Bordeaux is a city and wine region of France which is steeped in history. The history of wine began in this region around 1,900 years ago when the Romans first began planting vineyards here. Even before that, the history of human civilizations dates back to prehistoric times within this region. The backdrop of thousands of years of human and oenological history makes for a great setting to a bike vacation in Bordeaux. Without a doubt though, you come to Bordeaux for the wine. When you see the terroir that inspires the great wines of the Haut-Medoc, you come away with a greater appreciate for why Bordeaux produces some of the world’s most expensive and famous wines.
I think DuVine Adventures says describe Bordeaux wine the best when they say, “Imagine 99,000 acres of Merlot, 62,000 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon and 32,000 acres of Cabernet Franc.” Three of the most popular wine regions of Bordeaux are St. Emilion, Margaux, and Pomerol.
The wine coming out of the Saint-Émilion AOC accounts for the majority of the wine producing land mass in Bordeaux and the majority of this wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Producing mainly red wine and having no village center, the Pomerol AOC is a collection of vineyards which surround a central church.
There number or great wineries in this region are simply too numerous to list. However, some of the top vineyards in the Haut-Medoc includeLafite, Mouton, Latour, Haut Brion, St. Emilion, Cheval Blanc, and Ausone.
The leading château in the Margaux AOC, Château Margaux, is just one of the more than twenty wineries of the region. Also, Sauturnes requires a special mention for it sweet wine and the famous Yquem. (Editor’s Note: We were able to get an appointment at Chateau Yquem with a couple week’s notice. Another outstanding winerey that is easier to get a visit at in Sauturnes is Chateau Giraud)
Your best best to get into one of these vineyards is to call well advance, ideally, with a contact that works in the wine industry to support your appeal for a tasting spot.
Bike Friendly Vacation Spot
Having a few hills and mostly flat land, bike tours through the vineyards of Bordeaux are a great option for novice cyclists. This region is full of open roads, beautiful views, and amazing food which makes it a great vacation spot. The architecture, history, and wine of this region makes it a region well worth visiting.
Castillon-la-Bataille, the site of the last battle of the Hundred Years' War is found within the Bordeaux region of France. This region is steeped in history dating back to prehistoric times. St. Emilion, for example, is a World Heritage site filled with churches and ruins from medieval times, and earlier. Even the vineyards were originally planted by the Romans about 1,900 year ago. The monks that settled the region of St. Emilion, and began commercial wine production, also carved out a monolithic church which is mostly under ground and worth a visit.
Libourne is the wine capital of this region and it also hosts several architectural relics from the 14th century. The Gothic church was restored in the 19th century and defensive walls, including the clock tower, as still intact from the 14th century. The actual capital of the region, Bordeaux, deals mainly with the business of wine production and serves as the financial and transportation capital of the region. Another important city to the Bordeaux wine production is Margaux which boasts the most châteaux of any region in Bordeaux.
Airport and Transportation
Many tours of Bordeaux begin in Libourne which can be accessed by rail from the city of Bordeaux. Within Bordeaux, there is the Bordeaux–Mérignac international airport. This airport is connect to the rail system of the region using a shuttle bus. Also, there are bus services which can transport passengers within the city and throughout the region.