No. 33 – Bordeaux Blanc

Brilliant and affordable red wines from Bordeaux…that was always going to be a challenge, but an outstanding white Bordeaux that doesn’t break the bank? We knew we could do that. Bordeaux grows a lot of Sauvignon Blanc and as we have had plenty of experience with making world class Sauvignon in New Zealand, we were very keen to do the same here. The minority partner to our Sauvignon is old vine Semillon, a variety which buffs the edges off Sauvignon’s angularity to give a wine rich in texture as well as aroma.

Our goal was to make a Bordeaux Blanc that performed like a fine wine but whose price tag was much less intimidating. We believe we have done that; we hope you do too.

Wine Tasting

With Masters of Wine Liam Steevenson and Mark Pygott

Bordeaux

Bordeaux is France’s wine capital – surrounded by vineyards as far as the eye can see on either side of the River Garonne. A city with a wealth of wine history unlike any other, home to wine royalty and some of the world’s most famous châteaux, there is no doubt that this is a wine lover’s paradise. Titled the second most beautiful city in France, Bordeaux is packed full of galleries, wine bars, amazing restaurants and fantastic shopping with Europe’s longest pedestrianised shopping street. Endless squares offer visitors terrace after terrace to sit on and watch the world go by, with a coffee or a glass of wine in hand or whilst tucking into one of the many local specialties given the city’s proud gastronomic heritage.

Where to Stay

Le Grand Hotel 

Located right in the heart of the city, looking onto the magnificent opera house, this is one of Bordeaux’s top hotels with fine cuisine and a spa for ultimate indulgence. The hotel boasts a two-star restaurant, Le Pressoir d’Argent Gordon Ramsey, as well as beautiful bars and opulent rooms. 

Le Boutique Hotel

Expertly mixing tradition and modernity in the heart of the city, Le Boutique Hotel offers luxury as well as a secret wine bar in the hotel’s gardens, offering one of the most relaxed places to sip on some of Bordeaux’s Grand Crus.

Les Sources de Caudalie

A luxury French hotel located at Château Smith Haut Lafite, in the middle of the vineyards, with the world-famous Vinothérapie Spa using products exclusively based on grapes. Combine this with hidden bars by the lake, a Michelin two-star restaurant and a choice of swimming pools and hot tubs and this really is vinous heaven.

 La Course

An immaculately turned out townhouse, this is just how it would feel to own a grand old house in the city centre. As if the wine cellar and eonomatic machine aren’t enough to keep you entertained, there is also a steam room and free bikes to borrow in order to explore the city.

Where to Eat

La Tupina

A Bordeaux institution since 1968, renowned for its local products and the best of local Bordeaux cuisine. Everything is cooked on an open fire, with a selection of traditional and delicious food and the look and feel of being in the heart of a southwest kitchen.

Garopapilles

Combining a corner wine shop and a Michelin-star restaurant, this is one not to miss. All of the ingredients are sourced daily at the market, incorporating the best of Bordeaux produce in a surprise menu. There are 500 bins in the cellar to choose from alongside a selection of craft beers.

L’Entrecôte

One of Bordeaux’s most popular restaurants, with a single choice on the menu – 170 grams of rib eye with fries and a famous sauce, the secret recipe of which has been kept under wraps since the restaurant opened in 1959. Popular with locals and visitors alike, make sure you get there early to avoid the queue.

 

 Le Chapon Fin

Founded in 1825, Le Chapon Fin was one of the first ever three-star restaurants in 1933 and was historically a destination for wealthy Bordeaux merchants or the glamorous clientele from the Café Anglais in Paris, on their way to the holiday resorts on the Basque coast. The magnificent wine cellar has a wealth of old vintages of all the top Bordeaux names, as well as other regions. 

Where to Drink

Chez le Pépère

Hugely popular with locals and students, this is a backstreet wine bar owned by the enigmatic Thierry. Larger than life, his personality fills the place and the knowledgeable staff will happily talk you through the wines available that day. You can also buy bottles here to take away, or pay corkage to enjoy them at the bar. Thierry also shows the rugby, which is hardly surprising given he is from Toulouse, and serves absinthe which can be a dangerous combo! 

