Bordeaux - ITINERARY

Total Immersion in Bordeaux

The Wine and Culinary Tour: World Class Wines and Exquisite French Cuisine

10 Days: Tuesday, September 03, 2019 - Thursday, September 12, 2019
Accommodation: 9 nights:
Night 1: Tuesday, Sept 03:

Grand Hôtel Français in Bordeaux, a refinded lodging in an 18th century mansion right in the center of old town Bordeaux with highly comfortable rooms, in walking distance to all interesting places.

Nights 2 + 3: Wednesday, Sept 04 and Thursday, Sept 05:

Au Logis des Remparts in Saint-Emilion, a very charming, well tended historic 3plus star, upscale boutique hotel in the heart of UNESCO world heritage wine town Saint-Emilion with a stunning garden, beautiful views on the vineyards and a gorgeous outdoor pool.

Nights 4 + 5: Friday, Sept 06 and Saturday, Sept 07:

Grand Hôtel Français in Bordeaux.

Night 6: Sunday, Sept 08:

Relais de Margaux in Margaux, a 4 star resort, spa, and golf hotel in a former late 19th century wine château, just in the back yard of famous Château Margaux.

Nights 7 + 8: Monday, Sept 09; Tuesday, Sept 10:

Hotel Le Vignoble-France et Angleterre, Pauillac, a very well equipped, privately owned 3 star hotel in the heart of the Médoc region, right on the waterfront of the Gironde estuary.

Night 9: Wednesday, Sept 11:

Grand Hôtel Français in Bordeaux.


DAY 1: Tuesday, September 03

Arrival in Bordeaux, check-in at Grand Hôtel Français.


Welcome drink and introduction to the Bordeaux wine region in the Grand Hotel Français in Bordeaux city.
Winery tour and tasting at Château La Mission Haut-Brion, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé.

This year’s tour of the Bordelais starts with a big bang. We are going to visit one of the most highly regarded Châteaux. The history of this Château is also closely intertwined with American heritage. It was founded in 1533, the same year as the neighboring Château Haut-Brion. In 1607 Château La Mission Haut-Brion was bequeathed to the Congregation of the Mission and became the property of the Roman Catholic Church. Napoleon’s secularization policies made it possible that a family from Louisana purchased the estate in 1815. In 1935 the American Clarence Dillon -also with roots in Louisana- purchased the next door estate Château Haut-Brion and later founded the Domaine Clarence Dillon. In 1983 the Domaine Clarence Dillon purchased Château La Mission Haut-Brion. Today Prince Robert of Luxembourg (great-grandson of Clarence Dillion, grandson of C. Douglas Dillon –US Secretary of the Treasury in the 60s, son of Joan Dillon who married Prince Charles of Luxembourg) is President of Domaine Clarence Dillon. General Manager is Jean-Philippe Delmas, 3rd Delmas generation being responsible for the Domaine Clarence Dillon Châteaux. Château Haut-Brion as well as La Mission Haut-Brion produce red and white wines. At La Mission 98% of the production is red wine, 2 % is white. 6 times Robert Parker awarded La Mission Haut-Brion 100 Parker points. In 2009 Liv-Ex (the world’s most important wine exchange) reviewed the 1855 classification and recommended that Château Haut-Brion should be elevated to Premier Grand Cru Classé, just as Mouton-Rothschild was elevated ito this status in 1973.



Dinner and wine at Restaurant L’Estacade in Bordeaux.

The restaurant literally sits on the Garonne river opposite of Bordeaux city center. The view on the illuminated Place de la Bourse is breathtaking and makes you fall in love with Bordeaux right away.

DAY 2: Wednesday, September 04


Arrival at Maison Maison Ginestet in Carignan-de-Bordeaux. Tour of the warehouse, and lecture.

This is a fitting introduction to “Bordeaux” and is to make your mouth watering of anticipation what lies ahead of you by looking at all the cases brimming with wines of the many chateaux we are going to visit.

