It would not be a proper trip to Bordeaux unless you did a little wine tasting.
In fact, wine is an essential part in Bordeaux. You could even claim, for many visitors it is the essential reason to visit. Though the city offers a wealth of other things to do and see, I have to confess that wine tasting was indeed a major activity during my visit to the city of wine.
Doing some research prior to my trip, I was excited to learn there even exists an urban wine trail. Essentially, this is a mobile app released by the Bordeaux Tourism Board that includes a number of wine bars across the city.
Now you could rightly claim each bar in Bordeaux – and there are plenty – is a wine bar.
The wine bars included in the urban wine trail, however, were chosen because they provide particular wine experiences. This could be an original design of the place, a special food offer or a particular selection of wines, showing off the great diversity of the city’s wine bars.
There are off course many other wine bars which are not included in the trail but are largely recommended by wine experts and savvy wine travellers.
So list with all the worthwhile stops in hand, I tried to make the best of the day and a half I had available in the city. Off course, it was impossible to visit them all, but here is a short overview of those I managed to seek out.
The Wine Bar du Boutique Hotel de Bordeaux
I was staying at the Boutique Hotel, so I was absolutely thrilled to learn the hotel’ own wine bar is part of the urban wine trail. Once you step into the little cosy place you will know why. It is drop dead gorgeous. The bar is located in a little glass pavilion and during the warmer months it extends into the beautiful small courtyard.
There are nearly 250 wines on offer with about 60% from Bordeaux and the rest a mix of excellent international labels. In addition, there is a small selection of cheese and charcuterie platters, tasty tapas and sweets; and on Sundays there is a brunch buffet.
The bar also offers a daily blind tasting running from 5.15pm to 6.15pm with wines from across France where you will be challenged to recognize the varietal, region of origin and if at all possible the name of the wine.
Open Tue to Sat, 12am to 11.30pm and Sun to Mon, 17pm to 11.30pm
3 Rue Lafourie de Monbadon
Located just off Place Saint-Pierre, Secret d’Initiés is not really a wine bar. It is a champagne lounge, offering around twenty champagne by the glass and more than eighty by bottle. Cheese and charcuterie platters and sweet biscuits are also available.
The interior of the small bar is absolutely stunning with large brown comfy chairs that beautifully contrast with the stone walls and a yellow/gold light that gives the place a classy backdrop.
Open daily 6pm to 1am
10 Rue Parlement Sainte-Catherine
Nestled on the edge of beautiful Place Saint-Pierre, La Talenquère is a very typical, intimate French wine bar. There are just few seats available in the tiny space inside and a couple more under the trees in front of the bar. On offer is a good selection of various French wines along with some international ones. A particular focus is given on the quality of the cheeses and charcuterie on offer along with a choice of different tapas.
Open daily from 6pm to midnight
8 place Saint-Pierre
Le Wine Bar
Located just a few steps off Place Saint-Pierre, this beautiful little wine bar offers more than 300 different wines from Bordeaux and around the world. There is also a nice selection of cheese and charcuterie platters, an absolute sublime foie gras and, owing to the Italian origins of the owner, if you like you can also have a bruschetta or burrata.
Open daily 7pm to midnight. Fri and Sat also open for lunch from 12am to 2pm.
19 Rue des Bahutiers
La Ligne Rouge
Overlooking gorgeous Porte Cailhau, La Ligne Rouge has more than 200 wines to choose from, including French and international ones and a strong focus on organic or biodynamic production. Here too you can pair your wine with cheese and charcuterie platters and there is also a selection of cakes.
Open Sun to Wed, 6pm to 11pm; Thu to Sat, 6pm to 1am
20-22 quai Richelieu
Le Maison du Vin
Although not part of the urban wine trail, Maison du Vin is perhaps one of the best known local wine bars. It is run by the region’s wine council and offers an excellent selection of local white, rose, red and sparkling wines, all by the glass and at very reasonable prices. There is also a selection of local chesses and charcuterie available if you get hungry.
Open daily (except public holidays) 11am to 10pm
1 Cours du 30 Juillet
Not a wine bar but a wine shop, I’Intendant is located in the historic city centre just across the gorgeous Grand Theatre. It stocks some 15,000 bottles of Bordeaux grand gru wines. Aside from the wine offer and excellent professional advice, there is a beautiful twelve metre high spiral staircase in the shop that you need to see!
Open Mon to Sat, 10am to 7.30pm
2 allee de Tourny
La Cité du Vin
The still relatively new Cité du Vin (opened in June 2016), Bordeaux’s major wine museum also offers plenty of opportunities to taste Bordeaux, French and international wines.
The entry fee to the museum includes a glass of wine on the 8th floor where you can choose from a daily changing selection of wines from around the world. If you are staying long enough (or on the right days), there are also various wine tasting workshops including topics like wine and chocolate or wine and tea along with other wine-related workshops and events.
The impressive wine shop on the ground floor, independently accessible from the museum) stock more than 14,000 bottles from around the world including places like Moldavia, China, Namibia, Peru and even Bali!
Check out the museums website for more information.