A Bordeaux Cruise Update

Madroña Vineyards 2018 River Cruise
Cruise Only: November 15-22, 2018
Paris Pre-Cruise Tour + Loire Valley Post Cruise Tour: November 13-25, 2018

Maggie & Paul

Have you made your plans to join us for this outstanding River Cruise yet?  Our Madroña is now 32 people strong!  NOTE: November is off-season, usually with mild weather in southwest France. There is now a $1,000 per cabin ($500 per person) discount for our Madroña group.  You must book through our tour operator Expanding Horizons to be part of the Madroña Vineyards Group.

Are there any singles out there wanting to go?  We have had a lovely club member inquire if there were others who might want to share a room?  Let us know and we will introduce you!

Here are some highlights that the tour company has provided us.  I wish I could write about these places intimately, but there are places we have yet to explore in our personal travels.  But we are certainly excited by what it planned!


Day 3 of our Madrona Bordeaux Rivers Cruise visits Pauillac, in the heart of the Medoc region, home to 60 Grand Cru vineyards.

St. Emilion vineyard and medieval ruinIn 1855, Emperor Napoleon III requested a classification system of France’s best Bordeaux wines for the World Exhibition in Paris.  Rankings were determined by esteemed wine brokers, factoring each winery’s reputation and trading price. The highest classification “Grand Cru” was also split into five divisions, First through Fifth Growth. Just four wines rated the highest rank of “Premier Cru”: Chateau Latour, Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau Margaux and Chateau Haut-Brion.  In 1973 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild was added.

St. Emilion wine shop (2)There are 61 wines classified as great.  All but one comes from the Medoc region.  The lone exception is Chateau Haut-Brion, which lies across the Gironde Estuary in Graves.

We will enjoy tastings at Grand Cru wineries like Chateau de Ferrand, Chateau Rayne de Vigneau (Sauternes) and Chateau Leoville-Poyferre.  We’ll also walk through St. Emilion and the daunting Chateau Mouton-Rothschild.  There’s still time to join us!


After spending the morning in Blaye, our fourth port of call is Bourg, a petite and once mighty hamlet on the Dordogne River.  This is a fairy tale looking village, very popular with visitors.

Bourg (view from the water)Historically, the cities of Blaye and Bourg walked hand-in-hand through the Middle Ages.  Bourg held a prominent position as a defensive fortress, sitting at the confluences of the Dordogne and Garonne Rivers.   From on high, Bourg cannons could directly fire on incoming ships of invaders.  There is a massive underground cavern here, converted to fuel storage in WWII.  Bourg was used by the Germans as a huge, strategic fuel depot for their ships and submarines.

Bourg VineyardThis is the heart of the Cotes de Bourg appellation, producing a dry, white Bordeaux wine.  Unique to the area are plantings of white Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes.  Roc de Cambes is generally considered the best wine in the region.
Enjoy a guided walk here, followed by a wine tasting with entertainment.  See the open-walled covered pool where women of the Middle Ages did household laundry.  If you feel active, walk down the King’s Stairway from the upper village of Bourg, some, 500 steps to the port below.

To see complete information and register online visit:  www.toursandwine.com/madrona

If you have any questions, please contact Marie Cradle at our tour operator, Expanding Horizons of Tustin, CA: Marie@Expanding-Horizons.com  Tel: 1-714-975-9943

See you in France mes amis!

 Paul & Maggie Bush 

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