The most beautiful wine régions of Bordeaux (Fronsac, Bourg and Blaye) are often left off the list. The majority of properties here are family-run and visits definitely are animated by very dynamic passionate people that actually make the wine (www.sip-wines.com)! These régions are hilly and many properties have stunning views over rolling hills down onto the Dordogne River. Merlot predominates and the wines are rich and fruity.
Fronsac lies a few km from Libourne and NE of St Emilion, was historically very important. Its wines in the 18th cebtury sold for a lot more than St Emilion and Pomerol and were favorites in the court of Versailles. This is not the case today and its wine and region are often overlooked by visitors on their way to the more glamorous St Emilion and Pomerol. Yet it is a wonderful wine region with impressive chateaux and beautiful hills covered in vineyards. Its high Tertre can be seen from miles around and was the site of a château built by Charlemagne in 769. Its trouble is that it is difficult to get to, (you have to cross both the Dordogne and the Isle) but it is definitely worth a few hours to explore.
Libourne is an attractive bastide market town with more than its fair share of medieval buildings that remain (more than Bordeaux!) including the impressive old tour ‘vieille tour’ on the banks of the Dordogne and the town hall. It has a wonderful market on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sunday mornings which takes place in its attractive arcaded which provides a colourful show-case of the region’s rich wealth of foods (fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, cheese, wine, bread………)
Bourg is a attractive town and well worth a visit to its little port. There is a super little road (D669-1 turning just after Les Gogues) that hugs to the hillside on the banks of the Dordogne that runs from Bourg to Blaye where Vauban built an impressive citadelle (open to the public to visit, has wonderful open green spaces). The views from here over the Dordogne are impressive particularly at Sunset.
From here you can take the ferry with your car direct to Lamarque close to Margaux. It takes 30 minutes and saves you time in the car and kilometres on the engine! At the same time you can appreciate the width of the Gironde Estuary and its majesty.
Blaye is the source of some of Bordeaux’s finest white wine available at knock-down prices and yet can be comparable to the finest whites from Pessac Léognan!