In Bordeaux wine merchants have always played a decisive part in the wine world. The buying and selling of wine, the setting of a price of a bottle of wine from a specific chateau for a specific vintage, the entire conduct of business is described as „La Place de Bordeaux“. The wine trade in Bordeaux goes back many centuries to the time when Aquitaine was English. Since then, set rules that appear mysterious to the outsider have been in place. We will visit a Bordeaux lover’s paradise, a prominent wine merchant where millions of bottles of top Bordeaux wines are stored and waiting to be shipped. A stroll through the vast storage rooms feels like being a kid in a candy store. We will be introduced to the rules, regulations, and peculiarities of the “Place de Bordeaux“. Maison Ginestet belongs to the small circle of ‘great Bordeaux wine houses. They sell and ship 15 million bottles of wine to around 70 countries worldwide. Besides being a “négociant” Maison Ginestet produces every day wine from bought fruit; they also own 350 hectar (825 acres!) in eight appellations around France; and they own three classified Châteaux – among them the second growth Gruaud-Larose – where they produce wines of top quality. 

Winery and vineyard tour at Château Beauséjour, Appellation Puisseguin Saint-Emilion.

For centuries the beautiful Château Beauséjour and the impressive Château Langais have been in the possession of the Dupuy family. Gérard Dupuy, the current owner, and his partner Claire will show us around. They have done extensive renovations of this old estate. Alain Dupuy, Gérard's father was a pioneer in organic winemaker in Bordeaux. Since 1947 Alain Dupuy has been convinced that the best wines stem from vineyards and cellars that are managed acroecologically, in harmony with the ecosystem. Since 1996 the Château is certified organic by “Ecocert”. Gérard will show us his vineyards and will explain to us his methods of biodynamic vineyard management.



Wine pairing lunch at Château Beauséjour, Appellation Puisseguin Saint-Emilion.

We will enjoy a wonderful 3 course luncheon matched with the wines of Château Beauséjour in the newly renovated dining area at the château that served as the horse barn in the old days. Gérard Dupuis and his wife Claire will have lunch with us, and will talk about their wines. Gérard’s good friend is an excellent chef who used to run a restaurant in the vicinity of Saint-Emilion and he will prepare the meal. We will experience true, warm French hospitality when meeting the Dupuy family and by sharing this meal with them.



Winery tour and tasting at Château Fourtet, Appellation Saint-Émilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé B.

The history of Château Clos Fourtet goes back as far as the Middle Ages, some even say to Roman times. A defensive settlement was built to protect the town of Saint-Emilion and at the site of Clos Fourtet a military camp was constructed. From the 17th to the 19th century what is now Clos Fourtet was known as Campfourtet. The first vines were planted in the 17th century. The estate changed hands several times. In 2001 it was purchased by Philippe Cuvelier, a wealthy businessman from Paris. Today his son Matthieu Cuvelier is running the estate. He hired Stéphane Derenoncourt as oenological consultant. Stéphane Drenoncourt is also consultant at Boxwood winery in Middleburg, Virginia. Château Clos Fourtet is located at the entrance of Saint-Emilion and the vineyards are just outside of town starting on the limestone plateau, on which Saint-Emilion sits, and slope down to the plains of clay to the west. The 50 acres of vineyards are planted with 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet-Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet-Franc.

Check in at hotel Au Logis des Remparts in Saint-Emilion.

This hotel is a gem. The rooms are modern and very tastefully decorated. It also has a beautiful garden and quite a big pool. It provides for total peace, tranquility, and fresh air.

The rest of the late afternoon and the early evening is free for you to take a first look at this beautiful, medieval village of Saint-Émilion. Dinner is on you own.



An English speaking guide will meet us at the Tourist Information Center and will lead us on a walking sightseeing tour through the beautiful town of Saint-Emilion.

