Brantome is very near to some of the world’s most renowned wine regions, so any visitor to the area should also visit the vineyards of Bergerac, Bordeaux and the legendary St. Emilion. There are many ways to enjoy a wine-tasting visit – by train, bus, car and even bicycle!
Bergerac produces a unique range of quality wines, including the famous Pecharmant, and a wide range of reds, whites and roses. The town itself is located on the banks of the Dordogne river, with a charming medieval old town dotted with pavement cafes and interesting boutiques. Bordeaux is the world’s largest wine district, with about 9,000 producers. Divided into six main wine-growing regions, Bordeaux produces some of the world’s finest wines. Although it is known for it reds, it also produces some excellent whites, such as the dry whites from Graves and the sweet whites from Sauternes.
The town of Bordeaux is also worth a visit, if only to see the amazing Water Mirror along the riverbank, Bordeaux Cathedral, and the charming pedestrianised streets. Saint-Emilion, one of the Bordeaux red wine regions, is known for the vineyards that surround the town. Carved out of limestone, the town of Saint-Emilion is accessed via one of seven gates that were part of the original fortified town. Its charming cobblestone streets are lined with historic buildings, and are studded with pretty cafes, restaurants and shops, and both Bordeaux Cathedral and Saint-Emilion are Unesco World Heritage sites.
Some of the famous wine chateaux, such as Chateaux Margaux, Mouton Rothschild, Lafite, Latour and others can be visited by appointment, although the cellars are generally closed during harvest times in March/April and September/October, although you can still usually visit the chateaux and take photographs. Bergerac’s wineries are lesser known but definitely worth a visit, and English is spoken in many of these. On my site you’ll find a useful list of Bergerac wineries where English is spoken.
Le Train des Grands Vignobles is a quaint introduction to the St Emilion wine region, and only costs about 6euro;. For about 30 minutes, you’ll travel on a little through the famous chateaux and vineyards as well as the town itself At the splendid Chateau Rigaud guests enjoy a customised itinerary of wine-related activities in a relaxed house party atmosphere. They focus on smaller winery tours, meeting the wine makers, learning about grape varieties and how wines are made.
The Bordeaux tourist office offers daily bus tours of the wine regions. Each day of the week, Sunday through Saturday, the tourist office takes visitors to chateaux in one of the six major Bordeaux wine regions. You can learn a great deal about wines at the Maison de Vin in both Bordeaux and Saint-Emilion, where some of the world’s best sommeliers have trained. Here you can sample wines from several regions before embarking on a more indepth tour. One of the nicest way to see the vineyards is to hire a bicycle and go wine tasting in the region. Cycle through St-Emilion, Montagne, Lussac and Puisseguin, visit Saint Martin de Montagne on the way and have lunch at Le Vieux Presbytere, one of the most famous local restaurants.
So I hope that this guide will help your visit of the vineyards near and around Brantome, but if you need any more details see my author’s box below. Enjoy!