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Bordeaux for Wine Lovers: 3 Wine Shops and 3 Tips

Short wine-tasting guide for a wine tourism break in Bordeaux (France). Discover, enjoy and learn more about the wines produced in the wine-making capital of Bordeaux, France.

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Fine Wine in Beer Land

At some spot between Ingolstadt and Nuremberg, the Bavarian accent becomes gentler, the wind blows a little further down and wine competes with beer as the local beverage. This is Franconia (Franken) and, as locals never fail to point out, the Franconians – who live in the wooded hills and on the banks of the river Main – are very different from their outgoing southern cousins.

The wine producers in the north-east of the region make sublime white wine, sold in a characteristic tear-shaped bottle known as the bocksbeutel. For open-air enthusiasts, the Altmühltal Nature Reserve is an ideal area for hiking, cycling and canoeing. However, it is Franconia’s incredible towns – Nuremberg, Bamberg and Coburg – that attract most visitors. But, let’s concentrate on that marvellous elixir that has captivated human beings since the dawn of time.

Wine – the Soul of the Region

The wine of Franconia is not merely a beverage, but a celebration of the senses. It is welded into the DNA of the whole region. Its presence is felt everywhere. To see how influential it is in the landscape, suffice to go walking or cycling on the banks of the river Main, or to visit Würzburg Residenz Palace. Its presence is also tasted in the culinary creations of local chefs and in the taverns. Moreover, in Franconia, wine is extolled at festivals and trade fairs –Heckenwirtschaften– dedicated solely to wine.

The region’s mild climate is propitious for the production of this delicious beverage. It is continental, with very cold winters and mild summers, meaning the grapes mature very slowly. The soils are highly varied, being formed of coloured sandstone, granite, limestone and some slate, so that each soil type yields a different kind of wine. The coloured sandstone yields red wine, while the granite and limestone are ideal for white wines. Grape-growing has been an important and constant activity here for over 1,200 years. It is a joy to explore the wines of Franconia and all their nuances.

This wine-producing region lies east of Frankfurt and some 65 kilometres from the Rhine. The vineyards are planted on the south-facing slopes along the river Main and encircle the city of Würzburg, so this is the only vinicultural region in the state of Bavaria. Franconia is divided into three districts – Mainviereck, Maindreieck and Steigerwald – formed by the shapes adopted by the Main’s meanders. It is worth a trip along the river to get an idea of how varied the area’s vineyards really are. The main types of grape are the Müller-Thurgau, Sylvaner and Bacchus.

Wine Cellars and Taverns

Wine cellars have proliferated lately. True, the consumption of white wine has increased markedly in recent years. They put it down to the economic crisis – white wines are usually cheaper than red – and to global warming – wine served cold is more appetising. The great advantage held by Franconia’s wines is undoubtedly the exceptional grape varieties grown there. And, the exuberant architecture of the wine cellars provides added value for the senses. Here is a list of the wine cellars and taverns specialising in the area’s leading wines.

DIVINO Nordheim
Langgasse 33 · 97334 Nordheim a. Main. Website

Fränkische Flaschenpost
Kirchplatz 2 · 97236 Randersacker
Tel. +49(0)931/30489627

Vinothek im Kuk
Rathausplatz 6 · 97337 Dettelbach. Website

Vinothek Iphofen
Kirchplatz 7 · 97346 Iphofen. Website

Vinothek Sommerach
Kirchplatz 3 · 97332 Sommerach a. Main. Website

Weinforum Franken
Hauptstraße 37 · 97246 Eibelstadt. Website

Winzer Sommerach- Der Winzerkeller
Zum Katzenkopf 1 · 97334 Sommerach a. Main. Website

Have you got that? Then come and discover the wines of Franconia. Check out our flights here.


Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by Alexander Von Halem, Goegeo, VisualBeo, FrankenTourismus/Fraenkisches Weinland Tourismus/Hub

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Wine and Classical Music

Not for nothing is the small town of Saint-Émilion a veritable magnet for wine lovers. The surrounding farmland is blessed as one of the leading red wine producing areas in Bordeaux, along with the Médoc, Graves and Pomerol. Celebrated worldwide, each year it attracts wine connoisseurs, tourists and passers-by who roam from one chateau to the next in search of the best local wine. But, that is not the only reason they come here. They are also drawn by the magic enveloping this town of steep, narrow streets, Romanesque churches and picturesque ruins which, alongside the vineyards, make up an irresistibly charming ensemble. No wonder, then, that Saint-Émilion and its environs are listed as World Heritage by UNESCO.

Saint-Émilion is named after the monk Émilion, who settled here in the 8th century and was credited with performing a number of miracles. The monks that were gradually drawn to the area were instrumental in getting the wine-marketing business off the ground, based on the vineyards which have been tended in Saint-Émilion since Roman times.

A must-visit destination for wine connoisseurs, the town features numerous landmarks well worth visiting. Its Monolithic Church is one of these. Carved out of a cliff from the 12th to the 15th century, its interior is surprisingly spacious and the complex is crowned with a lofty tower. Other highlights of Saint-Émilion include the Collegiate complex and the Cordeliers Cloister.

And, needless to say, there are always the chateaux, which can be visited as part of tours offered by the Saint-Émilion Tourist Office. But, why not strike out on a different kind of visit. Here’s how…

Les Grandes Heures de Saint-Émilion

When planning your visit to Saint-Émilion, we suggest you factor in one of the leading local festivals, Les Grandes Heures de Saint-Émilion. What makes this festival so special is that it is the only way to visit some of the region’s magnificent chateaux where this splendid, popular wine is made, in a unique, out-of-the-ordinary setting. The programme features classical music concerts accompanied by wine tasting sessions, endowing a visit to the wine cellar with a wholly different dimension. The festival opens in March and runs until December, when the last concert is held. This year, the first concert is scheduled to take place in the Château Fombrauge on 29 March.

