Stretching north and west of Bordeaux along the Garonne River, the Médoc region produces some of the area’s best wines. Renowned for its idyllic vineyards, historic chateaux, and cabernet sauvignon wines, Médoc should be at the top of the list for wine lovers visiting Bordeaux.
With hundreds of vineyards, wineries, and wine chateaux, it’s no surprise that wine tasting is the most popular activity in Médoc. The scenic Castle Road (Route des Chateaux) whisks visitors on a tour of the region’s idyllic vineyards, dotted with prestigious wine estates, and passing through towns, such as Pauillac, Margaux, and Saint-Estephe.
Half and full-day wine tours set out from Bordeaux and visit up to four wineries in a day. Many wine estates offer a vineyard tour and cellar visit, followed by a guided wine tasting, sometimes paired with regional cheeses or local delicacies.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The legal drinking age of 18 applies for all wine tastings in Bordeaux.
- It’s best to book chateaux visits and wine tastings in advance, as most vineyards are not open to the public.
- Smart-casual dress is recommended, particularly when visiting the more prestigious chateaux.
- A hat, sunscreen, and comfortable shoes are recommended, especially if you plan on walking through the vineyards.
- Many Médoc wineries are wheelchair accessible, although vineyard tours are not always possible. It’s best to check in advance to avoid disappointment.
How to Get There
The Médoc region is located north of Bordeaux along the west bank of the Garonne River. Buses and trains run from Bordeaux to Médoc towns, such as Pauillac and Margaux. Drive or join a tour to visit the wineries.
When to Get There
The best time for wine tasting tours is during high seasons from mid-May to mid-July or September, when there are fewer crowds and slightly cooler weather. August can be hot and tours book up quickly, while some wineries close their doors in winter. Avoid visiting during “Primeurs” week (first week of April) when wineries are overcrowded, and be sure to book ahead, if visiting during harvest time (October–November).
Médoc Region Wines
Most renowned for its full-bodied red wines, the Médoc region’s most common grapes include cabernet sauvignon and merlot, along with a smaller percentage of cabernet franc, malbec, and petit verdot. Médoc is home to some of Bordeaux’s most prestigious wines, including almost all of the official 1855 Classified Bordeaux and Cru Bourgeois wines. Main appellations include Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, Saint-Estephe, and Haut-Médoc. Some of the top chateaux are Pontet-Canet, Mouton Rothschild, Lynch Bages, and La Lagune.