I admit that I purposefully decided years ago not to have Bordeaux on top of my “wine regions to visit” list, for the silliest reason: Everyone goes there.
Does this mean it’s an awful place to go to? Au contraire (I’m just very anti-establishment). In fact, I highly recommend Bordeaux to people who want to begin to learn about old world wines and appellations… If visitors are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet legendary Bordeaux winemakers in their (wait for it) castle, that would be even better.
I’ll skip the bits on the Bordeaux primer, but know from this article that Bordeaux has some of the most famous appellations in France. The classification dates back to 1855, as ordered by Emperor Napoleon III. It is classified from the most prestigious (the first growths or premier cru) all the way down to the fifth growths.
Trivia: Only once has there been a change in the list to this day, which involved the addition of Chateau Mouton Rothschild in the list of premier crus in 1973. Premier crus are naturally thought of to be the best in terms of quality in Bordeaux (with a price tag to match).
It all sounds so complicated, but, as I always tell people, the best way to learn about wine is to travel there. What’s nice about Bordeaux is the region’s eagerness to get people from all levels of wine knowledge to understand wines.
Take their state of the art wine museum, Cité du Vin. Easily accessible from almost anywhere in Bordeaux via tram, it boasts of interactive, tangible displays on the art of viticulture and vinification. They also hold regular lectures (with tasting) in the museum. If the displays wake up your inner wino, there’s a shop downstairs as well selling wines from different parts of the world.
I personally enjoyed being toured around Bordeaux by my chauffeur, Philippe. He took me to so many majestic châteaux, with a stopover in the beautiful old town of Saint-Émilion.
But don’t let me bore you… Pictures, after all, are worth a thousand words.
People who wish to learn about Bordeaux in the comforts of Manila can enrol themselves in one of the many classes given by Wine Story. It’s an excellent way to understand the region before visiting.
Coming soon: My adventures in different Bordeaux châteaux (including a moment where I was so star-struck I got embarrassingly tongue-tied, getting invited to lunch in a winemaker’s home which happened to be a castle, meeting one of the most charming winemakers on earth, and meeting one of my wine heroes while his château gave me one of the most life-altering welcomes ever).
*Many thanks to the fabulous ladies of Wine Story Philippines for the best wine experience of my life
*Merci Beaucoup, Philippe… Tu es le meilleur!