By this time it is already night. Our guide will lead us on a nocturnal walking sightseeing tour. Everyone in our group will have a lantern, so that we do not trip walking over the uneven cobblestones. We will also visit the underground monuments and the spectacular monolith church hewn into the rock the town rests on.

DAY 3: Thursday, September 05


Winery tour and tasting at Château La Conseillante, Appellation Pomerol.

The is one of the estates belonging to the upper echelon of Pomerol. The beginnings of Château La Conseillante go back to the mid 18th century. Madame Catherine Conseillan was owner and in charge of the estate and gave it its name. She had no heirs and the estate passed to relatives, was sold and bought a couple times and finally found its masters in the Nicolas family. It was Louis Nicolas, owner of a négociant business in Libourne, who purchased Château La Conseillante in 1871. Since then it has been continuously passed on to the next generation of the family and today the 5th generation is at the helm. In 1971 the estate underwent a thorough renovation and it was here that stainless steel, temperature controlled vats for fermentation were introduced. A second major renovation was completed in 2012 and concrete tanks were installed. This estate is relatively small – but typical for the right bank – compared with the châteaux on the left bank. 30 acres of vineyards belong to the château and 80% is planted with Merlot and the rest predominantly with Cabernet Franc. In 2015 a new director came on board, Marielle Cazaux, who studied enology at Bordeaux and was the director at neighboring Chateau Petit-Village before joining le team at La Conseillante. I personally love the La Conseillante wines; they are elegant, sensuous and harmonious.

Winery tour at Château Le Bon Pasteur, Appellation Pomerol.

Pomerol is a tiny winegrowing region, located on the pilgrim road to Santiago de Compostela. Wine has been produced here since Roman times. Later the Knights of the Order of Malta cultivated the vines. In the Middle Ages, these knights established the Commanderie de Pomerol, which still exists today. Château Le Bon Pasteur was acquired by the Rolland family around 1920. The grandson of the original owner, Michel Rolland, well known around the world as “flying winemaker” and wine consultant, and his wife Dany, also an oenologist, created a model vineyard and produce outstanding wines.



We will have a fabulous three course gourmet lunch with wine pairing at the Château.

A luncheon at this estate is always a treat, and also a lot of fun. Dany Rolland is a phenomenal hostess. Besides the excellent meal and the great wines, the table decoration is always an eye candy. She goes out of her way to creatively decorate the table with seasonal flowers, leaves, etc.



Winery tour and tasting at Château Villemaurine, Appellation Saint-Emilion, Grand Cru Classé.

Château Villemaurine can look back on a history that goes back to the 7th century. During this century the Moors set up an entrenchement camp at this site called « Ville Maure », which eventually became « Villemaurine ». In 1874 the « Feret » (Bordeaux’s wine directory) mentioned Château Villemaurine as a « Saint-Emilion First Growth ». In 2007 the château was purchased by Justin Onclin, who immediatley invested heavily and modernized the winemaking facilities. Today Château Villemaurine is member of the exclusive « Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux ». The château sits right on the fringe of the town of Saint-Emilion, thus the terroir of its vineyards is clay and limestone. Due to its situation Château Villemaurine possesses an amazing network of quarries, -just like the ones we saw when we visited the undergound of Saint-Emilion- in which their wines age. The quarries strech over 17 acres four levels deep.



Back at hotel.

The rest of the day is free for you to explore the narrow cobble stone streets of the spectacular medieval town of Saint-Emilion - a UNESCO world heritage site - perched on the edge of a plateau. There are also many wine shops and a fantastic “Maison du Vin” that provides for an excellent overview of Saint-Emilion wines. Dinner on your own.

DAY 4: Friday, September 06


We will drive through the rolling hills of the “Entre deux Mer” wine region to Barsac in the Sauternes region.
Winery tour and tasting at Château d'Yquem, Appellation Sauterne, Premier Grand Cru Classé Supérieur.

