Really, I don’t know where to start on our Bordeaux experience last November. It’s not like we haven’t had amazing experiences traveling before, but this was our first river cruise ever. And it was a river cruise through one of the most famous wine regions of the world! So to say that we had a fantastic time would be an understatement for sure!
For those of you who didn’t happen to make it over with us this trip, I thought I would try to give you a glimpse of the experience through a series of blogs. These blogs will be a little more ‘wine-focused’ simply because that’s what we were doing (and from an interest point of view, this can give you, the reader, a bit more useful wine insight to Bordeaux).
So to start the journey to France this last fall, you need to know that we’ve learned we need to travel several days to Europe just to get over the jet-lag. (Yes, we’re getting older, or as we like to think, more mature (and smarter).)
Tessa, our youngest daughter, also came alone with us as her love of France and travelling is unparalleled.
If you haven’t been to Bordeaux proper, you need to know that it’s a relatively small city near the Atlantic Ocean (50 miles) with a very rich history. It also has an old section of town that is the focus of the city right on the edge of the Garonne River.
However, when you hear about the Bordeaux region, it’s a very large area filled with smaller villages and lots of grapes. In fact, there are a total of 57 appellations making up the greater Bordeaux appellation with some 8,500 wineries of all sizes.
There is some more information you need to know as well to understand the Bordeaux. There are two rivers and an estuary that truly define the region. There is the Dordogne River on the northern side, the Garonne river (by the city of Bordeaux) on the southern side, and they both converge on the western side to form the Gironde estuary heading out to the Atlantic Ocean.
Why is this important? For a whole host of reasons, but starting basically with the concept of Left Bank and Right Bank. Put into your wine memory that it is the Garonne river that separates the Left Bank and the Right Bank. So for example, the Médoc wine region with some of the most famous Chateaux of Bordeaux is on the Left Bank. St. Émillion, famous for Merlot-driven wines, is on the Right Bank.
If you familiarize yourself with the map here, it will really tie together the rest of this series of blogs. That will be your homework before moving on to Part 2 of the blog! Bordeaux-Wine-Map