Travel News

How to do a wine tour of Bordeaux vineyards by public transport

Simon Calder’s Travel

The day took a bit of a wobble at Margaux. Not, you understand, because I’d been sampling some of Bordeaux’s top-quality tipples after an excellent lunch accompanied by more wine. It was because Margaux village’s station was deserted out of season, with train information displayed on screens, and no clue which of the two platforms was which. Trains making the 45-minute journey to Bordeaux city seemed to run at different times from both platforms.

I had to chance it; I doubted I’d have time to cross the open tracks once the train arrived. Luckily, I guessed correctly and chugged on with my discovery of Bordeaux by public transport.

Most people don’t realise the extent of France’s wine producing region. It would take you two and a half hours to drive the 99 miles from its northernmost to southernmost extremities. No wonder those taking a vineyard tour generally drive or go on group trips. There is, however, another way – to visit the vineyards by trains, bus and tram. And aside from the slight hiccup I experienced at Margaux, I found it surprisingly easy.

Château Pape Clément is just a 40-minute bus and train trip from Bordeaux city

(Mathieu Mamontoff)

One vineyard, Château Les Carmes Haut-Brion, is even within the sprawling city’s limits and can be reached by Bordeaux’s extensive tram network. What’s more, it’s designed by Philippe Starck, resembling the bow of a boat from the outside, while within the concrete wine vats are painted in different designs. (Tour with tasting costs €55).

It’s in complete contrast to the historic Château Pape Clément, a 25-minute bus journey away, or a 40-minute bus and train trip from the city centre. Vines were originally planted here in the 13th century by Bertrand de Got, who became Pope Clement V. Now, the grand cru classé wines lie maturing in an enormous barrel-filled room lit by chandeliers.

Read more on taking a wine road trip through Italy’s Piedmont region

You can make your own version in the 19th-century chateau in a process reminiscent of a school chemistry lesson, as you experiment with different ratios of merlot to cab sav. Once I had my winning formula, I bottled it, added a cork and foil and embellished the label: Château Jane. (Tour with tasting costs €20, a winemaker course costs €99).

The grand maturing room at Château Pape Clément


Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at The Independent Travel…