Bordeaux Wines: It’s all about the grapes!



Thursday afternoon we docked in town of Pauillac located in the estuary on the left bank of the broad marshy Gironde River.  The Medoc wine region is located here and it contains some of the most legendary chateaus for producing wine: Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Kirwan, Chateau Palmer and Chateau Pichon Baron, the later two being favorites of MA’s son Jim.  When all our groups from the the Viking Foresti boarded one of four Merceds Binz luxury motor coaches, we set off on our tour of this area.


Chateau Pichon Baron


Outside the small town of Pauillac the geography changed to vineyard after vineyard, rows after rows, acres and acres of grape vines growing.  Some of the vineyards employed a small tractor that travels between three rows of vines and plows the dirt. Some vineyards use horses and some had workers hand manicuring the planted vines.


Cutaway of the 6-9 feet of the Bordeaux region gravel soil

We stopped for a visit to the Chateau Giscours where we were shown the grounds and storage buildings,  and given a fairly detailed talk about the wine making process including about how and why Bordeaux wine is the best.  Something I did not know is that the best soil is made up of mostly gravel.  We looked at an example of what a 9-foot deep hole looks like that the vines have to grow down to. From the first foot down to the clay it’s all gravel.  The vine has to grow down that far to reach clay and water.  It’s the minerals in the soil that feed the vines.  None of them  are fertilized chemically. After the technical stuff we were offered a tasting of three of their wines.



Chateau Giscours


Our dinner at the chateau

Our next and last stop of the evening was at the Chateau Kirwan where we were hosted by Viking for a chateau dinner in a beautiful room with wonderful wood beams all across the ceiling.

Dinner was a four course meal supervised by the ship’s chef and served by the ship’s wait staff.  MA has wanted to buy her son, Jim, a bottle of 1999 Bordeaux wine.  He and his wife Sue were married in 1999 and that makes these 1999 vintages special for them.

One of the waiters we had made friends with, Girondl, found a 1999 bottle at the chateau for her.  She bought it on the spot which made her very happy.  Our meal was four courses: Onion & garlic soup with a pastry top, a salad with duck on the side, veal filet mignon with asparagus, carrots and potato gratin and topped off with a chocolate Viennetta.  Do I have to say it was delicious!  We then boarded our bus which took us back to Pauillac and our ship. We were ‘done for the day’ to say the least.


2016 has a year to go before being bottled

Tomorrow we visit the main market in Bordeaux.


2 thoughts on “Bordeaux Wines: It’s all about the grapes!

  1. Scott Meyer says:

    Wayne, think wife and I would have loved that day. We like red wine and good food.
    I had some Lifitte Rothschild a few years back. At the time, I thought it was the best red wine I’d ever tasted. Sounds like you’re having fun!


  2. dave b. says:

    WOW !!! What an informative and interesting post. I had no idea about the soil condition in the vineyards. The day spent in the vineyards sounds like a spectacular experience. Your travel blog on this trip has been great. The pictures and commentary are outstanding. Keep them coming.

    Have a God blessed day – dave b.


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