Bordeaux Wine 2020 in nutshell

Currently in Bordeaux we are tasting the baby vintage of 2020 from the barrel. The best are very good and these are not only from the classified growths. Some unfortunately fell into the old trap of extracting too much in a dry hot summer with thick skins and not much juice. What style is 2020? … Continue reading Bordeaux Wine 2020 in nutshell

Hooray – France opens its doors!

From June 9th France reopens its doors to all travellers who have been vaccinated against Covid. Restaurants will also be fully open - you just have to be home for 11pm! (curfew ends 19 June) This fun-loving, pleasure addict country will be back on its feet! We have missed you all! - link to French … Continue reading Hooray – France opens its doors!

How to find exceptional wines in Bordeaux – without breaking the bank

As we know Bordeaux is the home of some of the world's most expensive wines. Yet there are only 200 of these classified wines in Bordeaux out of 6000 other châteaux. They are in high demand and their prices have quadrupled in the past 10 years. We seem to have lost sense of reality. If … Continue reading How to find exceptional wines in Bordeaux – without breaking the bank

La Tour of St Emilion – Balestard la Tonnelle, ready and waiting…

We all know a wine property named after its famous tower (Latour) in Pauillac on the Left bank way up in the Haut Médoc wine country. Well here is another one but on the Right Bank, in fact in walking distance of the famous medieval village of St Emilion. The famous tower or Tonnelle of … Continue reading La Tour of St Emilion – Balestard la Tonnelle, ready and waiting…

The Cost of Frost

It seems that the risk of frost has increased in recent years due to global warming, which does not just warm but makes the climate more erratic and temperatures more extreme (as we saw with temperatures the week before last at 28°C in Bordeaux and everyone at the beach followed by temperatures of down to … Continue reading The Cost of Frost

Soak up St Emilion on the saddle of an Electric Bike

ELECTRIC BIKE RIDE With the gentle hills and beautiful scenery, electric bikes are the perfect way to see the sights around St Emilion for all ages (from 10 years age). It is possible to rent a tow trailer for young ones.  We have put together some ideal circuits that take you in front of some of … Continue reading Soak up St Emilion on the saddle of an Electric Bike

When Vines cry…

It is always an emotional moment at this time of year when we see in the vineyards the glistening tears of the vines ('les pleurs') that tell us that the new vintage is underway. As the temperatures rise so does the sap in the vines and where the pruners have trimmed the end of the … Continue reading When Vines cry…

Whispering Wines – “What makes Bordeaux wine so special?”

In a world where it seems who talks loudest is most heard, I wanted to explore "What makes Bordeaux wine so special?" It was my old boss Peter Sichel's father, Allan, a few years ago, who I think best summed up for me what is remarkable about the region's wines (in a charming if somewhat … Continue reading Whispering Wines – “What makes Bordeaux wine so special?”

Bordeaux Book Sip by Sip by Nicolle Croft

a personal story over 30 years, wine guide to visiting what is important in the region and finding good value in this exceptional wine terroir. Gail Barnett Copyright Its been 30 years since I arrived on the quayside in Bordeaux city, weary from my travels in this funny tin can of a car (a 2CV) … Continue reading Bordeaux Book Sip by Sip by Nicolle Croft

Wine Tour with Kids…Wine not?

As a parent to a three year old, wine is an important part of my daily survival kit. I cannot say I always savour every nuance of taste (as a professional winetaster I do know the difference) but it is an important milestone to celebrate at the end of another frenetic day and serves as … Continue reading Wine Tour with Kids…Wine not?

My First ever Podcast: Standing up for Bordeaux’s Small Producers

Ever since arriving here in Bordeaux the SIPs (Small Independent Producers) of Bordeaux have been my life and my love. But time is not on their side. My goal is to promote these passionate people with their authentic wines that are such good value and taste fresh and thatI believe makeup the fabric of Bordeaux … Continue reading My First ever Podcast: Standing up for Bordeaux’s Small Producers

Whats new in Bordeaux – look to the dynamic Small Châteaux

Despite its crusty past image, Bordeaux today is full of fresh ideas as a younger generation are holding the reins and directing the wines made in Bordeaux in a different direction. It is the small independent producers (who I call the SIPs - see my book Bordeaux Sip by Sip Editions Sud Ouest) who are … Continue reading Whats new in Bordeaux – look to the dynamic Small Châteaux

