Bordeaux’s Châteaux open at the weekends
After breakfast on the Sunday quayside market in Bordeaux (fancy oysters and a glass of white wine?) head off to the vineyards for a visit and tasting and some of Bordeaux’s most famous châteaux that are open all hours (but make sure to pre-book by email in advance!).
ST EMILION (40 minutes from Bordeaux by car and there is a train too) with its medieval village and its pretty cobbled Streets is always a great destination with lots of restaurants to choose too.
Château Guadet – taken underground the Streets of the medieval village by the owners themselves
Château de Ferrande – high up overlooking the Dordogne Valley with range of old vintages (at excellent prices) visit the gallery of square limestone caves behind the Church too.
Château de Pressac – beautiful views over the valley on St Emilion’s eastern border overlooking Castillon and a historical site where the treaty between the English and French was signed to end the 100 years war (and 300 years rule of the Brits in the region).
Château la Gaffelière – one of the rare classified properties to be open at the weekend, situated in a privileged position next to Ausone, one of only four Premier Grand Cru Classé A!
The MEDOC too has some first rate châteaux that are ‘open all hours’ too but the region is more spread out (and flat). The first famous village you come to is Margaux and this is where most of the châteaux that are open at the weekend are located. Takes about 40 minutes by car from Bordeaux. Continue along the D2 ‘Route de Châteaux’ up to the town of Pauillac. You will pass in-front of most of the famous names. Continue towards St Estephe to the north to see the last but not least views Lafite-Rothschild and Cos d’Estournel with its unique Oriental style.
Try Café Lavinal for lunch – only open Saturdays – or in the town of Pauillac itself. Restaurant St Julien is good too but lengthy and open Sundays.
Château Lanessan – great example of a wonderful Haut Médoc, great value, old vintages and a mecca if you are into horses! Haut Medoc next to St Julien
Château Paloumey – Haut Medoc next to Margaux – family owned and affordable classy range of wines.
Château Chasse Spleen Moulis next to Margaux. Moulis along with its neighbour Listrac is the source of affordable Bordeaux. Here you can even taste a white.
Two excellent classified properties with grand cellars and great wine to taste;
Château de Tertre, Grand Cru Classé Margaux
Château Prieuré Lichine, Grand Cru Classé Margaux
* need to check opening in the winter season
The closest region to visit from Bordeaux is the GRAVES/PESSAC LEOGNAN region. It is an attractive region with historical châteaux and undulating hills. These châteaux are open at the weekends;
Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Grand Cru Classé Graves, Péssac Léognan
Château Pape Clement, Grand Cru Classé Graves, Péssac Léognan
Château l’Arrivet Haut Brion, Péssac Léognan