TASTES OF WINE AND OLIVE OIL

  • Duration:11 NIGHTS/12 DAYS
  • Countries Visited:France
  • Highlights:Including Paris, Bordeaux, Graves, Sauternes, St. Emilion, Pomerol, Cognac
  • Tour Inclusions:
    • Round trip airfare USA/PARIS/USA
    • Round trip flight Paris/Bordeaux/Paris
    • All transportation by a private motorcoach
    • English speaking tour escort
    • Accommodations in four star properties
    • Buffet breakfast daily
    • Lunch and dinner as noted
    • Touring and visits to the vineyards
    • Porterage for one suitcase per person
    • Epicurean Tours Trip portfolio

 

For centuries, vineyards have graced the soil around the city of Bordeaux, providing world class grand cru red and white wines from Medoc, St. Emilion, Pomerol, Sauternes, and Graves. But there has been a change in Bordeaux. Sometime between the late 1970s and early 1980s the taste of Bordeaux wine went through a complete revolution. It was transformed from a taste that appealed only to the intellect to one that seduced the senses. The change came from the way the grapes were grown, the way the wine is made, the way the barrels for each curvee are selected and the way the wine is aged. To understand what has taken place you must visit the source.

DAY 1: DEPART U.S.A.

YouТll leave this evening on an overnight flight to Paris.

DAY 2: PARIS-BORDEAUX

Welcome to France. The afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the broad avenues, fabulous shops and stylish cafes of the City of Lights and become acclimated to a new time zone. Tonight you enjoy a welcome drink with your fellow travellers and dinner at the hotel. Overnight Paris. (D)

DAY 3: PARIS-BORDEAUX

After a leisurely morning in Paris, we transfer to the airport for a short flight to Bordeaux. You are greeted by your tour escort and transferred to your hotel. The name Bordeaux has several applications: it is a city, a region, a wine, even a particular way of growing and making that wine. This is justifiably , the world’s premier wine city, and the center of the most renowned wine region in the world. Explore this grand city lying on the banks of the mighty Garonne River, which joins the Dordogne just outside the city, at Bourg. The presence of the rivers in the region is of utmost importance to winemaking, as the water serves to regulate air temperature surrounding the vines, and has in the past been an important means of transportation. Tonight gather for a welcome dinner at the hotel. (B.D.)

DAY 4: BORDEAUX

There are some 13,000 winegrowers and over 400 wine farms in Bordeaux. One in six people are employed by the wine industry. Unlike the wines of other regions, such as Alsace or Burgandy, Bordeux wines are always made from more than one grape variety. The properties of these grapes complement one another, and after vinification and the final blending a wine is obtained that is very different from another.
After a lecture on the various appellations of Bordeaux, visit the Musee des Chartrons, documenting the evolution of Bordeaux as a wine center, as well as the history of the wine quarter. Tour the Musee d’Aquitaine, tracing the development of the region from prehistory to the present day, and featuring a display of wine-making artifacts, including a huge wooden press. In the afternoon, shop for wine at the La Vinotheque, directly opposite Maison du Vin, the Bordeaux Magnum, an old established name at the back of Mison du Vin, or the spectacular L’Intendant with its down spiral stairs, the vintage getting older as you descend. Enjoy hearty Basque flavors at one of the most original bistros in Bordeaux, La Tupina, accompanied by a tasting of the local wines.(B.D.)

DAY 5: ENTRE-DEUX-MERS

Start your exploration of the various wine-growing regions within the greater Bordeaux area in Entre-Deux-Mers. Here you will encounter, everything from strong reds and light roses to dry and fully sweet whites. We tour the area, where there is much to do and see, and visit Chateau Bonnet, for a taste of its white wine. See the Abbey of Sauve Majeure and the bastide town of Sauvetterre de Guyenne. The Chateaua de Malagar in Sain-Maixant functions as a museum and a wine estate, and we sample its elegant red wine. (B.)

