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Bordeaux's Wine Growing Renaissance

200803-bordeaux-ss-1-article

Photo: Frédéric Lagrange

A friendlier, more welcoming France? In Bordeaux, the country’s oldest and most iconic wine-growing region, the answer is yes. Falling sales among its many bottlings (due to a large increase in worldwide production) have caused many Bordelais to embrace—not just tolerate—visitors. Once top producers here sighed when the tour group arrived; now they are gussying up their châteaus and actively courting enthusiasts, conducting animated tastings, and offering patient explanations of viticulture and classification. Suddenly, it’s downright pleasant to amble through the celebrated wineries of St.-Estèphe, St.-Julien, Margaux, and Arcins, and to explore the nearby regions of St.-Émilion, Graves, and the Médoc peninsula.

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Inspired by: Bordeaux’s Wine Growing Renaissance — by Alexandra Marshall, Published Feb. 2008

Hotels (6)

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    Château de Sours

    The property, just southwest of Pomerol, is now in the hands of Martin Krajewski, an English businessman who has added several large and immaculate

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    Regent Bordeaux

    For its renovation of the 232-year-old historic palace across from the National Opera, Regent tapped Jacques Garcia to revamp the 250 rooms. The wh

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    La Maison Bordeaux

    This cool little upstart bed-and-breakfast combines colorful contemporary interior design with family-style service and rooms for under $300.

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    Hostellerie de Plaisance

    The recently updated four-star hotel features molecular gastronomy in chef Philippe Etchebest's restaurant. Try the unexpected scallops in beef jus

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    Chateau Rigaud

    The property is owned by a young couple, Anna Barwick and her husband, Andrew, has claret colored walls, Ren bath products, and a screening room wi

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    Château les Merles

    Part of France’s new wave of country hotels and restaurants, this estate dates from 1677, with a 19th-century château built by one of Napoleon’s ge

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Restaurants (6)

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    Thierry Marx

    Acclaimed molecular gastronomy in the Médoc.

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    Le Lion d'Or

    The scruffy restaurant is easy to miss, but is something of a clubhouse for the wine elite. It provides on-site lockers for the winery owners to st

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    Cafe Lavinal

    This terrific bistro is beloved by locals.

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    Le Petit Commerce

    Request a light white wine in this low-key bar and you’ll likely be served a chilled bottle for less than $10 that will go perfectly with a plate o

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    La Tupina

    Chef Jean-Pierre Xiradakis’s take on French country cuisine ranges from traditional rillettes to tripe crisp, to tomato ice cream. Don’t be shy abo

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    Château Cordeillan-Bages

    Thierry Marx helms the kitchen at Château Cordeillan-Bages, a two-starred restaurant in Pauillac owned by Lynch-Bages winery. His reputation as bot

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Activities (11)

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    Wine Tours with James Bonnardel

    Private excursions, customized by a local oenologist.

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    Château Beychevelle

    Château Beychevelle is an estate along La Gironde about 30 miles northwest of Bordeaux near the village of St.-Julien. Founded in the Middle Ages,

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    Château Palmer

    Just off the D2 highway—known as the Route des Châteaux—this 128-acre winery is easily recognizable by its two conical turrets rising behind a wrou

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    Château Giscours

    Located northwest of Bordeaux proper, the Château Giscours winery is set on a hilltop in the commune of Labarde. The domaine started producing Marg

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    Château Cos d'Estournel

    Château Cos d'Estournel is one of the top Haut-Médoc wine producers in Bordeaux’s St.-Estèphe region. The property sits on 200 acres with an impres

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    Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte

    More than just a winery, Château Smith Haut Lafitte is a family home, a hotel with a natural mineral springs spa, and one of the most praised winem

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    Chateau Pichon-Longueville

    Chateau Pichon-Longueville is known locally as Pichon Baron. Located northwest of Bordeaux along the Garonne River between the towns of Pauillac an

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    Musée National des Douanes

    La Musée National des Douanes is France’s National Customs Museum. Located along the waterfront in an 18th-century palace at Place de la Bourse, th

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    École du Vin

    The city-sponsored program offers wine-country weekend tours and onsite two-hour tasting courses at a posh-looking but bargain-priced wine bar.

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    CAPC Musée d'Art Contemporain

    Set in a former warehouse, the museum shows a rotating collection of art from the 1960's to the present.

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    Le Bar a Vins

    Bordeaux fussy and overpriced? Not at this bar run by the region’s wine council. Architect Françoise Bousquet has appointed the soaring Neoclassica

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