Most wine aficionados enjoy wines, and many would jump at an opportunity to visit famous chateaux.
Medoc, a sub-region of Bordeaux generally called the Left bank of the Gironde Estuary, alone has 1500 of them including some world famous ones like Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour, and Chateau Mouton Rothschild, just the name a few.
The term Medoc has its origins in medium aquae in Latin which means “in the midst of the waters”, which the region was before Dutch engineers built draining canals in the century.
Here, 16 000 hectares of vineyards yield some of the best and best-known wines of Bordeaux. Famous chateaux wines are expensive because demand outstrips supply pending on the vintage quality, pricing, and the general economic conditions of major importers i.e the Untied Kingdom, the United States of America, Japan, and now China.
A chateau label means that the wine originates in the state’s vineyards and vinified in the winery on the premises. Some chateaux are mansions with a shed; others sport elaborate complexes of buildings and lavish cellars complete with chandeliers and tasting tables in a corner and hundreds of barrels of aging wine.
even employ barrel; makers to produce their own, or to repair those damaged.
Visiting a famous chateau is an event and can be very impressive. The French know how to host an event. Unfortunately, many chateaux are closed to visitors. Some consent to show their property to famous writers, or journalists, and in a few instances will grant appointments to groups and host a lunch for a price.
Chateau Margaux (a first growth classified estate) that produces approximately 13 000 cases of grand vin and 1700 of second label called Pavillon Rouge and close to 3000 cases of white offers guided group tours by appointment. The tasting at the end is impressive.
Chateau Kirwan (Third growth according to the 1855 classification) is now owned by Schroeder et Schyler (a famous Bordeaux shipper). The wines are excellent and you can purchase at the property after a guided tour that id offered Mondays to Saturdays at 4 p m . Group tours require an appointment.
Chateau d’Issan Grand cru Classe (third growth). The chateau was built in the 17th century on the site of a fortress; the property produces fine wines. It can be visited by appointment.
Chateau La Lagune (Third growth) in the northern part of Medoc grows cabernet sauvignon, (60 per cent), merlot (30 per cent), and petit verdot (10 per cent).
The estate dates back to the 17th century, but is now owned by the Frey family from Champagne. The grand vin is elegant, rich, and well-balanced. The second label Moulin La Lagune contains more merlot is more fruity than the grand vin and softer. Unusually, Chateau La Lagune also produces a third label mademoiselle L from an adjacent vineyard that can be enjoyed in a year or two.
The chateau accepts groups for tours, and even accommodates participants and serves excellent fare for a price.
Visiting chateaux in Bordeaux
requires a car, a well conceived and laid out map and a little homework to avoid disappointments, but it can be a life changing experience to see with how much care your favourite alcoholic beverage is produced.