Bar à Vin at the Bordeaux Wine Council

An utterly beautiful bar in the centre of Bordeaux, with large, stained glass windows and vaulted ceilings coupled with modern, contemporary furniture. What’s even better is that the bar is run by the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bordeaux (CIVB) that subsidises the wines, meaning that a glass starts at just €2. Hard not to spend the day here considering they also serve delicious cheese platters…

Le Wine Bar

Named one of the top 20 bars in France by Terre de Vins magazine, Le Wine Bar is run by Italians and stocks wines from around the world. The list has a selection of 300 wines, with France and Italy both well represented, around 60 of which are available by the glass. Alongside wine the bar has another specialty, an Italian cheese and charcuterie plate, which pairs wonderfully with the fantastic range of Barolos on offer.

 

 Le Flacon

Hugely popular with chefs from around the city, this laid-back wine bar seats just 22 covers and has a list of around 200 wines, with a regularly-changing selection by the glass, including a selection of natural wines. Le Flacon also serves tapas and specialties from the Ardèche.

Things to Do

Cité du Vin

A unique cultural centre dedicated to the universal, living heritage of wine. Offering a journey around the world through the history of wine, there is more than 10 hours of visual content through 120 audiovisual productions to explore at leisure, 4 thematic tours, reading rooms, auditoriums, sensory experiences and wine bars, restaurants and a shop on site.

 

Place de la Bourse

If there was a square to epitomise Bordeaux, this is it. Taking 20 years to build in the 18th century, Place de la Bourse has played a major role in the city’s development, trade and reputation. The square reflects perfectly in the water mirror in front of it and is majestic when lit up at night.

Chartrons

The neighbourhood of Chartrons is the old shipping district for wine and today is packed full of trendy bars and boutique shops and cafes. Head here on Sunday for the food market, where everyone sits outside sipping chilled Entre-deux-Mers and eating oysters, even in January.

Jardin Public   

Framed by beautiful townhouses, this green oasis in the middle of the city is perfect for a leisurely stroll amongst the centuries-old trees and ponds. There is a small botanical garden and a bar with a beautiful terrace to enjoy a chilled glass in summer and watch the world go by.

Shopping

Whether it is wine or something else you are after, Bordeaux is full of independent shops that are perfect to spend an afternoon exploring. The main wine shops are centred around the Allées de Tourney, with every bottle imaginable from old and rare vintages to first growths and everything in-between.

 Best things to Do near Bordeaux

St Emilion

Just a short train ride away from Bordeaux is the beautiful town of St Emilion. Wander through ancient streets, head to the church for a view over rolling vineyards and most importantly grab a table on the square for a long, wine-fuelled lunch.

Dune de Pilat

Europe’s largest sand dune, this is well worth a visit. Hike to the top for views down over the Basin de Arcachon. If you can, heading here for sunrise or sunset is an unforgettable experience.

Lacanau

One of France’s surf resorts, Lacanau is situated on a 200km stretch of white, sandy beach. Head over for the day and hire a surf board, or simply sit in one of the bars or restaurants on the sea front and watch other people try.

Arcachon

Famous for its oysters and upscale resorts, the combination of restaurants with sea views and beautiful beaches make this the perfect day trip from Bordeaux.

To place an order or for any questions.

If you have any questions or would like to place an order, please email us at info@departementwine.com or call us on +44 (0)117 915 4555.

For all trade enquires or to stock the range, please email - orders@vineyard-productions.com

Departement is made by the Vineyard Productions team.

A creative agency producing artisanal wines, focusing on the ancient & the indigenous.
Working in cellars around the world, our team of Masters of Wine and winemakers invest and collaborate with vineyard owners and winemaking teams to create artisanal wines that reflect place.

Place…Everything begins with ‘place’, a site that is unique and has a character of its own, with a story to tell. We are very human in our choices. We fall for beauty. Sun falling on the hills, gnarled ancient vines, old stone village walls, the faces of the people drinking coffee in the morning…we breathe in and inhale; the old vines burning in the fields, the Gitanes ‘sans filtres’ smoked with morning cognac, the fresh baked bread, the broken fruit, the grape juice fermenting in the cellars.

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