In August 2018 we had the opportunity to travel to one of the most renowned wine regions in the world, Bordeaux, France. We traveled on a river cruise on the Garrone and Dordogne Rivers aboard the beautiful Ama Waterways AmaDolce. As wine lovers, this was the trip of a lifetime. Our cruise was a Wine specific cruise where all meals included specifically paired wines. We also enjoyed wine tasting events on board in addition to tasting at wineries. We learned so much about this region, visited some amazing wineries, vineyards and castles and of course enjoyed magnificent food and wine along the way. We hope you enjoy a few highlights of this journey in this travelog.
Our first stop was Cadillac, where we visted the impressive Castle of Roquetaillade, an amazingly preserved masterpiece of medieval military architecture owned by the same noble family for 700 years. Afterwards, we traveled to the Sauternes wine region to Château de Rayne Vigneau to taste the highly prized golden-hued sweet wines produced here.
Next, we traveled up the river to Pauillac, a lovely village on the Left Bank of the Gironde Estuary. It is known as the gateway to the famed Médoc region renowned for producing some of the world’s finest Bordeaux wines. Driving through this are we passed by some of the most beautiful and famous wine estates, including Château Latour, Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Lafite Rothschild and Château Pichon Longueville. We had the opportunity to visit Château Léoville Poyferré and wandered through the vineyards and enjoyed a tasting of their Grand Cru wines. Lastly we had the chance to walk the grounds and vineyards of historic Château Margeaux.
Next stop Blaye and Bourg…..While in Blaye, we took a bike ride through the idyllic French countryside. We rode though many vineyards along the way, it was simply breathtaking. During lunch our boat cruised to the ancient village of Bourg As we sailed we enjoyed one of the many on-board wine tastings. While in Bourg we were treated to the hospitality of this charming medieval village with an exclusive wine festival complete with live French music, dancing, wine and hors d’oeuvres.
Our next stop was Libourne which provides a gateway to one of Bordeaux’s most elite wine regions, Saint-Émilion, known for its picturesque architecture, monuments and celebrated vineyards. We started our day with a blind wine tasting on-board with our cruise wine hosts. After lunch, we enjoyed a winery tour and wine tasting in the Pomerol Region at Château de Ferrand which has been owned by the Bich (the Bic pen family) family for over a century. Their winery uses state of the art cement fermentation tanks which are quite impresive. Afterwards we visited historic Saint Émilion, and explored the monolithic church carved out of one piece of limestone rock, and went under the church to see its catacombs and caves. After a long day, we were able to share a bottle of vintage brut with a few of our Wine Club member traveling companions.
While still in Libourne, we had the opportunity the magnificent Château de Vayres, one of the most prestigious historic buildings of Aquitaine, the estate is meticulously maintained with extensive grounds right on the river. Later in the day, we visited the Château de la Riviere in Fronsac, where we tasted some of the regional wines in their grand tasting room. All their wines are stored underground cellars of 25 kilometers of tunnels from bottling to sale. these tunnels are so amazing, there are small rooms throughout with “built in” stone table and chairs, as well as The property also operates as a B&B with just 5 rooms for part of the year and has magnificent gardens and grounds on the river. This was one of the favorite places our group visited.
Back on the ship after a long day of tasting…. yes, another wine tasting!
We spent our final day of the cruise in the breathtaking capital of the wine world, Bordeaux. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and classified as a “City of Art and History.” We had the opportunity to experience much of the rich culture and architecture on a city tour followed by a visit to the Bordeaux Cité du Vin (Wine Museum) which is housed in an awe-inspiring building with many interactive exhibits We took the opportunity to enjoy a wine tasting on the roof top bar and enjoy some magnificent views of the city.