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Bordeaux Wine Tour


THE GREAT ESTATES OF BORDEAUX

September 5th – 9th, 2016

Hosted by James Lawther, MW

$3,995 CAD per person

 

This tour is currently sold out.

Please contact us should you wish to be placed on our Waiting List.

Join us on a spectacular trip to visit to the greatest wine estates in the world. Dine at two Michelin restaurants, stay at a 5-star Hotel set amongst the vineyards just a stone’s throw from Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, and experience private visits and phenomenal tastings with the owners and winemakers. James Lawther, a Master of Wine who has published books on the region, will be your host.

Included in the itinerary are:

Château Mouton-Rothschild: A 1st Growth with a stunning art museum and legendary wines
Château Lynch-Bages: Live the aristocratic life with lunch at this flying fifth growth in Pauillac.
Château Margaux: A benchmark of elegance – and our second 1st growth of the day.

Château d’Yquem: The very best sweet wine in the world – need we say more?
Château Climens: An icon sweet wine chateau in the Sauternes area with beautiful lunch.
Château Malartic-Lagravière: A stunning estate in Pessac-Léognan with amazing reds and dry whites/

Château Angélus: An exceptional St-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé A – one of only 4.
Château Pavie: Lunch at this stunning St-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé A – the 2nd of the day.
Château Beauregard: A rising star in Pomerol.

Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte: Regularly rated in the Top 100 wines of the world by Wine Spectator. Parker has given it the magic 100 points. We visit the vineyards, beautiful cellars, and barrel cooperage with the winemaker. Our hotel 5 star hotel Les Sources de Caudalie is 100 meters away.

Joanne:  Lunch at a leading Bordeaux négociant to learn about the Primeur system

Two Michelin restaurants:  Decadent dinners at Les Sources de Caudalie and in St-Émilion.
Visit and dinner in Bordeaux city
Visit of St-Émilion – world heritage site

It’s a wine and food lover’s dream for $3,995 CAD including tax per person based on double occupancy.

Your Guide:  James Lawther, Master of Wine

James Lawther, Master of Wine, has lived in Bordeaux for the last 20 years. In the 1980s James worked at Steven Spurrier’s famous Cave de la Madeleine wine shop in Paris and then went on to work vintages in Burgundy, Australia and Bordeaux. After passing the Master of Wine exam he moved with his family to Bordeaux. He is the major local writer with a book published on the region. He also contributes to Decanter and is one of a handful of people to seriously score the wines. I can confidently say that James Lawther knows more about Bordeaux than anyone I have ever met, including the French.       

The Program

Each day includes visits and tastings at some of the most famous wineries in Bordeaux, whose wines often sell for hundreds if not thousands of dollars per bottle in restaurants. We are well received by the chateaux who provide insight into their appellation, viticulture, winemaking, and their own nuances. Lunches are a lingering affair with the châteaux owners, paired with their superb wines.

Dinners are an experience in gastronomic excellence, and include the 2-star Les Sources de Caudalie at Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte and another at Hostellerie de Plaisance in St.-Émilion, a 1-star Michelin.

Accommodation is at the 5-star Les Sources de Caudalie set among the vineyards of Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte. It’s the best place to stay in the region.

Why Take a Tour of Bordeaux With Fine Vintage?

Such iconic Bordeaux chateaux are not typically open to visitors. Fortunately we have long-established connections with these châteaux and are thus able to provide unparalleled access to the greatest names in the world of wine. Typically we taste over 80 wines in the 5 days.   

Price: The cost per person is $3,995 CAD including tax.

This price includes accommodation at Les Sources de Caudalie, all meals except on the Wednesday evening free night, superb wines at all meals, all châteaux visits and tastings, and local transport. Flights are not included. 

There is a $900 supplement if you are traveling alone. This is to cover the cost of the single occupancy hotel room. 

  • Deposit at booking: $500
  • 120 days from start: $2000
  • 90 days from start: $1,495

To Join the Tour: Simply click on the Book Now icon at the top-right of this page and you will be prompted to enter your details. Should you have any questions please contact James@finevintageltd.com  

The Itinerary

Monday, September 5th

Our hotel for the entire duration is Smith-Haut-Lafitte’s luxury property, Les Sources de Caudalie, located about 20 minutes by taxi from the airport or train station. http://www.sources-caudalie.com

The 5-star Les Source de Caudalie is a favourite place to stay because of the amenities it provides. Surrounded by vineyards, the hotel also offers 2 excellent restaurants, a swimming pool, a 3-hole golf course and, of course, its world-class spa.  Offering grape-based treatments, Les Sources de Caudalie also has a spa at the Plaza Hotel in New York.   

