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Steph’s Travel Diary

Tuesday, 03 Jun 2008

Location: Bordeaux, France

MapWell we knew we were in for some intense wine appreciation in Bordeaux - and looking forward to it as well! The city lives and breathes wine, but it is also a very forward looking and happening place. We started off with a tour on another Petit Tourist Train, just to get a feel for the city, then had a walk along the River Garonne, where we couldn't resist a paddle - feet only - in the water mural.

The next day we had a bus tour of the Blaye and Bourg wine coutnry, including visits to two wineries. It was a great experience to walk through the vieyards and then see the huge concrete vats where they store the wine and let it settle, then the oak barrels where they mature the wine. Oak barrels cost about 600 Euros each and are only good for up to three years, after which all the positive properties they have for enhancing and maturing the wine are lost - the wineries then sell the barrels back to the cooper for just 20 Euros!

We also had a few tastings and bought a bottle of course! As part of the wider Bordeaux wine region there are some pretty strict regulations all wineries must follow - no irrigation of the vines, and no wine can be made from one type of grape - so no bottles are merlot or cab sav, they are always a mixture of grapes and are named for the chateaux, rather than the type of grape.

Back in Bordeaux we paid a visit to the Bar du Vin - the official house of wine for Bordeaux, where we enjoyed a glass of red accompanied with cheeses, meat and bread with sultanas and walnuts - what a feast!