Cruising the wine region of Bordeaux will conjure up mental pictures of France and acres and acres of grape vines; remind you of great evenings by the fire with a glass of wine; sharing a glass of wine with dinner and friends or just relaxing after a long day.
Well, taking a river cruise to the Wine Region of Bordeaux will surpass anything you can imagine.
I am the first to admit that before this wine-themed cruise I knew very little about grapes, terroir and the making of wine, but I learned a great deal on this cruise even though I was having a wonderful time doing it. All of our guides were so engaging and enthusiastic, you couldn’t help but soak up some of their great knowledge. For instance, when we visited a vineyard specializing in Sauterne grapes, we learned about the “noble rot” which sounds awful, but is the fungus which produces the great sauternes from that region. I will say that several in our group walked out of there with bottles of wine to enjoy later.
Without being conscious of it, I learned that wines from Bordeaux are a mix of different types of grapes and that each year the mix is different depending on the weather and how it affects the different grape varieties. I found out that all the grapes are hand-picked and that to be an organic wine, they can’t even water the grapes. Mother Nature rules in the vineyards of Bordeaux.
Who Doesn’t Love a Farmers Market?
Almost all cities and towns in France have market days and we were lucky enough to be in Cadillac on theirs. We were able to stroll around and buy bread, fruit and cheeses direct from the people who grow and produce them. The people are so friendly and willing to answer any questions you have and the variety of goods is wonderful. I bought some great cheese and fruit to snack on later. A great way to remember Cadillac. There is nothing like spending time at a local market to get a flavor of the area
Did you know they use eggs in wine?
There is a tradition in Bordeaux of using egg whites in the wine casks to help remove sediment during the wine-making process. As you can imagine, this leaves you with lots of egg yolks. The French have solved this problem by creating caneles, which are small pastries made only with egg yolks. I applaud their ingenuity. The cruise director brought several boxes back to the ship and put them out for everyone to try. I had several caneles. Okay, I probably had more than a few.
Not all highlights of a cruise have to be about activity
Here’s a question – how many of us have free time in our everyday lives to just sit back and totally relax. Onboard a river cruise, when you are cruising between ports, you have that opportunity. You can sit in the lounge and just watch the countryside go by, perhaps enjoying a glass of wine from the bar. Maybe you are a card player; there are tables in the lounge set up for whatever card game you would like to indulge in. If you love to read, bring your own book or enjoy one from the library.
Sitting on the sun deck is also an option if the weather cooperates. You could also enjoy that glass of wine in the hot tub or pool. I love early mornings, especially if there is a fog hanging over the river, isolating you from the rest of the world. I shot this picture while standing at the bow of the ship watching a crew member communicating with the Captain by walkie talkie as they steered us safely through this and several other bridges. Our captain was very young, but as you can see, very experienced. What an exhilarating experience to see the bridge emerge out of the fog and to sail gently through. So quiet and ethereal-it was one of the highlights of the cruise.
There are lots of possibilities, but they all have one overriding theme – this is your time to sit back, relax and let someone else steer the boat.
Now is the time to make your dreams a reality. Contact me at www.unique-journeys.com to set up an appointment to book your unforgettable river cruise