Bordeaux is known for the wines that bear its name. A craft which has helped the city’s economy flourish for centuries. However, wine long remained a speciality of discreet professionals, confined to their Châteaux, for winegrowers, or hidden in their Chartrons offices for traders and brokers.
But times have changed. Viticulture is now making itself known and with good reason, because with 38 appellations, wines blended from several grape varieties and rankings to decipher, you need some key points to really indulge in the pleasure of wine tasting.
To familiarise yourself with the wines, first there are the classics that have an educational approach: Ecole du Vin du Conseil Interprofessionnel des vins de Bordeaux (CIVB or Bordeaux Wine Council) with its discovery, gourmet or exploratory workshops, the Cité du Vin with its multi-sensory workshops, wine and cheese from around the world, or wines and chocolates from around the world, the Musée du Vin et du Négoce with its tours suivies de dégustations.
With their discovery packages, wine bars are also not to be missed. The Urban Wine trail circuit devised by the Bordeaux Office of Tourism and professionals, brings around twenty wine bars together with a variety of approaches. Some special initiatives are worth mentioning. The Tutiac Wine Bar is a wine bar opened by vine growers, members of the Tutiac cooperative, Les 3 Pinardiers offers a hundred wines by the glass. With a magnetic card purchased on arrival at the 4 coins du Vin, you can choose from 32 options by the glass, in the desired quantity (30ml, 60ml, 120ml) or 200 bottles. The CIVB Wine Bar, decorated with stained glass designed by René Buthaud, refreshes its specifically Bordeaux-only selection every month, served by the glass by sommeliers.
For a tasting tour of four glasses in the heart of Bordeaux for three hours, the Bacchus Wine Tour is the perfect solution. The sorcerer’s apprentices will love discovering the joys of blending grapes and making their own bottle, according to their tastes with B Winemaker. The workshop at the château Pape Clément on the outskirts of Bordeaux, is not to be missed.
And then there are the festival events such as Bordeaux Fête le Vin, a two-yearly extravaganza that returns from 18th to 21st June 2020 on the banks of the Garonne with more than 1,200 winemakers on site. The tasting pass is key for participating in these festivities. Blaye au Comptoir brings together about fifty establishments (bars, wine shops and restaurants) for its fourteenth edition on 6th and 7th February, as well as many winegrowers offering a drink (and maybe more), at a preferential rate to explain the specificities of the wines from Blaye. In 2019 the Cadillac Tour offered 3,500 glasses, similar to Blaye, and will return on 15th October 2020, sailing through Bordeaux in a magnificent old Cadillac. This is because it was Antoine Lamothe de Cadillac who founded the city of Detroit. In his honour, General Motors adorned their cars with his name and erected a statue of this illustrious squire in front of their offices.