Tour de Bordeaux Vineyards
- Duration: 6 Days (approx.)
- Product code: PSZL3J
2016 Departures: 29 May, 19 June, 31 July, 21 August
- Sweeping vistas from the Château de Monbazillac
- Easy cycling through vineyards and charming villages
- Explore Ancient wine cellars in the tunnels under St‑Emilion
- Traffic-free roads along the lower Dordogne and Garonne rivers
- Wine tasting in prestigious Graves and Sauternes
- Meeting new friends and socialising in the small group (max 16
Transfers are from Libourne train station and Bordeaux airport. Our hotel is in the heart of the bustling town and a short stroll from the old quarter of Libourne, on the edge of some of the most prestigious vineyards in the world. After making sure everybody is happy with their bicycles, we will take a short excursion into the vineyards of Pomerol. The best Pomerols stand comparison with the best that St-Emilion has to offer. The most exclusive red wine in the world comes from Pomerol, the legendary Chateau Pétrus. We visit one of the more prestigious domains for a tasting. There should be time for a stroll into the town and maybe a late afternoon beer before freshening up for the first of many memorable dinners.
Heading east, the route takes us through the Pomerol and Montagne wine districts, passing through typical wine villages, until we descend off the plateau towards the river Dordogne. If time allows we will visit a local winemaker who will explain the grape growing process. We arrive in Moncaret, where a super crisp white wine is produced. As a diversion from all the grapes, we visit the ruins of a Roman Villa which overlooks the village; the
excavations have uncovered some fascinating details about daily Roman life in the provinces of Gaul. The rest of the day’s ride follows the Dordogne until we arrive at our Hotel, the Chateau de Sanse. Take time for a swim in the heated pool, or relax on the terrace overlooking a verdant valley with a cold beer or a glass of the local appellation, before an al fresco dinner of gourmet food. The distance cycled today is 57km
We cross the Dordogne and continue downstream to the village of Moncaret in the Montravel wine area. The elegant white wines are made with Semillon, Sauvignon and Muscadelle grapes. Moncaret is also home to a beautiful 11th Century church and is the site of a Roman settlement. This has been excavated and we will visit the fascinating exhibition before lunch. The afternoon is an easy run along the Dordogne, skirting the town of Castillon-La-Bataille, the scene of the last battle of the 100 Years War. Crossing the river we climb to the village of St-Vincent-de-Pertignas and to our hotel at the converted Maison Fort or fortified manor of the Chateau de Naujan. The hotel has its own vineyard and we can visit and sample the Bordeaux appellation wines, and of course appreciate them more fully with dinner. Today’s distance: 45km
An easy day through the vines from the Garonne to the Dordogne. We are now entering the heart of the Bordeaux vineyards, as we arrive in the Libournais. A gentle climb through the Côtes-de-Castillon vineyards sees us into the ancient ramparts of St-Emilion. In addition to its fabulous wines, St-Emilion is one of the prettiest towns in South-West France. Within its ancient walls can be found the 13C Château du Roi and, notably, the Eglise Monolithe – a church, dating from the 8th Century, carved from a single block of rock. We lunch in St-Emilion, then have various options of tasting visits or a wine appreciation course. The famous wines of the surrounding vineyards include Château Cheval Blanc and Château Ausone, the best vintages of which are legendary, with suitably stratospheric prices. We will visit a vineyard before returning to our hotel in St-Vincent to relax by the pool or stroll into the village before visiting a local restaurant for a very special dinner. Total cycling distance covered today is 40km.
We head into the Entre-Deux-Mers wine region – although literally translated the name means ‘between two seas’ the seas in question are in fact the rivers Dordogne and Garonne. The first part of today’s ride is almost wholly on the Roger LaPebie Cycleway, which is a converted railway track. This of course means that hills are not a problem, and navigation is a cinch! The first stop is the Abbaye de Sauve-Majeure. Classified aWorld Heritage Site in 1998 by UNESCO, the abbey was founded in 1079 and was once home to 300 monks. Next to the Abbey is the Maison des Vins des Entre-Deux-Mers, which is a showcase for the white wines of the region. After lunch we head south to cross the river Garonne into the Sauternes wine area. After a tasting at a vineyard specialising in this most highly regarded of desert wines, we head for our Château hotel overlooking the village of Sauternes. The elegant Château d’Arche produces its own dessert wine and was accorded Premier Cru status by the accreditations of 1855. We stroll into the village for a superb dinner gazing out into the vines. Today’s distance: 52km
Cycling northwards we are passing through the vineyards of the Graves region, home to the legendary Château Haut-Brion amongst the many great wines both red and white. We cycle through vines and forests on deserted roads, taking a tasting and visit at a winery of the Graves appellation. Graves has notable reds and a remarkably clear white, achieved by lowering the temperature in the early stages of fermentation so that all the impurities naturally filter out. After lunch we rejoin the La Pebie cycleway, and make our way into Bordeaux itself to complete the week’s journey. Bordeaux has no shortage of attractions, from the beautifully restored 18th century Customs Houses lining the river to the sophisticated shopping along Rue Ste-Catherine. Our last dinner together will be at one of the many gourmet restaurants on which the city prides itself. Distance covered today 56km
After breakfast, another chance to walk around the city, maybe to buy a bottle or two, and to exchange contact details with new friends, before making our way to the station or the airport for the journey home. You may like
to stay on for day or two to explore the city or take a tour of the Medoc peninsular.