Officially the check-in is after 3.30 pm. You are welcome to contact the hotel and request your room be ready earlier if that works with your travel plans. There is always the Spa, the hotel pool and the restaurant if you arrive earlier. Book the Spa early. If you arrive a few days earlier to explore the city of Bordeaux you may wish to consider staying at The Grand Hotel de Bordeaux right in the heart of the city.  

2.00 pm – In the Tower above the lobby at Les Source de Caudalie, meet James Lawther and the group for a Champagne reception, introductions, an overview of the program, and a short talk about the region and her wines to give you the lay of the land.

4.00 pm Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte
We kick off our first visit just 100 metres from the hotel at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in Pessac-Léognan with a tour and tasting.

Smith Haut Lafitte is one of the leading chateaux in Pessac-Léognan. It’s a stunning property run by the Cathiard family who sold a chain of sporting goods stores and purchased one of the top chateau in Bordeaux. Smith is one of my favorite wineries in Bordeaux with a gorgeous underground cellar, and they make white wines that rank in Wine Spectator’s top 100 wines of the world and the reds score well into the 90’s by Parker. The 2009 scored 100 points. They are also one of the few wineries in Bordeaux to make their own barrels on site.

That evening we will have a 7:00 pm dinner at the 2-star Michelin restaurant where we are staying just 100 meters from the winery. The food is fantastic, with 5 courses, and some great vintages of Smith and a Sauternes that will send you off to bed very happy.

Tuesday, September 6thThe Médoc

8:30 amDepart Hotel
The morning departures get progressively later during the trip, but today we’re raring to get to the Medoc to visit Chateaux Mouton-Rothschild, Lynch-Bages, and Margaux.

Château Mouton-Rothschild, AC Pauillac – 1st growth
Mouton-Rothschild, famous for the artistic labels that change with each vintage, is the only Medoc chateau to ever see promotion since the Classification of 1855. The Baron’s also created a stunning wine museum with a collection of sculptures, portraits, tapestries, and antiques. The beautiful estate yields a background of Zen-like calm as we taste wines from 3 of the Rothschild estates: Château d’Armailhac, Château Clerc-Milon, and of course, a bottle of the Baron’s finest. www.chateau-mouton-rothschild.com

Château Lynch-Bages, AC Pauillac
Classified as a 5th Growth in 1855, Château Lynch-Bages is one of those estates that over-delivers each vintage. Our visit will begin with lunch at the Café Lavinal bistro; a classic long, lazy bordelaise lunch of 3 courses each perfectly paired with a wine from the estate. We will follow up with a tour of the 19th century farmhouse juxtaposed to the eye-popping pyramid-inspired ultra-modern winemaking facilities. Be sure to walk off lunch and wines from our first two visits before heading to our last chateau of the day! http://www.jmcazes.com/en/chateau-lynch-bages/visits

Château Margaux, AC Margaux – 1st growth
One of the finest names in wine, Château Margaux is an elegant and stately property that many visitors flock to see – but few get in. We are privileged to be invited to visit the 250 hectare estate followed by a tasting of among the very best Bordeaux has to offer. You can finally check “Taste Wine at Margaux” off your bucket list after this visit. http://www.chateau-margaux.com/en/

Bordeaux City and Brasserie Bordelaise
After a great day in the Médoc we will head back south towards the hotel and stop off in the city centre for a brief visit to the Grand Theatre and then down to the banks of the river where all the merchant houses used to be. From there, we will have a bit of free time before meeting for dinner at the Brasserie Bordelaise at 7:00pm. This is a traditional Brasserie where we have a set 3 course menu including their delicious steak frites. We aim to be home by 10.00 pm. www.brasserie-bordelaise.fr

Wednesday, September 7thSauternes & Pessac-Léognan

8:30 am – Depart Hotel
Board our luxury coach for a day visiting the great estates of the Pessac-Léognan and Sauternes region.