Château d’Yquem has a long history going back to medieval times. It was in 1477 that the property came into being as one of the premier wine producing entities in the Sauterne region when Ramon Felipe Eyquem who had made a fortune as a herring and wine merchant bought the estate. Château d’Yquem passed by marriage to the Lur-Saluces family, one of the most influential aristocratic families of France. The Château stayed in the family for more than 300 years until 1996 when Count Alexandre de Lur-Saluces lost the majority of shares to Bernard Arnault, France's richest man and head of the luxury goods group LVMH Louis Vuitton-Möet-Hennessy. Bernard Arnault appointed Pierre Lurton as Managing Director (he is the brother of Bérénice Lurton, owner of Château Climens, whom we will meet later this morning). Château d’Yquem currently has 270 acres of vineyards planted with 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. At Yquem a system of ongoing planting is in use. Each year 5 to 10 acres are cleared and, after a year during which the soil is left fallow, these are replanted, the new vine stock sourced from the estate's own vineyard by massal selection. This means the vineyard overall has an average age of 30 years, but will of course include some vines much older than that.

Winery tour and tasting at Château Climens, Appellation Barsac-Sauterne, Premier Grand Cru Classé.

Château Climens was first mentioned in 1547. Since then only five families called Château Climens their home, with the Lurton family being the last owner when Lucien Lurton bought the estate in 1971. In 1992 Bérénice Lurton, Lucien Lurton’s youngest daughter took over the reins at Château Climens. The estate sits on the highest point in the Barsac appellation and is surrounded by 75 acres of vineyard. The vineyard is entirely planted with Semillion - unusual for a Sauterne – which gives the Climens wines its racy complexity and freshness. Work in the vineyard is based on biodynamic principles and in 2011 Château Climens received the biodyvin certification.



Wine pairing lunch at Château Climens.

We will learn that an ultra sweet Sauterne can be wonderful with a meal. Bérénice will teach us to match Sauterne wines with the exquisite multi course meal prepared by 1-Michelin star chef Claude Darroze, who’s restaurant is in Langon, not far from Château Climens.



Winery tour and tasting at Vignobles Gonet-Médeville in Preignac.

Current owners of Vignobles Gonet-Médeville are Julie and Xavier Gonet-Médeville. They are known as the French First Wine couple. They come from two well-known wine families: Xavier Gonet (from the Champagne house in Le Mesnil-sur-Oger) and Julie Médeville (from Preignac in Sauternes – most notably Chateau Gilette). Vignobles Gonet-Médeville is a multi-property winery acquired by the family over time: Julie Gonet-Médeville Bordeaux Supérieur Cru Monplaisir is a blend of 75 percent Merlot with the rest Cabernet Sauvgnon and a drop of Cab-Franc. The Domaines des Justices Bordeaux Supérieur (Red and White) is sourced from a vineyard in Preignac. The Château Respide-Médeville Graves (Red and White) is sourced from 37 acres of vineyards in Toulene owned by Julie Gonet-Médeville's parents since the 1970s. The Château des Eyrins Margaux is sourced from a small 7.2 acre parcel in the Margaux appellation and has 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, the rest is Merlot and a drop of Petit Verdot. The Château Les Justices Sauternes (95% Sémillon, 5% Sauvignon Blanc) is made in stainless steel, atypical in Sauterne "With botrytis, we don't need help from oak and we keep the freshness," said Julie Gonet-Médeville. Château Gilette is the flagship of the vignobles Gonet-Médeville. This is an old-school Sauterne sourced from an 11-acre clos located near the cemetery in Preignac. Of course we will also taste a Champagne made by Julie’s husband.



Check in at Grand Hôtel Français in Bordeaux.

The hotel is located right in the city center. Everything is easily accessible by walking.

Evening on your own.

The evening is free for you to discover the vibrant city of Bordeaux. It is fascinating to wander through the narrow streets lined with restaurants and wine bars always full to the brim with hungry and thirsty folks.


