An Afternoon Wine Tasting in Medoc, France!

Médoc is one of the most famous Bordeaux wine regions, possibly only second in fame to St. Émilion.  Médoc is located northwest of Bordeaux, on the left bank of the Gironde River, and Médoc is further separated into many sub regions (it gets very technical)!  In short (you could talk about this forever), each sub region has a specific terroir – a French word describing the air, sun, rain, soil, etc. in that specific region that gives grapes grown there a particular taste.  On our visit, we visited two châteaux, one in the Listrac-Médoc and one in Margaux.  Both châteauxs specialized in bold red wines, with lots of cabernet sauvignon grapes!

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Map of Medoc.

Unfortunately for the traveler, unlike St. Émilion, the Médoc region does not have a compact medieval town that is easy to explore.  Instead, the châteaux are scattered around Médoc’s countryside and tourists need to rent a car or join a guided tour. Since we planned to enjoy the delicious Médoc wine, we joined a tour through the Bordeaux Tourism Office – specifically their Châteaux and Terrior: On The Bordeaux Wine Road. The cost is €38,00 person and included transportation and a visit to two Médoc châteaux with small wine tastings at each (more information on the tour below).

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Medoc vineyards.

The fist stop on our tour was a small wine producer called Château Cap Leon Veyrin, which is in the Listrac-Médoc region. Cap Leon is part of the Meyre family vineyards, which Meyre family has been making wine in the Médoc region since 1810! The Meyre vineyards are spread out in three locations in Médoc.  Cap Leon is the only one in the Listrac-Médoc region, the other two are in the Haut-Médoc region. Each of the Meyre family vineyards specialize in tasty, bold reds.

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The entrance to Cap Leon.

Our tour began with a history lesson provided by the “girlfriend of one of the owners” and a discussion about the wine making process.  While there was not walk through tour, our guide answered any  and all questions. It was quite interesting to visit a small, family-run wine producer, as our next stop would be much more commercial!

 

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Our guide.

After meeting our tour guide and discussing the wines produced by the Meyre family and Cap Leon, we were invited to taste two Cap Leon wines – both red and both delicious! Dan and I picked up a couple bottles.  Cap Leon’s wines were very reasonable and there was a large selection of aged wines at a good price.

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Wine for sale.

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One of the wines I tasted.

Cap Leon is also home to this beautiful chandelier, which I desperately need in my apartment!

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After our visit to Cap Leon, our tour bus stopped in front of the famous Château Margaux for pictures (sadly no entry).  It was stunning even without entry!  On my next visit, I will absolutely visiting Château Margaux!

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Chateaux Margaux

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Chateau Margaux grounds.

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Dan and me in Medoc.

Shortly after photographing Château Margaux, we arrived at our second tour, Château Siran.  Château Siran is, like Cap Leon, a family vineyard, except Château Siran is larger, more upscale and more commercial (but not necessarily in a bad way).  Château Siran has been making wine since the 1400s (!!!) and has been in the same family for the last 150 years!

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Like Chateau Margaux, the main house is gorgeous.

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The grounds are also beautiful.

Our tour started inside the main house with a history lesson about the château and the family.  After our history lesson, we had a few minutes to enjoy a small museum that housed the family’s collection of wine containers and collectibles. Interesting and odd collection.

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Chateau Siran’s collection of wine things.

We also viewed the barrel room and went through the wine making process.  Château Siran has one of the most beautiful barrel rooms that I have ever seen!

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After our tour, we tasted two of Château Siran’s red wines.  Both were very good, and we purchased a couple bottles.  Château Siran’s wine was more expensive than Cap Leon’s but the prices were certainly not outrageous compared to other Bordeaux wines.

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After our tasting at Château Siran, we boarded our tour bus and drove back to Bordeaux. This tour was interesting, much better than the Sauternes tour that I did through the Bordeaux Tourism Office and was a good way to visit two vineyards in Médoc.  As I mentioned above, the greater Médoc region is quite spread out and it lacks a central town from which you can walk to the vineyards.  As such, unless you want to dive between châteaux, a guided tour is your best best.  Almost all tour companies in Bordeaux offer tours to Médoc ranging in price from €38,00  (certainly the absolute cheapest tour you will find) to as much as you are willing to pay!  This is just a sampling of what you can get for your money, however I would note that the French are downwright stingy with their tasting pours compared to other wine regions of the world!

STEAL OUR TRIP

Château Cap Leon Veryn: 4 Rte de Donissan, 33480 LISTRAC-MEDOC. FRANCE. T : +33 5 56 58 07 28. E: contact@vignobles-meyre.com. Open Monday – Friday 9 – 12, 14 – 17:30. Saturday and Sunday 9 – 12 by appointment only.  Château Cap Leon Veryn also runs a B&B onsite with rooms starting at €55,00.  Information on the website.  Cap Leon distributes to the US if you cannot make it to Bordeaux!

Château Siran: T: +33 (0)5 57 88 34 04. E: visites@chateausiran.com. Open daily May – September, Monday – Friday November – March, and April and October Tuesday – Saturday.  Tour hours are 10 – 11 and 14 – 16. Individual tours start at €10,00 person. Reservations are essential and can be made on their website. Château Siran also distributes to the US.

Château Margaux: CHATEAU MARGAUX, 33460 Margaux. T: +33 (0) 5 57 88 83 83. We did not visit Château Margaux, but took pictures outside!  Visits to the cellars by appointment only from Monday to Friday.  Closed on weekends, public holidays, in August and during the harvest.  Tasting is only for professionals. No direct sales.

Châteaux and Terriors: On The Bordeaux Wine Road: Our tour with the Bordeaux Tourism Office.  The Bordeaux Tourism offers one fantastically discounted wine tour each day of the week – often to Médoc or St. Émilion.  This discounted tour (no matter the destination) is called Chateaux and Terriors: On the Bordeaux Wine Road and only costs 38 € per person.  Each tour, except the St. Émilion tour, includes two châteaux visits with tastings, lasts from 1:15 to approximately 7:00 and goes to the following:  1 April – 15 November: Monday – Cotes Borge & Blaye, Tuesday – Bordeaux and Entre deux Mers, Wednesday & Sunday – St. Émilion, Thursday and Saturday – Médoc, Friday – Graves & Sauterenes; 16 November – 31 March: Wednesday – Graves & Sauterenes, Saturday – Médoc and Sunday – St. Émilion.  The St. Émilion tour goes to one château and tours the town of St. Émilion.  Reservations essential and can be made on the website. Note that the tours are comprised of about fifty people, so it is not the most intimate tasting experience…

On A Budget

If you are on a budget and want to wine tour and taste in Médoc, the Bordeaux Tourism Office’s Châteaux and Terriors: On The Bordeaux Wine Road is almost certainly your best value.  Book ahead to ensure a seat on the bus, as the tour fills up and only goes to Médoc once a week.

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