Friday, 10 May 2019

Garden Inn by Hilton (Bordeaux, France)

There wasn’t time to sleep late this morning. My tour today was scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. Just had time for breakfast and a shower before ordering an Uber to take me to the Tourist Office location. My Uber today was a Tesla and it was a quiet and smooth ride. (I’d like to try driving one someday.)

I met up with the four other people that were joining me on the tour. Interesting to note that my tour yesterday was with people about my same age and the two couples that were with me on the tour today were in their 30’s and 40’s. One couple from the U.K. and the other from Finland. We had a great time together. Our guide was a young woman who spoke very good English and kept us entertained throughout the tour. Like the driver yesterday she explained more about the history of winemaking in the Médoc area, Northwest of the city.

We visited two Châteaus today. Both were located on land that was reclaimed by Dutch settlers, between the Gironde River and the Atlantic, using the same techniques used in the Netherlands to add land to that country. As a result, the soil was more sandy and over the years different methods were used to dry out the soil to force the roots of the grape vines to be distressed from lack of water, making their roots reach further down to find water.

It was interesting to have a different guide explain roughly the same information but from a different perspectives. Some of the information was the same, but since I’m still a novice, it doesn’t hurt to hear something twice so it sinks in.

Our first château (Château Siran) was family-owned for a couple of centuries. It was a smaller vineyard but what made this tour unique was their museum that they built up over the years. Collections of early containers of wine that included early glass bottles. It was all very interesting. More wine to sample as part of the tour. We practiced our tasting techniques and were given opportunities to talk about what we smelled and tasted with each of the wines offered to us.

The next château (Château Marquis de Terme) was a much larger operation. Again it was family-owned for at least a century. What made this château different is that they developed a new type of “barrel” for their Asian customer who preferred a more robust taste. I have a picture of these barrels that I uploaded to Instagram. The barrels are not opened but have a glass appliance on the top where they can sample the wine as it ages. This château only produces two types of wine and uses the various varieties of grape to create their particular blends.

On the way back to the meeting point our guide had us play a game to guess the smell of a flavored liquid contained in small glass bottles. I got all three wrong. One was vanilla, another black current, and I forgot what the third one was. The couple from the U.K. were the winners.

We said our goodbyes as we went our different ways. I took the tram back to the hotel. On the way I stopped in at the food court next door and ordered a Japanese dish for lunch. I’ll come back later and order something for dinner.

I was very tired when I returned to my room and took a long nap. I had two days of pictures to edit and upload to Instagram plus two days of my travel blog to write. By the time I finished it was nearly 9:00 and time for dinner. I ordered a cheeseburger.

Tomorrow I leave for Paris to meet up with my brother, niece and her son and Sunday. I’ll make my way over to the train station tomorrow at about 10:00 a.m. Think I made good use of my time in Bordeaux. I would recommend a week in Bordeaux for anyone who decides to visit.

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