shall fulfil all your expectations and more.

By Kalpana Barnao