DAY 5: Saturday, September 07


Winery tour and tasting at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé.

The noble Bosq family started growing grapes here as early as 1365. The property was purchased in the 18th century by Scotsman George Smith, who gave the estate its present name. He also built the manor house and exported his – by now famous – wine to England on his own ships. Current owners are Florence and Daniel Cathiard. Both Florence and Daniel were professional skiers belonging to the French Olympic ski team in the mid 60s (with triple gold medal legend at the 1968 Winter Olympics Jean-Claude Killy). After their career in sports, Daniel built a supermarket and sporting goods store imperium and Florence an advertising agency. In 1990 they bought Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte with the wealth generated by the sale of all their assets. Daniel and Florence Cathiard invested heavily, restored buildings, replaced vats, constructed a new barrel cellar, converted vineyard practices to sustainable farming and paid detailed attention to hand picking, sorting, and practices in the cellar. They brought the quality of Smith-Haut-Lafitte wines to the level for which they were once renowned.



Three course lunch menu with wine at restaurant La Table du Lavoir.

This restaurant belongs to Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte. This 18th century wooden building used to be the laundry room where the clothes of the vineyard workers and pickers were washed. Now it serves traditional Bordelais cuisine at its best.



Back in the city of Bordeaux.

The rest of the afternoon and the evening is free to enjoy the city of Bordeaux on your own. It’s a Saturday, so all businesses are open. Dinner is on your own. I will check the cultural event schedule closer to the date to give you some recommendations should someone be interested in visiting a concert, opera, etc.


DAY 6: Sunday, September 08


Drive to the western shore of the Basin d' Arcachon to Cap Ferret.

Cap Ferret, the oyster farm town, sits on the tip of the strip of land that shelters the Bassin d’Arcachon from the open waters of the Atlantic.

Arrival in Grand-Piquey, where we visit the Earl Ostrea Chanca oyster farm.

Ralph Doerfler loved the weekend family outings to visit his grandparents at their cabana on the Arcachon Bay when he was a child. It was then that he fell in love with the sandy beaches of the bay, the life style away from the hustle and bustle of Bordeaux city, and the smell and taste of oysters. Growing up he decided to study and learn everything there is to know about oysters. Ralph will show us how he raises his oysters. You can ask him any question and he will explain the entire circle of oyster farming. He will chuck the oysters and will let us taste. Delicious! These oysters are the freshest you can get. They come right out of water in front of your eyes.



Lunch (beverages on your own) at Pinasse Café.

Enjoy the restaurant which sits right on the water and provides for gorgeous views over the bay, the oyster farms and the village of Arcachon and the Dunes de Pilat, the largest in Europe, in the distance.
After lunch you have time to wet your feet in the water, or simply indulge in the view with a nice glass of wine.



Arrival and check-in at hotel Relais de Margaux in Margaux.

This hotel complex sits right in the backyard of Château Margaux. It's vast lawns sprawl up to the wall that surrounds the château grounds. Time to relax, to enjoy the spa, or to try the nice lap pool. Dinner is on your own. The hotel has a very nice restaurant and a fabulous wine bar with a fantastic list of top Bordeaux wines for very reasonable prices.

DAY 7: Monday, September 09


Winery tour and tasting at Château Lascombes, Appellation Margaux, 2ième Grand Cru Classé.

Given its history this is a very interesting Château to visit. In the late 17th century the estate belonged to the Chevalier de Lascombes, hence the name. Since then the Château passed through a succession of owners some more successful than others. In 1855 it was awarded the status of a second growth. Since then for most of the time it had been considered an underperformer in relation to its classification. In 1952 the estate was purchased by the flamboyant Russian-French wine writer and wine connoisseur Alexis Lichine and a syndicate of American investors that included David Rockefeller. Alexis Lichine laid the ground-work for the rehabilitation of Château Lascombes by greatly improving the vineyards with his expertise and commitment. It was only in 2001 that the Château Lascombes as we know it today came into being. That year The Amercian pension fund Capital Colony purchased the estate and completely turned it around by investing € 35 mil in the renovation of equipment, cellars, vineyards, etc. Dominique Befve was hired as General Manager and Michel Rolland as Oenologist. In 2011 Château Lascombes was acquired by the French insurance company MACSF. The new owners have retained the Capital Colony winemaking team, including Dominique Befve. Château Lascombes is with 225 acres of vineyards one of the largest classified estates in the Médoc.

