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Small Group Tours

Explore Saint Emilion’s Wineries on a Half-Day Trip From Bordeaux

12 Cr du 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux, France

Activity provided by Ophorus

4 hours (approx.) - English

Ophorus

Join a small group guided Bordeaux wine tour to explore the world famous wine region of Saint Emilion. Visit Bordeaux Vineyards, Chateau Wineries and Saint-Emilion UNESCO World Heritage Site. Taste delicious Grand Cru Bordeaux red wines.

Highlights
  • Pick up at centrally located meeting point in Bordeaux
  • Meet your English speaking driver/guide who is a local expert on Bordeaux wines
  • Wine & History combo on this Saint Emilion wine tour half day trip
  • Visit the charming village of Saint-Emilion
  • The soils of Saint-Emilion wine region
Description

Experience the Magic of One of Our Favorite Villages and Favorite Wines on this half day wine tour from Bordeaux. 

PICK UP AT CENTRALLY LOCATED MEETING POINT IN BORDEAUX

This morning, we will come and pick you up in front of the Bordeaux Tourism Office. The Bordeaux tourist office is located at 12 cours du 30 Juillet, 33000 BORDEAUX, in the heart
of the city, facing the CIVB Bordeaux wine syndicat building. The tourism office located in the city center is at a 10 minutes walking distance from all the centrally located hotels.

PLEASE BE ON TIME AS WINERY VISITS HAVE BEEN PRE-BOOKED JUST FOR US! 

For all our shared day trips from Bordeaux, we ask our clients to be present 10 minutes before departure time. It is important to be on time as Bordeaux wine tours imply strict timing as all the wineries visited have been pre-booked especially for our clients. Due to this, all our tours must leave on time to meet this schedule. In Bordeaux, unlike many other wine destinations, it is not possible to just show up at a winery for a tour, especially for the wineries that are highly demanded.

If you think that you might be late, please contact us rapidly by sms, phone or email so that we can advise the driver/guide to wait. However, waiting time is limited to 10 minutes maximum. If you are not present at the time of departure, your reservation will be considered as a no show and will not be refunded!

MEET YOUR ENGLISH SPEAKING DRIVER/GUIDE WHO IS A LOCAL EXPERT ON BORDEAUX WINES  

Upon arrival at the meeting point, you will be welcomed by your English speaking guide who will be waiting with a sign bearing the name of the tour and with the Ophorus logo on it. Also, all our guides have a nominative badge so that it will be easy for you to recognize them. 

Once you have met your guide, he/she will go over the program and itinerary of the day with you. Then, board your comfortable, air conditioned Mercedes minivan and begin to make your way to the Saint Emilion wine producing region.

All our vehicles are equipped with an on board P/A system which means that everyone will hear the guide’s commentary during driving time, even if you are seated in the back of the van! Also, we have bottled water at your disposal and you can use our free wifi as you travel from one destination to another.

WINE & HISTORY COMBO ON THIS SAINT EMILION WINE TOUR HALF DAY TRIP

This half day small group wine tour packs a lot of delights into a few hours. On this tour of St Emilion organized by Ophorus, you will enjoy tasting delicious Bordeaux wines. Add to this the rich historical attractions of this UNESCO World Heritage site and you see why the half day option makes for such a great tour.

DEPART FROM BORDEAUX AND REACH THE RIGHT BANK WINE REGION

Starting in the city of Bordeaux, a short drive in a comfortable air-conditioned minivan brings you out of the city to the picturesque countryside plains and rolling hills of the right bank wine producing area. This is the heart of Bordeaux’s famous wine region, where many vineyards carry the Saint Emilion AOC designation. Each of these local wineries produce vintages with distinct soil features backed by a long winemaking heritage.

Your first major stop will be in one of the local estates for a visit and wine tasting at a Grand Cru Chateau. Here, you will get to tour and taste different vintages in a carefully selected domain.

The wines are a blend of Merlot grapes with deep, bold flavors, along with other local grape varieties, especially Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser degree, Cabernet Sauvignon. A local guide of the winery will reveal all the steps in the wine production process for you as well as share some historical details about the estate.

Your Ophorus guide will be with you during the visit so don’t hesitate to ask any questions. All our driver/guides have great knowledge about wines and they will be happy to share any basic or more technical information concerning French or Bordeaux Wines. Whether you have questions about history, technique, flavors, aromas, food & wine pairings don’t hesitate to ask them
anything that relates to wine to make this day a very special one.

THEN VISIT THE CHARMING VILLAGE OF SAINT-EMILION

Following your wine tasting session, your half day tour continues with a guided walking tour of the eponymous village. Stroll through the quaint, cobblestone streets of this medieval town, while your tour guide recounts local history, from the days of the 8th century hermit Emilion, to the 19th century mining galleries, which still lie beneath the village.

