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Bordeaux Wine Tour  



THE GREAT ESTATES OF BORDEAUX

 
May 15th – 19th, 2017
 

Hosted by James Lawther, MW


$4,250 CAD per person


 

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 Margaux: A benchmark of elegance – and our first of two 1st growths of the day.
Château Léoville-Barton: Lunch with members of the Barton family at this super second growth in St. Julien.
Château Mouton-Rothschild: Our second 1st Growth with a stunning art museum and legendary wines

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.
Domaine de Chevalier: A rare opportunity to visit the master of white Bordeaux

Château La Fleur-Pétrus: A star Pomerol property owned by the dynamic Moueix family.
Château Pavie: Lunch at this stunning St-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé A
Château Angélus: An exceptional St-Émilion Premier Grand Cru Classé A – one of only 4.

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.

Millésima:  Visit to a leading Bordeaux négociant to learn about the Primeur system

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

It’s a wine and food lover’s dream for $4,250 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 $4,250 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: $1,000
  • 120 days from start: $2,000
  •  90 days from start: $1,250

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 David@finevintageltd.com


The Itinerary

Monday, May 15th
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. 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 4 courses, and some great vintages of Smith and a Sauternes that will send you off to bed very happy.

Tuesday, May 16thThe Médoc

8:30 amDepart Hotel

The morning departures get progressively later during the trip, but today we’re raring to get to the Medoc.

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. www.chateau-margaux.com/en/

Château Léoville-Barton, AC St Julien
Just 15 minutes’ drive north and you find one of the wines most sought-after wines by Bordeaux lovers, not only for quality reasons, but out of respect for the owner of the estate, Anthony Barton. We will have lunch with members of the Barton family and hear first-hand about the amazing history of the estate and get the inside scoop on Bordeaux. Yes, the wines have had 100 point scores and yes, the cellars are beautiful. But most of all, the atmosphere at this family property and the fantastic hospitality will be a treasured memory. www.leoville-barton.com

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

Tapas Dinner at Les Sources de Caudalie
After a great day in the Médoc we will return to Les Sources de Caudalie for around 7:30pm. in the tower Tonight there is a tasting of a range of other Medoc wines, both big names and smaller lesser known chateaux. Casual tapas are served with the wines. After a big day filled with great wines and food in the Médoc, tonight is a laid-back evening at Les Sources de Caudalie. If you are still hungry there is the bistro where you can have dinner by yourselves.


Wednesday, May 17thSauternes & Pessac-Léognan

10:00 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

Domaine de Chevalier, AC Pessac-Léognan
We start the day with a visit to Domaine de Chevalier in Pessac-Léognan. This is an enlightening tour given by the estate manager who gives one of the best explanations you’ll ever hear. Domaine de Chevalier white is certainly one of the very best in the region and is capable of long-term aging. The Cabernet-dominated reds are superb too. www.domainedechevalier.com

Walking Tour and Free Evening in Bordeaux City
After a quick stop back at the hotel around 6 pm, if you are interested in spending the evening in the city, James will host a walking tour of Bordeaux city centre to show you the major monuments, some of the best wine shops, and explain the history of the commerce of Bordeaux wines. After this short 75 minute tour you’ll be free to have dinner by yourselves in the city. This is an optional excursion. The bus departs back for Les Sources de Caudalie at 10:00pm.


Thursday, May 18th - St-Émilion & Pomerol

9:00 am – Depart Hotel
Depart for the chateaux of the Right Bank.

Château La Fleur-Pétrus, AC Pomerol
Our day on the Right Bank begins with a visit to Pomerol, an appellation where Merlot dominates and prices are stratospheric. Château La Fleur-Pétrus is one of the finest properties, owned by Moueix family since 1953. It is just a stone’s throw from their other Pomerol estate, Pétrus. The wines are classically Merlot-driven and balanced out by Cabernet Franc. With production of just 3,700 cases the wines are hard to find from this boutique-style property. La Fleur-Pétrus is not open to the public so you will be among the few who have the opportunity to taste these beautiful wines first-hand.  www.moueix.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. www.vignoblesperse.com/en/chateau-pavie/home

Château Angélus, AC St-Émilion 1er Grand Cru Classé A
The day of estate visits ends with 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

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 7:00 pm we regroup for a Champagne reception followed by 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, May 19th - 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 Millésima
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, Millésima. This company is one of the top traders 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. They also have an excellent wine shop, so this would be the place to stock up on older vintages of the top estates. This visit will be followed by a 3-course lunch at a nearby bistro along with a tasting of several excellent wines. www.millesima.com


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: $4,250 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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