Cellar tour and tasting at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron, Appellation Pauillac, 2ième Grand Cru Classé.

The history of this estate can be traced back to the late 16-hundreds and matches the history of its twin estate across the street, Pichon-Longueville-Comtesse de Lalande, until the Pichon estate became divided in 1850 due to inheritance circumstances under the Napoleonic laws. Château Pichon-Baron (for short) stayed in the de Pichon-Longueville family until 1933 when the last surviving family member sold it to Jean Bouteiller, member of a family well-known in the Bordeaux wine scene. His heirs did not manage to keep the quality of the wines and in 1987 the estate was bought by AXA Millésimes, whose goal was to enable great wines from vineyards with a glorious past to achieve their full potential. Total reconstruction of the fermenting room and cellars, and renovation of the château itself, began in 1988. Excellent terroir across from the 1st growth Latour property, stretching south bordering the Léoville estates in Saint-Julien gives the wines elegance, balance, and finesse. The elegance of the wines in combination with the beautiful, graceful Château, which is one of the most stunning ones in the Médoc, make this estate very special.



Following the tour we will have a private lunch at Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron.

We will be greeted in the beautiful salon with a Champagne and then move to the dining room where we will enjoy an excellent gourmet meal matched with the fabulous Pichon-Longueville-Baron wines.

Arrival and check-in at Hotel/Restaurant Le Vignoble-France et Angleterre in Pauillac.

The hotels sits right at the waterfront of the Gironde estuary. The rest of the afternoon is free. Time to visit the “Maison du Vin” not far from the hotel on the other side of the street

Winery tour and tasting at Château Lynch-Bages, Appellation Pauillac, 5ième Grand Cru Classé.

This history of the estate reflects the interesting history of English and French rule in Aquitaine. The original owners, the Lynch family from Ireland, could trace back their roots to an ancestor who was a companion of William the Conqueror. Without an heir, in 1824 the estate was sold and was in the hands of two other families before the Cazes family took over the property in 1933. Since then, the Cazes family has developed the estate with passion and tenacity and started an in-depth modernization in the 1980s. They are committed to making the most of the terroir, and are devoted to attain the ultimate in quality and prestige of a classified growth. There also is a very interesting museum at the premises that displays historic wine making tools



Dinner (beverages on your own) at restaurant Le Salamandre.

This restaurant is right next door to our hotel.


DAY 8: Tuesday, September 10


Drive to the village of Vertheuil.

Along the route we will pass the famous Châteaux Lafite Rothschild as well as Cos d’Estournel.

Visit of the cooperage Berger & Fils.

We will witness the fascinating art of making a barrique. We will see every step in making a barrel. Someone of the staff will have the staves ready and will show us the entire process, from forming the barrel, to the toasting, to labeling of the lid of the finished barrel. Berger & Fils is one of the top notch cooperages in France. It is a small family enterprise, founded by the father of the current owner and everyone working there strives to make the best and perfect barrique for the wine to ferment and mature to perfection.

Winery tour and tasting at Château Lafon-Rochet, Appellation Saint-Estèphe, 4ième Grand Cru Classé.

