The Bordeaux Wine Route in Graves and Sauternes

In Southern Bordeaux on the left bank of the Garonne river, and just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean, the vineyards of Graves and Sauternes are on a mission to promote wine tourism.

The wines of Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Sauternes and Barsac have joined forces to form a tourist wine route of exceptional diversity, including some of the greatest examples of red, dry white and sweet wines. In total more than 150 growers along the wine route welcome visitors to discover their region, vines and properties, with wine unsurprisingly as the common theme. Included on the route are the ultra-premium Grand Cru Classé wines, authentic wine estates, historic chateaux and medieval fortresses, as well as charming places to stay and a range of interesting activities, all set against a distinctly gastronomic backdrop, in the name of “Art de Vivre.”


Living the Chateau high life

Over the course of many kilometres and vines, various buildings attract passing visitors along the way. Some welcome visitors without appointment, so it’s well worth checking out the dedicated Graves and Sauternes Wine Route. Leognan’s magnificent chateau, an idyllic gem in Pessac-Leognan, is a fine example. Stop off to hear the fascinating story of the Miecaze family, the chateau itself and its charming chapel, and of course to sample a glass of its finest wine.  Of all the chateaux featuring along the wine route, some offer accommodation and an authentic experience like no other.  Imagine throwing open your windows to look out over the spectacular vineyard vista. And for those in search of something more offbeat, why not spend the night in a teetering treehouse, or a fishing port nestling on the Gironde.


Sleep is good, but eating is better

The Bordeaux wine region abounds with eating spots to send taste buds into a frenzy. Here duck is at the top of the pecking order, and the prime ingredient for a variety of local speciality dishes including foie gras, confit, magret, parmentier and gesierBoeuf de Bazas, beef from Bazadais cattle, is also heartily recommended, particularly in the exceptional surrounds of La Table de Caillivet restaurant. Here at Mazeres in Graves, chef Paul Gouzien refreshes his menu every three days, depending on what’s available at the local market, and Bazas beef is a regular signature dish. For seafood aficionados, why not go locavore and try one of the region’s many restaurants featuring local catch, such as alosa alosa or lamproie, an eel-like fish. And for dessert, impossible to miss the region’s sweet star turn, canelé, a small, dark, cup-sized cake, with a sweet rum and vanilla filling encased in a dark, crunchy caramelised crust.


The perfect finishing touch, a taste of fine wines

Learning about wine in a fun and entertaining way is what the wine route is all about. These wine appellations, considered as the birthplace of Bordeaux wine, ooze diversity and nobility. There are 4 AOP wines. The Pessac-Leognan appellation covers all the Grand Cru Classé wines from Graves, including the mythical Chateau Haut Brion, the only Graves wine to be included as a first growth or premier cru classé in the legendary Bordeaux Wine classification of 1855, quite simply by virtue of its longstanding reputation – since the 17th century –  as an exceptional wine. Barsac and Sauternes are both sweet wines. The Sauternes vineyards encompass wines of worldwide renown, like Chateau d’Yquem, the only “premier cru superieur” in the official 1855 Bordeaux classification.

There are tastings a-plenty on the Graves wine route, and wine is also available to purchase and take home, or can even be delivered for visitors outside France, which is a great souvenir of these authentic “Made in France” wines.

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