M1623 – Bordeaux wine

In my last post, M1623 – Have you Erdre?, I described the tour I made to Nantes with a cruise on the River Erdre from the port of Montoir-de-Bretagne. Overnight we sailed from there around the coast, and by early morning we were entering the River Gironde heading upstream to our next port of call, Bordeaux.

Readers of my earlier posts about this cruise will know that seeing the rivers in daylight on this river cruising cruise has been a challenge. Realising that this river cruising was being done in daylight, they found a different way to try and stop us seeing it – they put on the first of two lectures by the keynote lecturer on board for the hour as we sailed into Bordeaux! Difficult choice time – attend the lecture or go on deck to view the river. On this cruise, as on the Island Hopping cruise earlier in the year I was acting as travelling companion to an elderly family friend, so in the end I elected to join her at the lecture, but with hindsight I probably would have chosen differently as we had reached Bordeaux and almost docked before the lecture was over. Never mind, I was so impressed with Bordeaux I am sure that I will be back one day.

After an early lunch on board, I accompanied my elderly friend on an easy tour ashore in the afternoon. The tour took us by coach on a short tour of the city guided by a local guide – which provided useful orientation for my plans to walk the city the next day – then went a short distance out of the city to a vineyard to learn how Bordeaux wine is produced.

There were several coach-loads of passengers doing this tour, but very sensibly each coach went to a different vineyard as there are so many in the area. While another coach for example visited a vineyard with a large châteaux surrounded by a moat, ours was less dramatic but very attractive all the same:

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After a short wait a lady from the vineyard took us on a guided tour of the production areas and cellars, explaining the production process as we went around. The vineyard produces both red and white wine, and we were shown cellars where each type is left to mature in large numbers of oak barrels:

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On one  wall of the second cellar were displays of tools and equipment used:

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Not being a wine drinker the finer details of the process passed me by, and I was more interested when the guide showed us a collection of very old cars that were owned by the owner of the vineyard:

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Finally we were led to a large room where we were invited to taste a white and a red wine produced by the vineyard, and of course there was the opportunity to buy some of the wine too. At this point I wandered off, and took some more photographs of an intriguing hooped sculpture in the courtyard, and of the grapes growing in the nearby fields:

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We then reboarded the coach for the short journey back to our waiting ship. The ship was due to stay overnight in Bordeaux, not sailing until 11pm the following evening, giving us a full second day in the city. Our local guide tipped us off to go up on deck once it got dark to view how the city was lit up at night. This was a very good suggestion as I was most impressed at how the bridges, buildings and even construction cranes were lit all around the ship:

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