This Château features some of the finest vineyards in the world. It is situated in the small appellation Saint-Estèphe and is sandwiched between two prominent neighbors: Cos-d’Estournel on the other side of the street and Lafite-Rothschild, separated only by a small dirt track, and visible across the vineyard that belongs to Lafon-Rochet. Since the 16th century this Château makes excellent wines and had been in the hands of the Lafon family for almost 300 years. In 1895 the phylloxera disaster forced the family to sell Château Lafon-Rochet. A period of a rapid succession of several disinterested owners followed until Guy Tesseron (who also bought Château Pontet-Canet) acquired the Château in the 1960s. He and then his son Michel brought Lafon-Rochet back to its former glory. The new generation is now at the helm and Basile Tesseron is energetically pursuing quality control. He recently made major investments, renovated the cellar and installed konkav shaped temperature controlled concret vats for fermentation (see picture).



Lunch menu and wine at the restaurant Le Peyrat in Saint-Estèphe right on the banks of the Gironde.

It cannot get more French! Experience the true French everyday "savoir-vivre". This unassuming, very typical French restaurant is always packed for lunch, because it is the favorite hangout for the winemakers of the neighboring chateaux. Last time we bumped into the winemakers of Sociando-Mallet (see picture), who offered us to try their gorgeous 2005 Sociando-Mallet which they had brought to accompany their lunch.



Winery tour and tasting at Château Phelan Ségur, Appellation Saint-Estèphe.

Château Phélan-Ségur is beautifully situated in the village of Saint-Estèphe with a spectacular view over the Gironde estuary. Its origins date back to the end of the 18th century when a young Irish wine broker, Bernard Phelan, settled in Bordeaux, and eventually bought two wine producing estates which he merged to become Château Phélan-Ségur. In 1810 he built the magnificent, imposing Château that remains practically unchanged today. Château Phélan-Ségur is a fairly large estate with 175 acres of vineyards. The Phélan-Ségur wines are known for their immense complexity that is due to the great diversity of the terroir. Very recently - in late 2017 - Château Phélan-Ségur was acquired by Belgian businessman Philippe Van de Vyvere. General Manager Véronique Dausse and the rest of the team will remain in place under the new ownership, including maître de chai Fabrice Bacquey and consulting enologist Michel Rolland.

Winery tour and tasting at Château Le Reysse, Vignobles Paeffgen, Appellation Médoc Controlée.

The Médoc sits north of St.-Estèphe, downstream on the Gironde estuary and embraces Pauillac and Saint-Julien to the west. Château Le Reysse was run by Patrick Chaumont, the second generation owner, for several decades. In 2010 Château Le Reysse was bought by Stefan Paeffgen (see picture), who holds a Doctorate in agricultural science and who in another life worked in the agriculture industry in his home country Germany and in Scandinavia. He always had a passion for the wines of the Médoc and at age 46, he was at a crossroad and made the decision to go back to practical agriculture. He searched for a winery and finally found this beautiful spot in Bégadan. He now owns four smaller win estates. Stefan and Heike Paeffgen, who also is an agricultural scientist, are very much in tune with nature and farm the vineyards ecologically. Château Le Reysse is the family's home. Stefan makes stunning wines and his wine of Château Clos du Moulin was awarded the Cru Bourgois classification.



Following the tour we will enjoy a family supper with charcuterie, cheese, baguette, wines at Château Le Reysse.

Hopefully the weather will allow us to sit outside in the romantic garden.

DAY 9: Wednesday, September 11


Winery tour and tasting at Château Léoville-Barton, Appellation Saint-Julien, 2ième Grand Cru Classé.

