Visiting Bordeaux and La Rioja


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Taking my dad through France and Spain for his 60th birthday in September.   We have 3 night planned in Bordeaux and 2 nights in Logroño. I know there are plenty of members here who know way more about wine than me so I was hoping for some fellow members advice regarding which vineyards to stop at in either region.

Thank you in advance! 


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Bring some empty wine shippers with you so you can fly home with your wine purchases.  One product I really like is Wine Check - Wine Luggage.  I was one of their earliest adopters and have traveled far and wide with it.  Some airlines won't even charge you for luggage when it's empty as it weights nothing.  A little charm at the ticket desk can help.

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21 hours ago, Ken Gargett said: thing to do if you have a regular good retailer here is to try and get them to tap any contacts for a visit. 

I was going to mention having a retailer call ahead for you at a particular property.  Maybe you could bring something back to them as a thank you?  The wine industry treats VIP's much different than regular blokes walking in off the street.  Even better if there are importers or distributors in your locale than can call ahead.

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  • 2 weeks later...

You're visiting close to harvest, which can gum things up as places get tapped out. Fortunately both Rioja and Bordeaux are full of big estates and many have the labor to manage visits.

Getting visits in Rioja is easy, or at least it used to be for the big names like Murrieta, La Rioja Alta, or Lopez. And really those are the places I'd be most interested in anyways. I'd go to Riscal as well if for no other reason to check out their hotel and its architecture (a great place to stay if you haven't booked anything, BTW).

Bordeaux isn't too bad but the more prestigious estates generally either limit to the trade or larger buyers. You'll need an introduction at many of these or a really good story, but some places (e.g., Cos, Figeac come to mind) may let you in with a fee. I'd make a list of where you want to go and work down it, but include some smaller names. Bordeaux is big and it can take a couple of hours to get from, for instance, Pomerol to Pauillac. You'll need a car or a diver, but even then I'd pick an area and stick to it for the day, maybe fit in 2-3 visits broken up with a long lunch. The city of Bordeaux doesn't do much for me... it's a business city and there's just not a lot to do much of the day. St. Emilion is quaint and a nice place to stay, but they'll be harvesting earlier on the right bank and generally don't have as large an operation. A boutique hotel in one of the primary appellations may be able to help with visits.

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