The sites where you can enjoy this experience include the Château Soutard, Château de Pressac, Château Angélus, Château Cantenac, Château Fombrauge and Château Cheval Blanc, known for being one of the few producers whose wine is designated Premier grand cru classé A.But the programme is not limited to the wine cellars dotting the area; some of the concerts are also held at such emblematic sites as the Monolithic Church of Saint-Émilion. Be sure to book your ticket in advance.

Book your Vueling to Bordeaux, which lies just 40 kilometres from Saint-Émilion, and get to know one of France’s leading wine-producing areas.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Image by Tim Snell


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Bordeaux – 10 Essentials in the Wine Capital

Scarcely an hour’s flight away from Barcelona, Bordeaux is the perfect spot for a short getaway. This is an “easy” city to visit – it’s small, pedestrianised centre invites you to stroll among its stone buildings which exude the same leisurely character as its inhabitants. Well-pleased with its wines, its new Herzog & de Meuron stadium, its future venue as the City of Wine Civilizations and the advent of Joël Robuchon (with his 26 Michelin stars, next after La Grande Maison), Bordeaux gives off its touristic charm nonchalantly, in its defining elegant, bourgeois fashion. Here are some gourmet guide pointers:

1. L’Intendant – A Stunning Wine Shop

Four storeys linked by an architectural spiral staircase houses some 15,000 bottles and 600 epitomes of Bordeaux wine. The ground floor contains the labels of small producers, while the most expensive ones are accommodated on the top floor. The dearest of all – Yquem, at €6,000. Here are some good wines for far less – just allow yourself to be guided by the experts.

2. Taste Initiation at Le Boutique Hotel Wine Bar

The bar à vins (wine bar) at this charming, 27-room hotel offers excellent tastings for venturing into the world of French wines, and their sommelier, Martín Santander, speaks Spanish to wit. His “Tour de France” blind wine tasting features five bottles, prompting guests to ascertain the different French types and varieties. This is the only venue in the city that specialises in natural wines.

3. Where to Have Some Wine – the CIVBBar à Vins

The headquarters of the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux boasts a wonderful wine bar. The bar counter dates from the 19th century and the stained-glass windows from the 20th, while the design is 21st century. You can only order wine by the glass from the wine list, at very reasonable prices – most average between €2 and €3.50, with the odd €8 option from among the Grand Cru.

4. Alliance in a Fashionable Restaurant – Garopapilles

Designer wines and cuisine in one. The chef, Tanguy Laviale, and the wine connoisseur, Gaël Morand, hold out promise of a great experience in this pretty locale, where food and drink form an inseparable tandem. The wine bar is in the entrance, while the intimate, magical restaurant is concealed at the back. In a sole, surprise, deftly combined tasting menu, the chef deploys his imagination in dishes such as foie gras on a bed of cabbage and shiitake, or velvet crab consommé. Highly recommendable haute cuisine sans tablecloth. The menu, without wine, works out at €32 at lunchtime and €62 for dinner.

5. The Best Fish – Le Petit Commerce

A fish restaurant and genuine bistro, unpretentious but with the sort of French charm that captivates. What’s more, here the lunch menu costs just €14. The cuisine of the restauranteur, Fabien Touraille, has become so popular that, with his three restaurants, he’s taken over Parlament Saint Pierre street. His goal – to popularise fish; his fish is even good on Mondays.

6. Hipster Organics – Darwin

These once derelict barracks have been transformed into a top-notch complex of sustainable, creative co-working firms, a large organic restaurant, a sports centre and soon… an eco-lodge.

7. Tempting Chocolateries – Saunion, Cadiot-Badie, La Maison Darricau

It is worth visiting at least these three vintage localities for their great chocolatier tradition – at Saunion, do try Le Gallien (caramel and praliné) and the Guinettes (fresh cherries with alcohol syrup and fondant). A speciality of Cadiot-Badie is Le Diamant Noir (grape ganache), in addition to chocolate shoes and wine bottles which make the perfect souvenir. At La Maison Darricau, don’t miss out on the Pavé (praliné, wine, sugar and cinnamon).

8. The Canelé Tradition – Baillardran

A typically Bordelais confectionery made of flour, egg yolk and vanilla which is crunchy on the outside and smooth inside. The Baillardran chain, which you’ll come across everywhere, makes them on a daily basis.

9. Hotel, Drinks and Brunch – Mamma Shelter

The affordable design chain, which has the famous Philippe Starck as a partner, features a hotel in the centre of Bordeaux. An excellent choice for accommodation; otherwise, at least drop in and have a drink in this locale at night, or brunch on Sunday – it is very cool and all the rage. Rooms from €69.

10. Street Food – Chartrons Market

This open-air market is held every Sunday on the banks of the Garonne. You have a large choice of food stalls where you can have a casual meal. Our favourite were the oyster stalls, where the price was €6.50 for half a dozen oysters.

The Bordeaux Tourist Office organises excursions to some of the quaint viticultural châteaux, as well as other activities.

Come and discover Bordeaux for yourself! Check out our flights here.

Text by Isabel Loscertales / Gastronomistas

Photos by Isabel Loscertales / Gastronomistas

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