The story of all three Léoville estates begins when the Dutch drained the marshland in the Medoc to create more land. It was in 1638 when Léoville, one of the first estates in the Médoc was founded in Saint-Julien. In the course of the riots and commotion of the French Revolution the big Léoville estate was confiscated in 1794 and later divided into smaller entities. Château Léoville-Barton exists as its own domain since 1826, when Hugh Barton was able to purchase one part of the former Léoville property. The Barton family was already well known in Bordeaux. Thomas Barton had left his native Ireland 100 years ago in 1722. He and his heirs had established themselves in the Bordeaux wine trade as able businessmen. The Château is still the property of the Barton family who can look back on 300 years of continuous work in the Bordeaux wine business. Today it is the 9th generation, Lillian Barton Sartorius, running the estate. The 10th generation, oenologist Mélanie Barton Sartorius and commerce and business expert Damien Barton Sartorius, is well prepared to take over eventually. Besides Château Léoville Barton the family also owns Château Langoa Barton, the first wine estate bought by Hugh Barton in 1822 and Chateau Mauvesin Barton in Moulis (Médoc), a domaine that was purchased by the family in 2011.

Winery tour and tasting at Château Kirwan, Appellation Margaux, 3ième Grand Cru Classé.

Châteaux Kirwan exists since the late 17th century. In 1710 Sir John Collingwood, a wine merchant, bought the property and established it as working vineyard. His daughter married an Irishman, Mark Kirwan and hence the name was born. Thomas Jefferson visited the châteaux in 1780 and had the highest praises for its wines. After Mark Kirwans’s death Camille Godard, a botanist and later the Mayor of Bordeaux, purchased the estate. His interest in the wines of Châteaux Kirwan was somewhat limited, and at the turn of the century it was sold at auction, and acquired by the négociant firm Schroder & Schyler. Since 1950 Jean-Henry Schyler has invested heavily in the châteaux and the vineyards, built a new barrel cellar, and brought Châteaux Kirwan back to its former glory. Today the châteaux is managed by the next generation Yann, Natalie and Sophie Schyler. We will enjoy a wine pairing light luncheon at the Château. Natalie Schyler will be our host.



Picnic style lunch at Château Kirwan.

We will enjoy a light luncheon at the château accompagnied by the Kirwan wines. If weather permits we will have a picnic under the trees in the park. The French cannot just have a quick meal. Even this "picnic" lunch is elegant and very tasty.



Check in at Grand Hôtel Français in Bordeaux.

Time to relax or do last minute shopping before we head out to our last winery visit and farewell dinner.



Winery tour at Château Haut-Bailly, Graves, Appellation Pessac-Léognan, Grand Cru Classé.

At Château Haut-Bailly wine has been produced for more than five centuries. Like many Bordeaux estates, the property changed owners multiple times over the centuries. However, three owner families put their mark on the estate. In 1630 it was bought by the Le Bailly family which eventually gave the estate its name. In those days the château had about 80 acres under vine, roughly the same as today. There were many ups and downs during the centuries and by the 1950s the estate was in a sorry state. A wine merchant from Belgium, Daniel Sanders, bought the château in 1955 and started intensive renovations. His efforts proofed him right and Château Haut-Bailly was one of the 16 wine producers awarded with the Grand Cru Classé certification in the 1959 classification of the Graves estates. In 1998, Elisabeth and Robert G. Wilmers – he is an American banker, she is French – bought Château Haut-Bailly and spared no expenses to invest in the vineyards, winery, and the château to give the estate the possibility to keep producing top quality wines. Château Haut-Bailly is managed by Véronique Sanders, fourth generation of the Sanders family. Véronique Sanders and Robert G. Wilmers work hand in hand sharing the goal to produce top notch wines of outstanding character.

Following the winery tour we will enjoy a four course wine pairing gourmet dinner in the beautiful private quarters of Château.

We will start with Champagne either outside on the terrace or in the living room depending on the weather. If the weather is cold the ancient fire place will be burning to heat up the old castle walls. We will then proceed to the dining room and will be served a meal – worthy of a Michelin-star - prepared by the private chef. This exclusive dinner celebration in the private living quarters of the owner will be the perfect finale of our wine and gourmet tour.

After dinner fun in the kitchen.

After dinner we will have the opportunity to tour the kitchen to personally thank the chef for his inspirational menu.

DAY 10: Thursday, September 12

Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

This is our last activity together. After breakfast the tour ends.




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