A few weeks ago, my brother, his wife and family were visiting us here in Bordeaux. No visit to the Bordeaux area is complete without a tour of the wine region. In reality, it's the Wine Regions - we are literally surrounded on all sides by wine production. Medoc, Margaux, Haut-Medoc to the North, Bordeaux, Bordeaux Superior, Pessac Leognan, St. Emilion just to name a few. It's so hard to choose where to take guests - especially when you only have one day.
We decided to head North up into the Haut Medoc region - it's close by and it's just beautiful to drive through and look at all the vineyards. It's vineyard, after vineyard of vines & grapes. It's stunning. Add in the beautiful Chateau at each property - a lot you can see right from the road - and it's a fun day of sight seeing.
Now, wine touring here in France is a bit different than in the States. It use to be that one would go to a central tasting place in each region - a maison du vin. This place (house of wine) would carry all the different local vineyards and guide you in a tasting and then of course you could purchase what you like. A nice way to see and of course, taste a wide variety of wine but you miss seeing the cellars, the property, and even a tour of the production. Overtime, tourism has changed here. Now wineries or Chateaux as they are called in France are more open to the general public. Many offer tours by appointment but tastings are always welcome as long as they are open. The Office of Tourism in Bordeaux also coordinates many guided tours of the wine regions by tour bus. It you don't want to drive and have the time - a lot of people enjoy this way of seeing the vineyards.
We were headed back to Bordeaux when we decided to stop by one more Chateau. On a gut instinct (love when that happens) - we saw a sign from the road pointing the way to Chateau de Malleret. We decided to follow and check it out. We found a beautiful property as we drove through the park & vineyard and also saw that they had horses on the property. A nice mix of country beauty and sweeping Medoc wine landscape.
We were graciously welcomed by the staff and asked if we wanted to do a tasting and a tour of the cellar and production. This sounded awesome - The hostess spoke both English and French - so was very easy to understand and gave us some great information about the property and vineyard. This property uses very traditional methods to bottle and store. (I love the multi-colored barrels!)
After our wonderful tour - she offered us a tasting. We enjoyed a few different wines - and could taste the difference in each year's production. This chateaux has a Cru Bourgeois status, which they have to maintain each year by producing high quality wine and that they do. Their wine was enjoyed by all of us. (Now, I need to put a disclaimer here - I'm not a wine expert - I have tasted many wines over the years and I do enjoy a nice variety depending on the meal and event. - I can also tell the difference between a younger and an older wine - and one that is more complex & full - but again I know each person has their own tastes.) There were 4 of us tasting and all of us agreed that both years had a nice full body flavor and complexity.
Here is our group below enjoying a nice conversation with the guide. Again, as foreigners, we felt welcomed and openly invited to share in their wonderful production. The property also includes a beautiful park and additionally, they raise Thoroughbred horses. This property's orgins date back 450 years - it's stunning! We did not have time to walk around the park on the property but definitely will next time! Take a look at their website below and I'm sure you will agree - this is a very special place.
I recommend this Chateaux for anyone who is driving through the Medoc - we had a wonderful time and experience. It's located not too far out of Bordeaux - only about 15 minutes from downtown- so an easy drive from the city - a great place to go if you only have a couple hours or have 1/2 day - you can enjoy the park too. Of course, if you have more time - it's fun to compare the different wines at various chateaux - but this place, by far, was our favorite! We will be sure to bring more friends here! Not bad for a whim and a gut instinct - I love when we find places like this in our touring.
Chateau de Malleret
33290 Le Pian Medoc
Here is their website link:
Chateau de Malleret