BORDEAUX VS RIOJA: NOT JUST A WINE TOUR

It is not necessary to be a wine expert to enjoy wine. At the same time, it is no necessary to understand about wine to know that Bordeaux and Rioja are 2 of the most important wine regions in the world. Many times, in the movies we have seen the main actor/actress ordering a Château Latour, Mouton Rothschild or Cheval Blanc bottle. But beyond the Hollywood spotlight, Bordeaux is a wine region with long history and an example of good work.

Bordeaux Wines How to choose the region to visit

First step to do in Bordeaux wine region is to know that the region is divided in different sub-zones where the importance of the soil and microclimate made the winemakers to cultivate one or different kind of grape varieties and therefore make different kind of wines. Médoc, Saint-Émillion, Pomerol, Graves, Sauternes are just some areas in this vast ocean of vines that is Bordeaux.

If you are planning a trip to Bordeaux, you may ask How to get to the wineries in Bordeaux. Knowing that Bordeaux has different wine sub-regions you must decide which wine do you want to try. Are you a red wine-person? If your answer is yes, we can recommend you go to Médoc, land of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cab-Franc. Home of some of the most important wineries Margaux, Latour or Mouton-Rothschild. The best way to get to the different wineries and visit them is doing a wine tour in Bordeaux, because wineries are usually not well connected by public transport and if you are tasting wine is better not to worry about the driving later. Saint-Émillion is also an incredibly good area to try high-quality red wines. If you prefer whites, we recommend you visit Entre-deux-Mers. You will discover the crispy Sauvignon Blanc. Also, Graves is a great alternative to taste both kind of wines, red and white. Here you will try Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but also the white wines made with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, a variety to create awesome sweet wines.

And talking about sweet wines. Visiting Bordeaux without going to Sauternes is like going to Barcelona and not even see Sagrada Familia. Semilion is the main variety here and the Banner winery is Chateaux d’Yquem.

Discovering the city of Bordeaux

Nobody doubts that the main attraction to visit Bordeaux is the wine, but this city has a special charm that makes you love it. This city with a rich history, means that there is much to discover in Bordeaux. Here arrived the Romans, Vikings, and Arabs. It had one of the most important ports in Europe and through it the wine sector developed, until it became the emblem of the city. If you are thinking What to do in Bordeaux in one day, we will suggest starting at Place de la Bourse, one of the icons in the city. Walk through the city center covered with pedestrian streets and shops. One of those essential stores to visit is Baillardran a confectionery where to try a small bordelaise delicacy, Canelés. Visit the gothic Cathedral dedicated to St Andrew or enjoy some peace at the Public Graden (Jardin Public). Our Tour Bordeaux vs Rioja offers you the opportunity to enjoy the city with an expert Tour Leader discovering the hidden places in the city and going to high-quality wineries without worrying about the driving.

Bordeaux vs Rioja

Becoming an expert tasting Wine

Being in Bordeaux and not tasting local wine is sacrilege. Here we will tell you Where can you do wine tasting in Bordeaux. Hundreds of wineshops are in the city and hundreds of restaurants offers the local wines, but how many times you tried to read a wine list in a foreign country, and you do not know any of those references? Mostly of the time we order a wine with an average price and sometimes we get it right, but other times you would have preferred ordering a beer!  At this blog we are going to tell you the best places to do wine tasting. In the old town there is a place that we go with our groups in Bordeaux where you can order wine by glass in different sizes (4 cl, 6cl and 12 cl). That is the best way to try as much wine as possible and leaving the places knowing which grape varieties, with sub-zone you prefer.

Other place where to taste the best wine in Bordeaux is La Cité du Vin, an amazing complex where the wine lover feels like a child in Disneyland. Great structure with the shape of a decanter which offers all the information relative to the wine making process, not just in Bordeaux, but in the rest of the Wine Regions in the World. Here you will have the opportunity to learn about the grape varieties in the Worlds used to make wine, the history of the sacred drink that Civilizations related with divinities and for sure you will have time to taste different wines from several wine regions.

