Saint-Emilion-Pomerol-Fronsac wine route

Saint-Emilion wine route is renowned not only for its wines but for the village of Saint-Emillion itself, dominating the Dordogne valley from its hilltop position. This vineyard make up the first vineyards in the world to be awarded the title of ‘Cultural Landscape’ by UNESCO on the World Heritage List in 1999 as a historical landscape that remains intact and continues as a working activity. Saint Emilion is an ideal place to start a wine tour in the vineyards, a wine tasting workshop or a simple winery tour.

Visit the St Emilion wine route

Nearby Pomerol is much smaller but shares its  Roman history with that of St Emilion with the tiny appellation of Lalande de Pomerol at its northern tip.  A stone’s throw from Libourne, the principal town of the region, and the convergence of the rivers Dordogne and l’Isle, lies Fronsac with two main sectors: Fronsac and Canon Fronsac.

Saint-Emilion wine route and its Grands Crus

Vineyards from Saint-Emilion wine route are very different in layout to the rest of Bordeaux. Their compact, dense configuration resembles that of Burgundy. Merlot makes up 65% of the grapes.

Whilst the village of St Emilion is the jewel in the crown, the busy market town of Libourne is the hub. 

To the west of Libourne lies the appellations of AOC Graves de Vayres, Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac. Then there is Pomerol, which whilst noted for its fine wines does not figure in the classifications, and Lalande de Pomerol which covers only two communes - Lalande de Pomerol itself and Néac. To the west of Libourne lies the AOC Appellations of Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux and Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux.

St Emilion lies at the heart of the region - with the appellations AOC St Emilion and St Emilion Grand Cru as well as the satellite appellations of St Georges St Emilion, Montagne Saint Emilion, Puisseguin Saint Emilion and Lussac Saint Emilion. On the Saint Emilion, Pomerol and Fronsac Wine Trail you can find properties that produce Bordeaux, Bordeaux Supérieur and Entre-Deux-Mers.

Paysage Saint-Emilion  

Visit the Saint-Emilion wine route


According to legend, St Emilion was founded by a monk from Brittany who sought refuge in a cave in a place called Ascum Bas (an early name for the village) in the 8C. After making a miracle, he fled his notoriety. His name was Emilion.

He lived as a hermit, dedicating the rest of his life to worship and performing miracles which earned him a following. The village was named St Emilion after his death. 

The Benedictine monks who succeeded Emilion, under the influence of a local lord, dug an underground church: the monolithic church. A must-see when visiting the town.


Saint Emilion, home to the Jurade

Saint Emilion is also home to the Jurade - a wine brotherhood created by the English King John in 1199 when local noblemen were given political, economic and legal power enabling them to control the region. The Jurade is now in charge of promoting the region’s wines worldwide; they organise the annual Spring Feast and Ban des Vendanges which heralds the start of the wine harvest.

There is much to see in the region. There is Saint Emilion, of course, and the bastide towns of Libourne and St Foy la Grande on banks of the Dordogne.

There are also the numerous historic villages, roman churches and the Abbey at Guîtres.

From the very old to the very new, don’t forget to include a look at the regions the resoundingly modern wine cellars, designed by some of the world’s greatest architects such as Portzamparc for Cheval Blanc or Jean Nouvel at La Dominique

Many châteaux to visit along the Saint-Emilion wine route

Here are a few examples:

Chateau Cantenac offers very popular tastings, regularly voted as ‘excellent’ on Trip Advisor. Booking is advised and visits can be tailored to measure. 

Classified as an historical monument, Chateau Siaurac offers wine cellar visits and tastings as well as meals from their gastronomic chef. They hold regular events, such as weekend brunch and “Wine Days” to experience life in the Chateau. Bed and breakfast available. *

Chateau La Croix in Fronsac offers visits to the chateaux with wine tastings, truffle tastings with truffles from the estate and truffle/wine pairings.

château Siaurac de face  

Wine and food pairing on the Saint-Emilion wine route

Here some excellent reason to add a gourmet experience to you trip:

For a light meal, the wine bar, L'Envers du Décor is a popular St Emilion haunt. Owned by a winemaker, there’s an excellent wine list (of course!) and pretty terrace. Booking advised.

There are numerous excellent places to eat in the region - from chateaux restaurants, such as the Terrasse Rouge at chateau La Dominique to small, family run restaurants in the villages.

Or why not buy some excellent cheese, a bottle or two of wine at your favourite chateau and have a picnic on the banks of the Dordogne? Don’t forget the corkscrew!

Restaurant La Terrasse Rouge - Château La Dominique