11 bottles. That’s how many bottles of wine we bought during our Bordeaux & Dordogne trip this weekend. I would’ve bought more if Rio would’ve let me – but considering we were train-ing it back to Paris and 11 bottles is pretty heavy to lug around, it was probably best that we didn’t. Or if I’m being completely honest, we also didn’t have time to go to any more chateaus for wine tastings. We went to a total of four “châteaus” during this trip, as well as a wine museum that offers free tastings. And here’s a fun fact – as long as a place grows wine, it can be called a château. A place doesn’t have to have majestic mansion-size proportions to be called a “château” in the Bordeaux/Dordogne region – they just have to actually produce wine.
Below is the list of châteaus (and the museum) I visited in case you’re ever in the area. The first two were part of a Bordovino Wine Tour we took.
Tél: 05 57 51 65 20
*Wine Tastings: By reservation only. However, a few couples wandered in for a tasting and they let them join in, so they’re not strict about it.
**This château has been in the family since 1837 and is owned by a friendly bourgeois couple who even lets you wander around their house. It was interesting to see a chateau “in use” amongst antique artwork and and an adorable dog who roams the land, as seen above. During the visit, the owner will personally walk you around the vineyard property to point out the grapes and also show you his tulip tree in the “English Garden”.
Château de Ferrand
Saint-Hippolyte, 3330 Saint-Emilion
Tél: 05 57 74 47 11
*Wine Tastings: By reservation only. Closed Mondays during peak season.
**Located near Saint-Emilion, this is a large-estate château owned by the BIC family – you know, the maker of those lighters and pens? You’ll notice that they also sell Moët & Chandon champagne here. Why? Because the daughter in the BIC family recently married the son in the Moët family. This was a perfectly fine château to visit – but wasn’t to my taste as it was too big and commercialized.
Tél: 05 53 22 72 71 / email@example.com
*Wine Tastings: By reservation only.
**This was by far my favorite of all the châteaus. South African owner Caro Feely provides self-guided vineyard walks where you get to wander about her organic-farmed land, and then enjoy a wine & food pairing. I was only expecting a small plate of cheese for this, but along with a tasting of five wines, we enjoyed a small salad, cheeses, variety of breads, homemade jam and butter. She even serves you coffee and a chocolate tasting afterwards! If you’re heading to Bergerac or Sarlat from Bordeaux, this is the perfect place to stop at on the way. I highly, highly recommend Terroir Feely wines at Château Haut-Garrique and can see us returning. We even bought Caro’s book Grape Expectations as a souvenir, which she signed, of course.
Musée des Vins
5 rue des Conférences, 24100 Bergerac
Tél: 05 53 57 80 92 / firstname.lastname@example.org
*Wine Tasting: No reservations needed.
**Although this is a wine museum and not a chateau, you can enjoy free tastings of any open bottles of wine. It’s also a good destination to ask any questions about surrounding châteaus and the overall wine region.
Tél: 05 53 24 77 98
*Wine Tasting: No reservations needed. We just randomly drove here on our way back to Bordeaux and asked the owner if we could come in for a tasting.
**Located in the Montravel wine region, this château has been in the family for approximately six generations. They also own some hectares of land in the Médoc wine region.