DAY 6: GRAVES-SAUTERNES

This is an area with a great diversity of wines. In the Graves district both red and white wines are produced; in Sauternes, the range is all white. Today in Graves, visit the cellars of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, a lovely turreted property. See the barrel-making workshop on the premises. Tour the Chateau de Labrede, with its virtually unspoiled Gothic castle, the former home of Montesquieu. We continue to Sauternes and the rustic Auberge Les Vignes, serving classic regional dishes for lunch. Enjoy their specialty-meat grilled over the famous sarments, or vine trimmings. In the afternoon we enjoy a tour and tasting at the Sauternes property Raymond Lafon, run by the former cellar master at legendary Chateau d’Yquem. Learn of the process by which, in Sauternes, pourriture noble otherwise knows as “noble rot,” creates exquisitely concentrated sweet wines. (B.L.)

DAY 7: ST. EMILION-POMEROL

Drive across the Dordogne River to St.Emilion and Pomerol, where the Merlot grape dominates. Here are two of the most renowned wine districts on earth. We stop en route in Libourne for a lesson on regional geology. Continue to Chateau Franc Meyne for a visit of the property and their quarries, followed by a tasting. Medieval town of St. Emilion, is one of the most romantic and photogenic wine communities in the world. We tour the historic center, including the famous monolithic church built into the living rock. Lunch today is at Francis Goullee, before continuing to Pomerol for a visit of the town and a tour and tasting at the Chateau De Sales, with its impressive chateau and extensive park. (B.D.)

DAY 8: COGNAC

There are four main producers of Cognac, Hennessy, Martell, Remy Martin and Courvoisier, but over 5000 smaller distillers can be found in the region. We visit the renowned Cognac house of Remy Martin, where we see how Cognac is made. The tour will include a visit to the cooperage, where French oak is taken and bent into world renowned casks. The age and type of oak is so important to the taste, that Remi Martin and Hennessy own their own cooperages. We also learn how to properly taste, serve and enjoy the fine art of Cognac drinking. After time to explore the town, return south to the countryside around Pauillac in the Medoc. (B.D.)

DAY 9: HAUT-MEDOC

The Medoc is a triangular peninsula northwest of Bordeaux, bordered by Atlantic Ocean and the river Gironde. The name is derived from Latin in medio aquae У in the midst of watersФ. In the center of the peninsula lies the border between Haut Medoc and Medoc, also a division between the two wine appellations bearing these names. In the world of wine Haut Medoc is rated rather higher. Haut Medoc is further divided into southern and northern areas. Our journey today takes us to Margaux, in the southernmost Haut-Medoc. The high quality of wines here is thought to be due to the composition of the soil. The soil consists mainly of gravel, and is poor here, but poor soil provides for rich wine. We visit the splendid Chateau Margaux, where a sublime wine is matured. After lunch on your own, we visit the Maison du Vin, where we gather further information about the appellation and can choose from a large assortment of wine for purchase. We stop at SprengnetherТs patisserie to purchase the famous Sarments du Medoc- little chocolate vine branches. Our final stop is Chateau Prieure-Lichine, a former monastery converted into a wine estate. We return to Cordeillan Bages for an in-depth tasting seminar with one of the professors from the Ecole de Bordeaux, which is based at Cordeillan Bages. Learn to identify the characteristics of fine Medoc wines and work on developing you nose and palate. (B.)

DAY 10: HAUT-MEDOC- PAUILLAC

The Medoc has no capital, but if it did, it would be the small town of Pauillac. The big difference in Pauillac is the importance of the chateau names, over the name of the commune itself. Out of MedocТs four premiers grands crus, three are from Pauillac. We visit the well-known cooperative of La Rose Pauillac, which makes a wine under the same name. The highly esteemed Chateau Mouton Rothschild, has a unique and splendid wine museum set up by the late Baron Philippe de Rothschild and his American born wife . It is a must for any wines-lover and features wine artifacts from around the world, and exhibitions on its own artistic wine labels. At Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron, marvel at its 19th century style, with an utterly modern winery and cellar structures, designed with great artistry.This is a futuristic monument for the 21st-century wine drinker. Tonight you have a farewell dinner accompanied by local wines. (B.D.)

DAY 11: RETURN TO U.S.A.

Transfer to the airport for your flight home.

 

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