Moulis, neighbour of Margaux – great go-to for value

Just take a right turn off the Route des Châteaux (the D2) once you have passed through the famous wine village of Margaux. With its undulating vineyard clad hills and forests this little enclave of 600 hectares (one of Bordeaux's smallest) with only 35 producers is worth the small detour. There's a cute little maison … Continue reading Moulis, neighbour of Margaux – great go-to for value

Harvest Recap Bordeaux 2020

Many celebrated the 'gerbaude' end of harvest (in a restrained covid-aware way) the last week of September, so relieved that in this challenging year of adversity at least something has gone well - a full two weeks before the usual celebrations. Of course it is too early to say but the wines of 2020 are … Continue reading Harvest Recap Bordeaux 2020

A Sea of Wine Guides? launch of a new network to find the best

100% experts, 100% wine, 100% local I am pleased to announce the creation of new network of specialist wine guides which I am proud to be a part of: My Local Wine Guide! Passionate wine experts trained in wine or coming from a family of winemakers, local (or adopted) who know their 'territory' better than anyone … Continue reading A Sea of Wine Guides? launch of a new network to find the best

2020 Bordeaux – promises well

August holidays have been cut short as wine producers return to start the harvest of whites, rosé and cremants. Early Reds to start next week (start September - 2 weeks early). Curiously as with all vintages that end with a zero in Bordeaux - this vintage 2020 promises good things. It has been hot for … Continue reading 2020 Bordeaux – promises well

Launch ‘Oeno-Apero!’ Bordeaux

For friends and family - an hour's fun aperitif to practice the language of winetasting in French and English! 6.30 to 7.30pm (any evening) - 1 hour of fun and tasting 3 classic wines from Bordeaux from great undiscovered smaller producers. Other timings possible 😉 Where? In your own home (St Emilion area) or a … Continue reading Launch ‘Oeno-Apero!’ Bordeaux

Class in a glass – Leoville Barton St Julien

When most of the châteaux in Bordeaux are following the latest trend of using an army of amphoras in their new chai under construction, Leoville Barton stays with its historic recipe of wooden vats for making and ageing the wine. Tasting their vintage, they manage to achieve as always perfect balance. The château at Barton … Continue reading Class in a glass – Leoville Barton St Julien

My Top Five Restaurants in St Emilion for foodies (and wineys)

The pretty village of Saint-Emilion is known around the world for its medieval monuments and cobble-stoned streets - and of course its famous red wines (it is called the 'hill of a 1000 châteaux'). It receives around 1 million visitors per year. The medieval village at nightfall nestled into its valley As in any 'touristy' … Continue reading My Top Five Restaurants in St Emilion for foodies (and wineys)

Branaire Ducru, St Julien – a wine that has marked my life

There are some wines that seem to accompany our lives, even if it arrives a bit by chance. Branaire-Ducru is one of those wines that seems to have just been there during those important moments of my life. And it is exactly the type of wine I love. Its classy (one can taste its wonderful … Continue reading Branaire Ducru, St Julien – a wine that has marked my life

What makes a Great wine in 2020

When I first came to Bordeaux in the 1980s, the sign of a good well-made wine had always been one that would last for 20 or 30 years. Ripeness was not understood. It was about waiting for a minimum alcohol level and harvesting as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of losing the crop. … Continue reading What makes a Great wine in 2020

Futures Bordeaux 2019, time for a change?

With the cancellation of the usual primeur tastings first week of April this year wine buyers and journalists have received their barrel samples of the new vintage by the post. And it seems to have worked, as tasting notes have been written and communicated all over the world - despite the fragile nature of these … Continue reading Futures Bordeaux 2019, time for a change?

If I could choose anywhere I could make wine….

"From generation to generation for over 200 years, in what is the very centre of St Emilion, my family has cultivated these soils and tended our vines. Today it is my turn and I try to make a wine that comes from my heart. Having now my own young son, who represents the 10th generation, … Continue reading If I could choose anywhere I could make wine….

Bordeaux 2019 – yes she gets to go to the ball – virtually

Following the cancellation of the annual futures tastings in the first week of April, the Union de Grand Cru have organised a series of tastings around the world for trade where the wine can be tasted but the producers will not be present. So here are their UGC info and châteaux 2019 presentations (good synopsis … Continue reading Bordeaux 2019 – yes she gets to go to the ball – virtually

Ready to make plans again…

Bordeaux is waiting for you. “As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp … Continue reading Ready to make plans again…

Relax after a hard day’s wine touring

Set in the rolling vineyards around St Emilion, Château Latour Segur is an historical château and boutique hotel with its own professional intimate spa. Wine touring can be tiring so it is wonderful at the end of the day to be able to unwind in a spa built into the very limestone that the area … Continue reading Relax after a hard day’s wine touring

