How to learn wine tasting in Bordeaux

As a region with over 111,000 hectares of vineyards, spread across 65 different appellations where the annual production of 8,000 chateaux is approximately 750 million bottles of wine made in 6 different styles, there is undoubtedly a lot to learn about Bordeaux. The first school established to educate the public coincided with the arrival of wine tourists to the region in the 1980s.

For many visitors however, tasting Bordeaux wine is the main attraction and depending on the budget, there is a lot of temptation.

The Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux

The Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux remains the reference for professionals an connoisseurs alike and today, its training programmes are delivered in over 40 schools worldwide, by 200 accredited educators.

Headquartered opposite the tourist office, courses vary from a few hours to a number of days. From July to September, the 2-hour introductory class outlines the region from an historical and geographical perspective and features a tutored tasting of 4 wines, all for €39. Intensive courses which take a more detailed look at certain aspects of the wines; production, blending, blind tasting, serving and food pairing, to name a few are scheduled in Spring and Autumn and include châteaux visits to meet the people behind the wines.  Prices start at €390 for 2 days.

CIVB - élèves 1  
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La Cité du Vin

The new kid on the block – La Cité du Vin – also runs wine classes in English, but with a focus on the cultural, historical and traditional aspects of wine.

The "Question of Style: Bordeaux" is an hour long weekend workshop where special attention is given to the important role of water and waterways to the region, before a tasting of 3 wines. Tasting is at the centre of the hour-long "Upside Down" class which explains how to use our senses to better appreciate what is in the glass. In the adjacent multi-sensory room, visitors can take a journey across the major wine regions of the world. Using sounds and smells and images, the workshop pairs virtual food with actual wine and reflects the mandate of the museum – to showcase wine from around the globe.

Fees for all 3 classes range from €15-€35.  

CCV - salle multi sensorielle  

Max Bordeaux

At the Max Bordeaux wine gallery on Cours de l’Intendance, some of the most famous wines of the region such as Château D’Yquem are available to taste in from Enomatic machines, but if the choice can seem too overwhelming, staff is on hand to organize tutored tastings, the cost for which rises to €115 per person once you enter the realm of first growths and older vintages. 

Millésima

More mature wines also figure during visits to Millésima. Located on the southern end of the quays, the merchant house has over 500 different wines stored in its cellars, a tour of which is included at the beginning of each visit. Suggested tastings range from horizontals of certain renowned vintages (e.g. 2000) to wines of different colors and red wines from key parts of the region. It is also the ideal opportunity to learn about the pivotal role that merchants play in the trading of these great wines.   

Max Gallery  
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