Exploring Wine Regions – Bordeaux, France: Discover Wine, Food, Castles and The French Way of Life, by Michael C. Higgins.
Opening this brand new book, I was immediately plunged into homesickness for Bordeaux — that is, if you can be “homesick” for a place you have only visited.
To me, Bordeaux is an astounding, magical wine region. Whether you’re dreaming of seeing Bordeaux for the first time or re-living your own experiences, you will find a welcoming array of information and imagery in this book.
The book is incredibly useful for sightseeing travelers as well as serious students of wine: amazingly comprehensive in its presentation of tourism and wine education, at all levels.
By his own description, author Michael C. Higgins has had to pick and choose what to include here. That said, if you are looking for a template to plan a tour, you can’t go wrong in following his recommendations for wineries, hotels, spas and restaurants. In addition, I would highly recommend reading his description and historical notes, to feel the centuries of events, traditions and people you will be immersed in.
The author takes us from the southern areas of the Bordeaux wine region with its exquisite Sauternes & Barsac wines, into the Graves district where sauvignon blanc reigns, through picturesque St. Emilion and up to the remote ends of the important Medoc peninsula, birthplace of classic red Bordeaux wines of international renown.
The beautiful city of Bordeaux is presented with its wonderfully walkable historic center, as well as the Arcachon Bay on the Atlantic Ocean, where the people of Bordeaux vacation, relaxing on wide sandy beaches and enjoying fresh, local oysters, fish and other seafood.
If you are an armchair traveler during these times (like me), you can get lost in the images in the book. An enchanting cobbled-street town, a beautifully carved stone doorway, a plate of freshly-made pastry set out on a round café table by the river. Vineyards in all seasons, stretching across the landscape. Chateau after chateau, hundreds of years old, paired with avant-garde wine cellars, studding the hillsides. And wine, wine, wine: bottles and glasses and colors from pale yellow through deep gold into all shades of red and purple.
One more note: this is a heavy book, easy to have at home and dip into at your leisure, but it’s also available on kindle to take along when you can go to Bordeaux.