#Bordeaux2020 please give us a break

You think it sounds like fun to have your own vineyard and make your own wine! It seems that the weather conditons are getting more extreme (is this down to global warming?) here in Bordeaux at least and it is providing a continual headache for the winemakers here. Cabernet Franc If the problems caused by … Continue reading #Bordeaux2020 please give us a break

Châteaux in Bordeaux open their doors again for visits

Bordeaux, the wine capital of the world, is open again for visitors after two months of shutdown. It is possible again to visit some of the most famous and smaller châteaux in the Bordeaux wine region on the Right and Left bank - in private tours (even some at the weekends). The first to communicate … Continue reading Châteaux in Bordeaux open their doors again for visits

Visiting Bordeaux Wine region – what you don’t know!

With so many years of experience of hosting private wine tours, here are a few things about the Bordeaux wine region (we think of Châteaux, wine aged in barrels and high prices!) that surprises our visitors when they come to Bordeaux; Bordeaux's wine district where the wine merchants were historically based and some still are … Continue reading Visiting Bordeaux Wine region – what you don’t know!

Fire and Ice in Bordeaux Vineyards – vintage 2020

Following scares of frost damage the week before last (start april) now unlucky wine producers have had to face losses due to a freak hail storm on Friday afternoon 17th April. (Hail is normally a problem later in the year during electrical storms due to Bordeaux's oceanic climate). (addition to text on 5 may - … Continue reading Fire and Ice in Bordeaux Vineyards – vintage 2020

Bordeaux 2019 -Yves Raymond, Château Saransot Dupré, Listrac, Haut Médoc

What was your biggest challenge in the vineyard?         The challenge is each year the same : we must harvest late enough to pick perfectly ripe fruits (the decision can be difficult in years with a lot of rain before the harvest. We fear that it will rot the fruit and so we might … Continue reading Bordeaux 2019 -Yves Raymond, Château Saransot Dupré, Listrac, Haut Médoc

Coming to Bordeaux? What to expect on a SIP Private Wine Tour

 I would love to show you around this wonderful wine region that has been my home and play field for over 30 years now. Never has there been such a dynamic and exciting time to visit this classic but progressive region. I will be organising your individual itinerary. Thirty years as a wine professional in the region … Continue reading Coming to Bordeaux? What to expect on a SIP Private Wine Tour

My Favorite Places when Wine Touring in Bordeaux

Wine Tours with Nicolle Croft, Bordeaux Food & Wine Guide http://www.wineguidebordeaux.com Thirty years touring this wine region has given me lots of warm memories of people and places. Here are a few of my favorite wine people and some alternative things to do and places to go which will hopefully give you an idea of … Continue reading My Favorite Places when Wine Touring in Bordeaux

2019 Bordeaux – will Cinderella get to go to the Ball?

So far 2019 did not get to go to the ball but has had to stay at home (like the rest of us) and wait her turn. The futures barrel sample tastings in Bordeaux that normally takes place this week  (first week of April) has been cancelled or hopefully postponed until another date. But which … Continue reading 2019 Bordeaux – will Cinderella get to go to the Ball?

Sip Private Wine Tours extends to Rioja and the Douro

private relaxed tours that privilege meeting the smaller winemakers and producers In addition to Private Wine Tours in Bordeaux France and Piemonte, Italy, SIP Wine Tours now offers tours to Spain and Portugal. Benjamin in the traditional stone lagar helping out some small producer friends during harvest in the Douro Valley, Portugal Our new partner … Continue reading Sip Private Wine Tours extends to Rioja and the Douro

See Bordeaux from an authentic Oyster boat

One of my most fun memories from last season as a private wine and food guide was sipping at fresh white Bordeaux wine while seeing my favorite city from a different angle, from its life-line that goes straight through the city, the Garonne River. The setting sun behind St Michel spire and the Pont de … Continue reading See Bordeaux from an authentic Oyster boat

Bordeaux Book Sip by Sip by Nicolle Croft

a personal story over 30 years, wine guide to visiting what is important in the region and finding good value in this exceptional wine terroir. Gail Barnett Copyright Its been 30 years since I arrived on the quayside in Bordeaux city, weary from my travels in this funny tin can of a car (a 2CV) … Continue reading Bordeaux Book Sip by Sip by Nicolle Croft

Cruel Summer 2019 – Red Bordeaux

As the the Banarama girls said, 'its been a cruel summer...' with some really hot spells up to 40°C (like 1990 and 2003) heatwave in June and July but overall they were shortlived and the vines did not seem to suffer too much (even the young ones that dont have the deep roots). Soon this … Continue reading Cruel Summer 2019 – Red Bordeaux

Do we need new grape varieties in Bordeaux?