Château d’Yquem
What a way to start the day! This is considered to be the finest dessert wine in the world with vintages going back over 150 years. A ½ bottle of the wine in a top vintage can cost over $500. After our tour we will taste this 1st growth of Sauternes. It’s an experience to see how they make this stunning wine and then taste it.  www.yquem.fr

Château Climens, AC Barsac
Another classic and iconic estate making sweet wines. An excellent lunch awaits us at Climens located in the sub-appellation of Barsac. The vineyards have been biodynamic since 2010. These factors help contribute to Climens’ reputation as the finest sweet wines in Barsac. Our 3-course lunch will only enhance this wonderful experience.
www.chateau-climens.com

Château Malartic-Lagravière, AC Pessac-Léognan
Ranked as a Grand Cru Classé de Graves in 1953, Malartic-Lagravière has undergone a metamorphosis since being bought by Belgian businessman Alfred-Alexandre Bonnie in 1997. The Sauvignon Blanc-based dry whites are mouthwateringly refreshing in their youth but capable of aging over many years. The reds have increased in quality and intensity over the years and are now considered to be among the best of the Classed Growths in the region. http://www.malartic-lagraviere.com/en/

6:00 pm – Free evening
We’ll be back at the hotel by about 6 pm. It’s been a full day so you will be ready for some r & r and a free evening. You can stay and relax at the hotel in either of their restaurants or the bus will take you to Bordeaux centre leaving at 7 pm and returning from a set pick up location in the city at 10 pm, and home by 10.30 pm.

Thursday, September 8th - St-Émilion & Pomerol

10:00 am – Depart Hotel
Depart for the chateaux of the Right Bank.

Château Angélus, AC St-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé A
The day starts with a visit to the stunning Château Angélus.  Angélus joined the ranks of Premier Grand Cru Classé A status in 2012. That’s to say it is amongst the 4 best wines of St.-Émilion. Here we have a tour and tasting. It’s a beautiful estate.  www.chateau-angelus.com

Château Pavie, AC St-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé A
I admire the work of Gerard Perse who shakes up the sleepyhead traditionalists in the region. He just spent over $50 million renovating the incredible chateau. After the tour we have a very luxurious lunch in their sumptuous dining room complete with a tasting of different vintages of Pavie and Monbousquet. The property is now ranked as one of the 4 Premier Grand Cru Classés A. Parker loves them and has often given them perfect scores. In my opinion these are absolutely first class wines. Henrique da Costa, the son-in-law of the owner Gerard Perse will welcome us. http://vignoblesperse.com/en/chateau-pavie/home

Château Beauregard, AC Pomerol
Located in the southern reaches of Pomerol, Château Beauregard stands out as one of the few Pomerol estates to possess a proper château building with a history dating back to 1795. The history of the estate itself reaches further into history as vines have been planted here since the 11th century. The Merlot-Cabernet Franc wines of Beauregard have gained an international following since the early 1990s with ripe black fruit characters and will be a welcome end to our day – or at least until dinner. http://chateau-beauregard.com/english/wine-bordeaux-chateau-beauregard/bordeaux-vintage.html

Visit of St-Émilion
We’ll head into the historic old town of St-Émilion, a world heritage site and the most beautiful wine village in the world.  Steep cobblestone streets wind their way through the medieval village. This is a great spot to buy wine as most chateau do not sell when you visit.  

Dinner at Hostellerie de Plaisance
Refreshed from our town visit, at 7:30 pm we will have our final dinner in St.-Émilion at a 1 star Michelin restaurant – Le Grand Chef Relais. This beautiful property is owned by Gerard Perse of the famed Château Pavie, and we will celebrate our last evening together with a 4-course menu paired with a stunning flight of wines. The outdoor terrace will capture your heart and the impeccable service and exquisite food are second to none. www.hostelleriedeplaisance.com

Friday, September 9th - The Négociants of Bordeaux

You can either check out of the hotel or you can contact them yourself and arrange to stay additional day(s). 

10:00 am – Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte
After a slow start and a delicious breakfast a return visit to Smith-Haut-Lafitte will introduce you to the winemaker, and visit the barrel making area. It’s fascinating to watch the barrels being made. Or you can sleep in, have a swim, and catch us at 11:30am.

11:30 am – Depart for Joanne
If you are checking out then we’ll put your bags on the bus. To wrap up the tour we will visit one of the leading Bordeaux négociant, Joanne. This company is one of the leading traders (actually it is the top one) of all the great wines in Bordeaux. We will visit the massive warehouses where they store thousands of cases and learn about the role of a négociant in the wine business of Bordeaux. We will have a buffet-style lunch with a tasting of several excellent wines.

The Tour Winds Down
The bus will then go first to the train station arriving at approximately 4:00 pm, then back to the hotel by 4:30 pm, and then on to the airport by 5:30 pm.  Leave yourself some extra time for unexpected traffic delays when booking trains and planes.

Price: $3,995 CAD including tax per person based on double occupancy.

There is a $900 per person single supplement.

Space is limited to 20.

It will be a great trip with lots of fine wine, great food, amazing chateaux, a luxury hotel, a nice amount of wine education and many, many laughs.

www.finevintageltd.com

 

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