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Wine Country: Bordeaux, France Part Quatre

In the last essay on Bordeaux, we explored the Libournais region. Now we continue with the area to the south of the town of Bordeaux, that the Discover Bordeaux site lists as “The Graves Road.”

Graves Sub-region

The region starts within the southern outskirts of Bordeaux and within five kilometers of the city center is Chateau Haut-Brion, one of the Premier Crus of the region along with the previous mentioned Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Chateau Latour of the Medoc region. Right now, the website says that the Chateau is undergoing renovations, so just next door is the sister winery, Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion. If it is just you and your lady, visiting shouldn’t be a problem as the only restriction seems to be for groups over 15 in size.

Chateau Haut-Brion

Three kilometers down the road is Chateau Pape Clement that has guided tours of their winery four times a day for 45 minutes each. At the end of the tour, there is a tasting.

These chateaus were originally part of the Graves region, however, in 1987 the area closes to Bordeaux applied for its own appellation and became known as Pessac-Leognan AOC. A nicely organized website for the region lists 16 total wineries, their location and gives the contact information for each.

Further along this region is the areas white wine enclave, the Sauternes appellation. In all of these previous regions of Bordeaux, it’s been a look at red wines. In Sauternes, the white wine gets its fair shot. The classifications of Premier Crus listed previously have all been for red wines. The Premier Crus for white wines all come the Sauternes and nearby Barsac regions.

Leaving the Pessac area by the A630 and then the A62 for about 15 miles will get you into the Sauternes region and at exit #1 you can get to Chateau La Tour Blanche. Tours of this Premier Cru winery are offered here Monday through Friday in the mornings and afternoon throughout the year.

Less than three miles away is Chateau Guiraud. There are tours for seven euros that give you an overview of everything about the estate and end in a tasting of their Premier Cru wine. They also offer higher priced tastings that have more wines (three vintages and six vintages) as well as one that also pairs the wines with foods.

Another short jaunt of just a couple of miles brings you to Chateau Filhot, a Deuxieme Cru winery.  Tours are offered during the week and by appointment on the weekend.

Saving the best for last is Chateau D’Yquem, the Premier Cru Superieur of the white wines. Situated within two miles of the previous Sauternes wineries, the winery castle is on the highest point in the area, looking out over all the rest. You can go to the estate Monday through Saturday without an appointment.

Another day of tasting down in the Bordeaux region, and now the white wine lovers have something to tide them over.

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About Jason McClain Jason is an aspiring novelist, which means there is a lot of time to put off writing and watch baseball or go fly-fishing, hiking and traveling. By "a lot of time", Jason means "procrastination."

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