As part of our recent trip to Bordeaux, I was invited by the Bordeaux Tourist Board to go on one of their many wine tasting tours around the region. We decided on an afternoon tour of the Médoc region including Wine Tasting in Margaux and Moulis. I love a good Margaux wine and was very excited to be going to see the region and some of the châteaux!
We met our coach outside the Tourist Office in Bordeaux for the hour-long journey to Margaux. Along the way our guide educated us about wine, Bordeaux wines in particular, and the regions that we would be visiting and the journey passed in no time listening to all the interesting information that he passed on to us. The countryside scenery was breathtaking too, vineyard after vineyard, château after château as we were travelling the Bordeaux Wine Route! It’s definitely an area completely dedicated to all things wine!
Wine Tasting in Margaux
We arrived in Margaux at the first Chateau that we would be visiting, Chateau Desmirail. We were welcomed by our hosts and shown around the gorgeous winery buildings.
First we went into the sorting house where the grapes are delivered straight from the vineyards. Purpose-built, it was designed to look like the hull of a ship and is a huge room set above the pressing barrels on the floor below. Here, the grapes are sorted (the bad ones are discarded along with the stems and the leaves) and the good ones are dropped through the holes in the floor into the waiting barrels. Once in there they are pressed to extract the juice.
Then we were shown the cellars where they ferment, blend and store the wine. Bordeaux wines tend to be made from a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Cabernet France and occasionally Petit Verdot. These huge oak barrels and stainless steel tanks hold and ferment the wine for a few weeks until the wine is ready to be blended. Once the right blend has been achieved the wine is put into the smaller oak barrels for further fermentation and to allow the oak flavours (vanilla, toast and spice) to develop. The wine is kept in oak for anything up to 24 months and then bottled.
Then it was time for the tasting! We were given the Chateau Desmirail Rosé to taste first. It was a pale blush colour and the taste was reminiscent of a Provençal Rosé. Light, fresh and with a hint of red fruits! A perfect Summer wine that would be great at a BBQ in the sunshine and not expensive either at only €8 a bottle. Then we got to taste the 2008 Margaux. This was what I’d been waiting for. Aged in oak it had lots of the toasty, spicy flavours that I love. Complex and full of dark fruit flavour from the Cabernet Sauvignon it definitely packed a punch and was exactly the kind of wine that I love.
After the tasting we got back into the coach and went for a drive around Margaux to look at some of the beautiful countryside and spectacular châteaux. It really is such a beautiful region. We passed so many châteaux and it made me realise how easy it would be to organise your own wine tour here. There was a château every 200m or so! Slightly different from when we went tasting in the Hunter Valley, Brunello and Rioja (where you could just show up), most of the wineries require pre-booking if you want to visit for a taste but you can pick up a directory with all the phone numbers in and plan your own trip very easily! A day trip wine tasting in Margaux is definitely on the cards for me in the very near future! You can even hire bikes to cycle between the châteaux so that no-one has to be the designated driver!Then we passed Chateau Margaux, the most famous of all the wine producers in the area. We only got the chance to see it from the end of the driveway but it was enough to know that I’m booking a tasting there, next time I’m in the area!
Wine Tasting in Moulis
Soon it was time to head to a neighbouring area called Moulis and our second winery of the tour, Chateau Maucaillou which was absolutely stunning.Again, we were shown around all the cellars and we had their wine-making process explained to us. As it was so similar to the first tour I felt it was a bit repetitive but the wineries are so proud of their wines that they want you to have the whole experience so they’re keen to show you around. But then it was on to the tasting room. Here we were able to try a white wine blend of theirs that’s not actually made in the vineyard but is made in the Entre Deux Mers region nearby, still in the Médoc. It was a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, the typical Bordeaux grapes. It was slightly too acidic for my taste (I prefer an oaky white wine) but it was fresh and fruity nonetheless.
Next we got to try their 2011 red wine blended from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot. It had a lovely oaky flavour but did not have the complexity of the Margaux that we tried earlier.
Then it was time to head back to Bordeaux on the coach for our Date Night dinner that I’d planned for Dan! We had a lovely and informative afternoon. I came away with a much greater knowledge of Bordeaux wines and Wine Tasting in Margaux is definitely one trip I’m looking to repeat very soon!