Itinerary Highlights

  • Explore Bordeaux’s city center
  • Visit a contemporary wine museum
  • Start with a bang at Château Margeaux
  • Enjoy tastings at three of Bordeaux’s first-growth châteaux
  • Make your own “bespoke barrel” of wine
  • Tour prehistoric caves with drawings dating back thousands of years

Follow in Our Footsteps

Editor's Itinerary

Duration: 11 Days

Like Burgundy and Napa, Bordeaux is a place that every wine lover should visit at least once. Its varied subregions encompass an area similar in size to California’s Napa and Sonoma counties combined. Each subregion has its own distinct character, making it fun and fascinating to compare and contrast. I find that it’s much easier to understand and appreciate a wine if I’ve experienced the place where it comes from.

This itinerary includes tastings in all of Bordeaux’s most important communes: Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Émilion, Pomerol, Pessac-Léognan and Sauternes. I cannot think of a better introduction to one of the world’s greatest wine regions.

The journey starts with some time in the city of Bordeaux, which has emerged from a 20-year-long clean-up and restoration, removing the soot and grime from the majestic limestone architecture in its historic core. Its harmonious neoclassical heart is at once grand and inviting. It wouldn’t be difficult to while away a week in its museums, wine bars and café table-dotted squares. Indeed, this itinerary goes quickly, allowing for just one or two winery visits in each subregion. If you can allow more time than I’ve suggested below, you will find it well-spent.

I always respected Bordeaux, even before I visited in person. But only after tasting wines in the châteaux themselves and experiencing the region’s warm hospitality — it is surprisingly free of snobbery — did I finally fall deeply in love with it.