Médoc wine route

The D2, known as the Castles Route, which runs from Bordeaux up and along the length of the Médoc peninsula is the wine lovers equivalent to Road 66. Eight of the most famous Bordeaux appellations can be found in on the peninsular which is bordered by the Gironde estuary to the east and by the Atlantic ocean on the west side. Vast manmade forests protect the vines from the buffeting winds to the south. Embark on an oenological journey among Bordeaux's most beautiful chateaux and its famous wines in the world, by experiencing tours & tastings in the wineries.

Sainte-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien, Margaux and the other AOC will reveal there secret to you...

Selection of
guided wine tours

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Traditional and Modern Médoc (morning)
from
72.00
Self-drive tour in Médoc : a half-day in Margaux with Memosine
from
79.00
Classified Growths of Margaux - Half day wine tour
from
75.00

A week-end on the Medoc wine route

A region to explore

Some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Gironde can be found in the Haut Medoc, with its gently rolling valleys and wetlands bordering the Garonne, crisscrossed by streams. The countryside is home to several species of rare flora and fauna, protected by the classification Natura 2000 as a preserved wetland.

There are 100 kms of fine sandy beaches. The Velodyssée cycle path runs along the Atlantic coast for 126 kms, from Verdun-sur-Mer to Arcachon.

Finally, the picturesque village of Vertheuil has an 11C abbey and 12C castle that are also worth a visit.

 

THE 1855 GRANDS CRUS CLASSIFICATION

In 1855 Napoleon III realised the potential of the Medoc’s wines and presented a system of classification at the Universal Exhibition of Paris. He ordered the creation of the Great Growth Classification (Classement des Grand Crus Classés en 1855). The most prestigious wines are classified by 5 categories from 1st to 5th growths. This system protected the value of the wines for both negotiators and the more prestigious chateaux. Five Medoc appellations —four of them in the Médoc—bear the coveted premier grand cru in the classification of Bordeaux wines carried out in 1855.

The Medoc is home to 8 AOC (Appellations contrôlées): Medoc, Haut-Medoc, Moulis-en-Medoc, Listrac-Medoc, Sainte-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint-Julien and Margaux.

Several of the best known chateaux are to be found in the south of the region, but there are fantastic wines to be found across the Médoc, and some of the lesser known greats, offer superb wines at more accessible prices than the great estates.

The famous wine writer, Jancis Robinson suggested that some of the best Bordeaux wines come from the vineyards which dip their toes in the estuary.

Paysage Medoc  

Following the Médoc wine route

In the heart of the Medoc wine route winds a beautiful road littered with castles with remarkable architecture: the D2. This famous Castles Route, may only be 86 kms long from top to toe but it passes several of the most famous wine names in the world, such as Margaux, Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Julien and Moulis.

Most of Médoc’s châteaux welcome visitors

Before starting off on the Médoc pilgrimage, call ahead to make sure the chateaux is open and to book a visit, but there’s more to the Medoc than just the fantastic wines: here are a few suggestions.

The Winery at Arsac lies a stone’s throw from Bordeaux and has around 1200 different French and international wines. They offer regular themed wine tastings accompanied bye the winemakers themselves. As a change from the zodiac, here you can find your oenologic sign, or you can put together your own blend of grapes to create a unique bottle of wine. 

For the more adventurous, the Winery offers tours through the vineyards - by 4 x 4, accompanied by a ‘vine ranger’ or in time honoured French style, by Solex or by bicycle, with a stop at a chateau to taste the wines, of course!

Also in Pauillac, the ancient hamlet of Bages has been entirely restored by Jean-Michel Cazes, the owner of Chateau Lynch-Bages (Grand Cru Classé). It’s just the place to come after an afternoon’s tasting - here you’ll find a brasserie, a delicatessen and bakery, boutiques and a bicycle workshop.

Medoc wine route: art and wine

The “Wine through Art” museum (inaugurated by André Malraux inn 1962) can be found at Château Mouton-Rothschild (Premier Cru Classé, Pauillac). Treasures include rare XVII German gold pieces as well as medieval tapestries and porcelain from China, Japan and Persia. 

Another chateau with a collection of art - modern this time - is Chateau Chasse-Spleen, in Moulis-en-Medoc. There is a range of eclectic pieces scattered through the glorious gardens and in the wine cellars. They offer a choice of wine tastings as well. 

Paysage Médoc arrondi  

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