Paul Morris hopped aboard the tour bus to visit vineyards and sample some Bordeaux wine.
The first vineyard we visited was a very grand affair founded by the Petit-Laroche family, wine merchants in the 19th century. From those humble beginnings Château Maucaillou has grown to be more than just a vineyard – it has its own wine museum, packed with the strange instruments once used to create the good stuff. Some of the exhibits appear to belong in an old apothecary.
The wine tasting went well in very spacious cellars, and we were handed a smart brochure at the end of the tasting. When it came time to visit the shop I noticed that not many of my fellow travellers were buying the wine.
Our next stop was Listrac-Medoc where the welcome was entirely different. When Alain and Sylvie Blasquez started their business at Château Baudan there were no vines on the land – now they stretch out in glorious sunshine as far as the eye can see. They are both clearly passionate about what they do and the tour was very personal. They took the time explain about each wine we tried – their Médoc Cru Bourgeois is clearly one of the best Listrac – and took us into cool cellars (it was baking hot outside) to explain about the various vats.
When it was time to go to the boutique the tills were ringing as their guests bought wine and corkscrews. One curious item on the land, just before the vines begin, is a golf flag, for practicing pitching. I asked Alain Blasquez: “Who’s the golfer?” He replied: “Me, but I never get the time.”
Book your wine tour at the tourist offices and happy tasting.
Where to stay
Close to all the attractions, La Cour Carrée is a very comfortable boutique hotel. The courtyard in the name is a central courtyard open to the sky and flooded with light.