To cope with global warming (yes it is having an impact already here in Bordeaux) hotter climate foreign varieties are to be given the green card - (see article on this blog) and new hybrid grape varieties are being created. Yet recently with the advance in DNA analysis, a dozen or so ancient varieties native … Continue reading Do we need new grape varieties in Bordeaux?

Finding St Emilion’s Hidden treasures (even without a Name)

Not far from St Emilion, one of the France's most well-known wine villages, lies a simple family winery that has withstood the test of time. Leaving the village and passing infront of the prestigious classified Château Pavie, then Larcis Ducass and Bellefont Belcier, take the next on the right at the crossroads - its the … Continue reading Finding St Emilion’s Hidden treasures (even without a Name)

A for Amphora, learning Bordeaux’s new ageing alphabet

The new wine is now ready, and I love visiting the warm chais (above ground cellars in Bordeaux) this time of year when the leaves are turning golden and temperatures are autumnal. The wine has taken all it needs from the skins which have now been removed. The wine is now ready for the next … Continue reading A for Amphora, learning Bordeaux’s new ageing alphabet

Harvest 2019 Bordeaux with lots of smiles

The sun is shining today after some much needed rain which fell in short sharp bursts since last weekend (21/22 Sept). Its Sunday (29 Sept) and no-one is rushing to harvest. Gone are the days where the stress impelled producers to harvest in a rush over a few days that ran on from each other. … Continue reading Harvest 2019 Bordeaux with lots of smiles

Visiting Rioja Top Addresses from a Wine Lover

The wine region of Rioja is not far from Bordeaux and some of my clients go there first or after a few days of wine touring with me in Bordeaux. The region is much more arid and the grape variety is mostly Tempranillo (though it is known as the Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon) but the wine … Continue reading Visiting Rioja Top Addresses from a Wine Lover

2019 Bordeaux Summer Heat Wave

  To deleaf or not is the question this year in Bordeaux. There is a lot of vegetation yet the risk of scorch with the exceptionally hot temperatures has been high. In Bordeaux luckily mostly the leaves have been left on the vines so far and act like an umbrella covering the pea sized grapes … Continue reading 2019 Bordeaux Summer Heat Wave

New Varieties to be added to the Bordeaux Melting Pot to combat global warming

IN an attempt to combat the rising heat due to global warming; new varieties approved were approved recently at the syndicate’s annual general meeting Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superior were four reds, Arinarnoa, Touriga Nacional (portuguese), Marselan and Castets, and three whites, Alvarinho (found in Spain and Portugal), Petit Manseng (Jurancon) and Liliorila. The vines were … Continue reading New Varieties to be added to the Bordeaux Melting Pot to combat global warming

Picnic Lunch in the heart of St Emilion – and a glass of bubbly!

St Emilion is a magical place with its myriad of little cobbled streets that lead past its many historical monuments. Les Cordeliers is not as well-known as St Emilion's famous monolithic church (hewn out of the creamy limestone by Benedictine monks over 300 years from 9th to 12th century) - but its been a favorite … Continue reading Picnic Lunch in the heart of St Emilion – and a glass of bubbly!

Wine Touring in Bordeaux? Here are some top tips to know

Bordeaux, UNESCO registered since 2007, is undoubtedly the world’s wine capital. It is well worth visiting along with its vineyards which are France’s largest with 60 different appellations and around 8,000 châteaux. Although the region produces a range of wines including dry and sweet white, rosé and even sparkling – Bordeaux is known for its red wines. The best … Continue reading Wine Touring in Bordeaux? Here are some top tips to know

Behind the Pink Walls on the Route de Châteaux in the Medoc

My first ever visit to the hallowed vineyards of the Medoc was in the early 1980s, when I was 16 years old. It was to Château Siran with its dusky pink buildings just off the D2 Route de Châteaux. I remember ascending this simple road in this flat landscape with these wonderful châteaux that appeared … Continue reading Behind the Pink Walls on the Route de Châteaux in the Medoc

2018 Bordeaux Predicting the Future

Some very nice wines (see my favorites below) made with even increased precision of winemaking but generally not the finesse of 2016s. It was a hot summer so alcohol levels can be high and some wines are tannic and lack freshness. But there are some real success stories as we understand better and better with … Continue reading 2018 Bordeaux Predicting the Future