The Rising Reds of Bordeaux - Right Bank
For generations, Bordeaux has been known as the most famous winemaking region in the world. Every year, wine lovers from all over the world come to Bordeaux for one simple reason: to visit the 300,000 acres of vineyards that lie outside town and stretch for miles in every direction. And no matter which direction you go, there's an appellation - from the classic reds to the Médoc to the underappreciated whites of Graves and Entre-Deux-Mers; from the unparalleled dessert wines of Sauternes, to the rising reds of the Right Bank's Pomerol and Saint-Émilion.
Winemakers from all over the world have credited the wines of Bordeaux for influencing their personal winemaking style. Although Sunday is usually a day of rest for wineries in Bordeaux, Food & Wine Trails has designed a special experience at three châteaux that produce Grand Cru Classé reds in the Saint-Émilion appellation, considered by some to be the "Capital of Merlot" and possibly the oldest, active wine producing appellation in the region with history dating back to the ancient Romans.
Your day begins with a visit to Château Soutard, run by Claire Thomas-Chenard, a 4th generation winemaker. The beauty of Château Soutard is how it embraces both classic style and modern French art de vivre. You will tour its impressive barrel room equipped with stunning chandeliers before being guided through a vertical tasting spanning 15 years as well as a tasting directly from the barrel.
Continuing in Saint-Émilion, you will travel a short distance to Château Larmande. Also ranked a Grand Cru Classé, Larmande produces 90+ rated wines known for their finesse and purity thanks to their art of blending barrels and amphorae. Here you will learn their secrets as you are guided through a vertical tasting similar to that of Château Soutard.
After your visit and tasting at the winery, you will move on to Château de Ferrand. Built in the 1600's by the Marquis de Mon de Dunes, Château de Ferrand is one of the few estates in Bordeaux to be owned by only two families over the course of its history. In 1978 it was bought by its current owners, the Bich family, known for creating the Bic pen company. Daughter Pauline Bich married Baron Philippe Chandon-Moet of the renowned Champagne house that produces Dom Perignon. Today they manage the Château de Ferrand together and produce St. Emilion Grand Cru wines that are based mostly on Merlot. Upon arrival you will do a brief tour of the estate before sitting down to lunch with a vertical pairing of three estate wines.
After lunch you will venture into the village of Saint-Émilion for a private tour including the underground hermitage and monolithic church before heading back to the ship.