Comparing Wines. Enjoying landscapes

One of the highlights of our Tour Bordeaux vs Rioja is the delicacy with which it was created thinking about all the important aspects when traveling. We take care of gastronomy by offering unique and local gastronomic experiences. Road trips to enjoy a unique landscape. The history of each place and how it is shaped so that the wine makes it a fundamental aspect. If we think about the French and Spanish wines, maybe a wine lover from other country thinks that French wines have more history. Wine has more than 5000 years of history and 2500 is the oldest winery discovered in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar). If it ever crossed your mind to ask which wine is better, Rioja or Bordeaux in this tour you will have the best answer, your own opinion. Being politically correct, we will say that each type of wine has its strengths, and it is true, because as we cannot compare a white wine with red wine, is difficult to compare wines made with different grapes, areas, etc. After or Wine Tour you will have of course an opinion, but so far let’s compare two of the most important grape varieties in both areas (Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo).

Cabernet Sauvignon originally from Bordeaux area is a grape very admirably adapted to different wine regions all over the World. Actually, represents 4% of the vineyards in the planet. Juice is very dark and tannic and age very well in oak. Aromas are reminiscent of herbs and the flavors change if the wine has been aged or is a young wine.

Tempranillo is the main red variety grown in Spain. Grapes are dark blue, bigger than Cabernet and the pulp is, unlike the cabernet, white (Cabernet is pinkish). Tempranillo is one of the first grapes in Spain to mature, hence the name, Tempranillo (which means early). Tasting young tempranillos are smother than Cabernet, but also Tempranillo is a variety that improves with aging.

Cabernet Sauvignon (above) and Tempranillo (below)

Long tradition, modern structures

One of the highlights of the Tour we invite you to join is the quantity of great and modern buildings built in the last 20 years to attract wine lovers who are looking for something else than taste great wines. Marqués de Riscal Hotel in Rioja, designed by Frank Ghery, La Cité du Vin in Bordeaux by XTU Architects, YSIOS winery by Santiago Calatrava or Viña Real designed by the bordelaise Phillippe Mazieres are some of the best examples of modern architecture in a traditional sector. All of them we will see during our tour.

But we cannot forget about the traditional spaces to make wine. Bordeaux doesn’t need to build modern and impressive buildings because they already have the Chateaux Wineries, each one more beautiful. But not just in Bordeaux you can see traditional structures. The village of Laguardia still have the medieval wine-caves where still make the aging or Haro and its incredible Barrio de la Estación where in the XIX century the wineries created a cluster around the train station to send the wine cheaper to Bilbao’s port and then export it. This “neighborhood” attracted dozens of wineries including CVNE, Viña Tondonia-López de Heredia, Rioja Alta, Bodegas Bilbaínas.

Immerse yourself in Rioja

There is not a best way to learn about the local culture and tradition than visiting small wineries, trying the local gastronomy, and exploring small villages. That is what Rioja can offer us and what we do during our Wine Tours. Join us to discover Which is the best winery in Rioja and taste different wines to do your own ranking. We will discover the secrets of the wines in Rioja sleeping in comfy hotels near great restaurants and visiting small medieval villages that will transport us to another time. Rioja was the area where Spanish language was written for the very first time and home of the wine revolution in XIX century that shook Spain. Do you know that the first city having electric light was not Barcelona, Madrid or even Bilbao? The first city with electric light in Spain was Haro, wine capital in Rioja with a population of less than 12000 people.

That is the grace of the economy a small town could be in the XIX century the most important economic city in Spain because of the Wine Industry. That is awesome!

More than 550 wineries in Rioja are enough claim to come and stay in Rioja. Book now your Tour with Integra-T Experience Bordeaux vs Rioja and become a Happiness expert.  

Bordeaux VS Rioja Wine Tour

Experience the wine in two of the most famous Wine regions in the World, Bordeaux in France and Rioja in Spain. During this 8-day itinerary you will be transported to the origin of the modern wine. You will accommodate in high quiality 3* hotels located in the city center in Bordeaux, Logroño and Bilbao. This tour permits you not just to learn about the local wine but experience the local gastronomy with 8 included meals (lunch & dinner), including a Restaurant recommended at Michelin Guide.