Monday, May 18 - Bordeaux: The Wine Country

This was our day for visiting the wine country. First we had a lecture by a local expert, Bertrand Lafon, at 8:30. Then we left at 9:45 for a visit to Chateau Roquefort in Entre-deux-Mers region southeast of Bordeaux. This was very pleasant.

We had a good guide in the form of the technical director and stared with a tour of the grounds. Then we had a tour of the winery itself and finally a wonderful cold lunch (very good pate, pasta salad, and a selection of excellent cheeses) out doors on the grounds, and with a choice of their red white and rose wines. The weather was perfect and this lunch was a high point of the trip.

After lunch we went on to the amazing village of St. Emilion. We arrived at an upper level where there was a square with a parapet overlooking the lower village. This was very hard to take in because we had only limited time there, but the village is built over huge underground caves, including an underground church whose tower is the only part visible in the upper village. There was another church there whose cloister is accessed form the tourist office. The view was wonderful but we had no time to visit the underground part of the town.

Then we walked down a long narrow street to the lower town and found our bus waiting for us there. After that we went on to another winery, whose name I forget, where we had another tour and tasting. By this time it was very late and we were tiring, so that this visit was a little much. The house was interesting because the winery is owned by a wealthy businessman who rents it out to vacationers. Very luxurious.

We got back to Bordeaux late in the afternoon and had dinner at La Remise restaurant. The day would have been improved if the last winery visit was cancel in favor of more time in St. Emilion. A tasting of local wines in a wine bar there could have been included.

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