Wine Tasting à la Française


Today we arranged for a couple of wine tours in the immediate area.  Saint Emilion is one of the great appellations of Bordeaux and we learned a tremendous amount by just visiting two wineries.  We went to two chateaus – Chateau Figeac and Chateau Beausejour – both within a mile or two of the village.  As opposed to Napa or Sonoma, the wineries have relatively small areas of vineyards and there is tremendous history in both the winemaking process and the wine itself. For the first visit, we drove to the chateau and requested an English tour.  Our tour guide, Gwen, was not only extremely fluent in English but also very knowledgeable.  We had a group that included us, a Brazilian couple, a Danish couple, and a couple from Virginia who were extremely annoying…. you know, constant stupid questions like, “Is this a red wine?”… of course I jest, but they were still very annoying.  Here are a few pictures of the chateau and the environs:



The Chateau – home to the owners of Chateau Figeac


The wine tasting area – only one wine to taste.





The tasting at Chateau Figeac was in the morning and then we had another at 2:30pm at Chateau Beausejour.  The chateau was actually within walking distance of the village and our hotel.  We had a private tour with Patrick who had previously worked in Napa and Sonoma and again was fluent in English.  He also gave us all sorts of little tidbits of information that we had never heard.  First of all, the wine for this chateau was stored in underground limestone caves – you’ll see the pictures below.  Apparently, these caves were dug centuries ago to claim the limestone which built the entire village.  The entire area including the village is built upon these caves below and are all interconnected….. amazing.  In addition, the limestone is very easy to cut underground because it contains so much moisture – Patrick showed us the humidity within the caves and it was 98%.  Evidently this keeps the wine at a stable temperature with the proper moisture.



The wine barrels



More of the caves


Of course with all of this walking around and education, we needed a sugar break to build up the energy.  We stopped at one of the many macaroon shops and grabbed a small bag:



Chocolate, raspberry, vanilla….. and extremely light.


And to end the day before dinner and to celebrate my birthday, we had a glass of rose champagne on the terrace of the hotel.  I love this shot of the champagne glass reflecting the village behind.

That’s it for tonight.  Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful birthday wishes.  We’ll be in Saint Emilion one more day.



Cheers….. à votre santé!


4 Responses

  1. Donda

    Happy Birthday…hope you both are enjoying your day!!!! CHEERS!!!!

    July 2, 2012 at 5:22 pm

  2. Bill & Penny


    The town is enchanting! You chose the perfect place for a very special occasion. Happy Birthday.

    Penny and Bill

    July 2, 2012 at 6:59 pm

  3. EMILion and Raya

    St. Emillion is the type of village I had in mind when I asked Rich and you if you would ever like to spend some months in one area. To live the life as a local and get to know the baker, the butcher, shop at the local market, etc…Rich could be an English speaking guide at the wineries and Marc a sommelier at the local eatery. Then we could all come visit both of you and enjoy the macaroons:) Can’t wait to hear the stories about the round abouts in the stick shift Peugeot. Can you post a photo of the car?

    July 3, 2012 at 12:01 am

  4. Kari

    Sounds like it was terrific even with the Virgina couple; too bad you didn’t get a picture of them.

    July 3, 2012 at 7:39 pm

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