When we hear the geographic name, Bordeaux, most of us (particularly wine lovers) think about wine – specifically, Bordeaux wines (Left Bank/Right Bank or Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, etc. or Margaux, Medoc, Saint-Emilion, etc.). We arrived in the Bordeaux region on the ship and docked in the city of Bordeaux, in the heart of the old city. Our first explorations were in the city, before driving around the region, visiting wineries (and restaurants) on the left bank and the right bank [see upcoming blogs].
Renowned worldwide for its fine wines, Bordeaux was recognized even in Roman times as one of the empire’s most exceptional vineyards. The generally rolling hillsides offer ample exposure to the sun, while the pebbled, sandy soil provides good drainage. Meticulous care is lavished on each vine and throughout the entire winemaking process, from harvest and crushing to fermentation, aging, clarification and bottling. The result when everything works just perfectly is some of the most sought-after vintages in the world. [See the recent movie, Red Obsession, where red is a double entendre and refers to both the color of the wine and the Chinese wealth pursuing the top Bordeaux wines.]
The city of Bordeaux exudes an aura of elegance. “The city of Bordeaux is among France’ most exciting, vibrant and dynamic cities. In the last decade and a half, it’s shed its languid, Belle au Bois Dormant (Sleeping Beauty) image thanks to the vision of city mayor Alain Juppé who’s pedestrianised boulevards, restored neoclassical architecture, created a high-tech public transport system and reclaimed Bordeaux’s former industrial wet docks at Bassin à Flots. Half the city (18 sq km) is UNESCO-listed, making it the largest urban World Heritage site; while world-class architects have designed a bevy of striking new buildings – the Herzog & de Meuron stadium (2015), decanter-shaped La Cité du Vin (2016) and Jean-Jacques Bosc bridge (2018) across the Garonne River included.” – www.lonelyplanet.com