As all wine experts will know this refers to a classification of the vineyards (Chateaus) in Saint Emilion (near Bordeaux) where we have had a fantastic day learning about winemaking as well as experienced this picturesque medieval town. World famous steeped in history, its idyllic soil conditions (situation on some old limestone quarries), have produced some of the worlds best wines for centuries. We also had tours at 3 Chateaus where the boys learnt (but not experienced of course!) the technical subtleties of wine tasting!
Some facts & figures: A barrel holds 300 bottles of wine, which, made of French Oak, typically cost 700euro each (empty!). There are around 200kms of limestone tunnels under the town many used as cellars. Grape varieties in the area are predominantly Merlot & Cabernet Franc. Recent vintage years were 2005, 2009&2010 with fingers crossed for the 2013 harvest which will start in Oct. A 5 hectare estate will produce 15-20,000 bottles a year. Sadly for winemakers in the area, thanks to “new world wines!”, it has become increasingly difficult to remain profitable.
We are staying at a great campsite set amongst one of the vineyards and thoroughly recommend a visit to the area which is also a cyclists and runners paradise!