Important historical sites include the Romanesque cloister and the Monolithic church carved of the limestone cliffs in the 12th century (also known as the underground monuments – not included on this tour. This visit can be booked on our private full day Saint Emilion tour).

It is no coincidence that Saint Emilion has been awarded the UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999. After the walk, enjoy some free time to explore on your own in the village. Why not enter one of the many wine cellars to continue your tasting session? Finally, you will head back to Bordeaux where the wine tour concludes after having learned a lot about this famous wine
producing area.

GOING FURTHER

For those interested a bit more about Saint-Emilion you will find below some more information concerning the heritage of the village as well as information about the vineyards and typical grape varieties that can be found in the wines produced on this part of the right bank wine region of Bordeaux.

THE LEGEND OF EMILIAN

The first indications of human settlements in the area date back to the Roman Empire, but the story of Saint Emilion starts in the eighth century AD. At that time, a monk from Brittany, fleeing persecution in his hometown of Vannes sought refuge in one of the natural caves near the settlement of ‘Ascum Bas’.

Although he lived the simple and secluded life of a hermit, Saint Emilion allegedly performed several miracles from his Aquitaine hideaway. Soon, his renown spread far beyond the town and region, bringing pilgrims and disciples from far afield to visit him. The small settlement grew fast as it became a religious center. After Saint Emilion died, his followers made sure he would be remembered by giving the town of Ascum Bas the new name Saint Emilion.

Much later, monks developed more intensive and widespread vineyards. This is when the reputation for Saint Emilion wines started building towards what it is today. The rich Merlot-based blends of these fertile plains have given local wines a great appeal, and several wines produced in chateaux near Saint Emilion have been given the highest possible awards under the French appellation wine rating system.

A FAMOUS MONK, A MONOLITHIC CHURCH AND CENTURIES OF WINE MAKING

Perched on a hilltop overlooking the Dordogne Valley, the picturesque rooftops and medieval stone buildings of the beautiful village of Saint Emilion are a delight to the eye. A unique microclimate and the fertile soil made the area a haven of wine making. As famous as the monk Saint Emilion can be, the most emblematic monument of the village is the underground monolithic church of Saint-Emilion. 

The church, which is carved into a limestone cliff beneath the town of Saint-Émilion, was built in the 12th century by monks who had settled in the area. It features a series of underground chambers and passageways that are believed to have served various purposes, including as a chapel, a place of refuge, and a storage area for wine barrels. Still today, there are several mysteries that are linked to this unique church.

One of the mysteries surrounding the church is the identity of its original architects and builders. Although the church is believed to have been constructed by the monks who lived in the area, there is little documentation about who they were or how they were able to construct such an impressive underground structure.

Another mystery is the purpose of some of the features within the church. For example, there is a circular room known as the “hermit’s cell,” which contains a well and a series of carved niches. It is unclear what this room was used for, although some have speculated that it may have been a place of meditation or contemplation.

THE SOILS OF SAINT-EMILION WINE REGION

The soils of the Saint-Émilion vineyards in Bordeaux, France are diverse, with a range of soil types contributing to the unique character of the wines produced there. However, there are several predominant soil types in the area that are known to produce high-quality grapes for wine production.

The two most important soil types in the Saint-Émilion region are limestone and clay. Limestone soils, also known as “calcaire à astéries”, are made up of fossilized marine sediment and provide good drainage for grapevines. Clay soils, on the other hand, retain more water and nutrients, which can help produce more robust vines and grapes. In addition to limestone and clay, Saint-Émilion vineyards also contain gravel and sand, which can contribute to soil drainage and help regulate water retention.

Overall, the combination of limestone and clay is thought to be particularly beneficial for the production of Merlot grapes, which are the primary grape variety grown in the Saint-Émilion region. Merlot thrives in soils that are well-draining, but also have enough water and nutrients to support healthy growth.

Itinerary

The combination of limestone and clay in the Saint-Émilion vineyards is thought to provide the perfect balance for Merlot grapes.
– Pick up at centrally located meeting point in Bordeaux – Comfortable, air conditioned Mercedes minivan – Wine tasting at a Grand Cru Chateau – Guided walking tour of the eponymous village – Tour and taste different vintages in a carefully selected domain – Learn about the wine production process – Learn about the history of the estate – Learn about the history of the village – Learn about the UNESCO World Heritage status – Free time to explore the village – Learn about the legend of Emilion – Learn about the monolithic church – Learn about the centuries of wine making – Learn about the soils of the Saint-Émilion wine region

Starting Location
12 Cr du 30 Juillet, 33000 Bordeaux, France.
Itineraries are subject to change.
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