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The Medoc

To see, north to south

The "Marais Poitevin"

La Rochelle

Island of Ré

Island of Aix

Fouras

Rochefort

Madame Island

Island of Oléron

Marennes

Brouage

Ronce-les-Bains

La Tremblade

Mornac-sur-Seudre

La Palmyre

Saint-Palais-sur-Mer

Vaux-sur-Mer

Royan

Saint-Georges-de-
Didonne

Meschers

Talmont

Mortagne-sur-Gironde

Blaye

To do

Cycling

Boat trips

Sailing

Golf

Riding

Jogging

The market

Thalassotherapy

Drives through the vineyards

Drives through the marshes

Drives through the forest

Walks

To know

The Romanesque Art

Rochefort

The Citadel of Brouage

The Citadel of Blaye

The lighthouses

The forest of La Coubre

The marshes

The "Marais Poitevin"

The carrelets

The ostreiculture

Vine and wines

To taste

Wines

Cognac

Pineau

Oysters

Mussels

Sea food

"Terroir" products

The restaurants

 

 


la carte des appellations

The Médoc, Géography and Wine Appellation

The Médoc, in the geographic sense, is different from the Médoc wine appellation.

The Médoc, in the geographic sense, a peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean on the West and the estuary of the Gironde in the East, is different from the Médoc wine appellation, a narrow strip of land between the estuary and the forest, about 80 kilometres long and from 5 to 10 kilometres wide.

The Médoc vineyard is classified into eight groups of wine appellations, two regional ones, Médoc and Haut-Médoc, and six village appellations, Saint-Estèphe, Pauillac, Saint Julien, Listrac, Moulis and Margaux.

From Royan

From Royan, the crossing of the Gironde by car-ferry from Royan-Pointe de Grave, which takes about half an hour, is an excellent way to start the day.


It is interesting to have a close look at the coastline as it recedes into the distance. The lighthouse of Cordouan on the end of the Pointe de Grave, is lit by the morning sun.

The general idea of this route is to drive southwards by closely following the left bank of the Gironde until Margaux and to come back to the Pointe de Grave to catch the ferry to Royan, by using the N215 road through Saint Laurent, Lesparre and Le Verdon.

From Le Verdon to Bégadan

From Royan, the crossing of the Gironde by car-ferry from Royan-Pointe de Grave, which takes about half an hour, is an excellent way to start the day. It is interesting to have a close look at the coastline as it recedes into the distance. The lighthouse of Cordouan on the end of the Pointe de Grave, is lit by the morning sun.

The general idea of this route is to drive southwards by closely following the left bank of the Gironde until Margaux and to come back to the Pointe de Grave to catch the ferry to Royan, by using the N215 road through Saint Laurent, Lesparre and Le Verdon.

After leaving the ferry, take the direction of Le Verdon and follow the N215 road for about twelve kilometres. Then turn left to take the D1 road in the direction of Saint-Vivien-de-Médoc. In Saint-Vivien, take the D2 in the direction of Valeyrac. This secondary road is the main way down to Margaux. You are in the Médoc area.

You will very quickly notice signs all along the road which invite you for a wine tasting. It will be the same all day long. It is not surprising when one understands that 1 500 wine growers work within the Medoc Vineyard with an annual production of more than 90 million bottles!

If it is your first visit in this northern part of the Médoc wine area, we recommend that you go directly to Bégadan, by taking D3 on the left to Port-de-By, to visit the Château La Tour de By.

The first thing to do is to climb up the tower located in the middle of the vines. The view over the vineyard and the Gironde is magnificent. The conducted tour of the wine cellars, showing the traditional and modern techniques, is very informative and together with the wine tasting, is the best introduction to the Médoc when one arrives in the North. The list of wines for sale is very large, with a good quality/price ratio.
La Tour de By 93 vintage was selected by the Royal Court of England to be served at the Royal Wedding of Prince Edward and Sophie in June 1999 (see The Daily Telegraph, Monday June 21, 1999).

From Bégadan to Saint-Estèphe

From Bégadan, by taking D3 through Civrac, it is only a few kilometres to Blaignan where the vineyard of the Château Tour-Haut-Caussan with its windmill on a hill, deserves a visit for the landscape and the high quality of this ‘cru bourgeois’ wine.

Another good reason for driving by Blaignan is to stop at the craft factory which produces noisetines pralinées, chocolate hazelnuts, of the Médoc.

In this northern part of Médoc, the terrains to be visited are on high ground, Bégadan, Civrac, Couquèques, Blaignan, Saint-Ysans, Ordonnac. Their wines are value for money and the wine enthusiast will be tempted to return periodically to fill his cellar !

But today, it's time to return to Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne where one enters the Haut-Médoc appellation and to take the D2 which leads to Saint-Estèphe.
A big illustrated map painted on a wall of the ‘Maison du Vin’, situated in the centre of the town, makes it easy to locate the Châteaux.
The vineyards cover the plateau dominating the Gironde.
Outside of the town, visit the cellar of the Société de Vinification de Saint-Estèphe. The wines of this co-operative cellar are produced under the brand name of ' Marquis de Saint-Estèphe'.
One can also visit the Château Pomys which offers ‘Crus Bourgeois’ wines. Château Pomys and Château Saint-Estèphe are both good value and worthy of the Saint-Estèphe appellation.

la Tour de By
Château La-Tour-de-By
Cos d'Estournel
Château Lafite-Rothschild
Château Latour
Château Lacour-Jacquet
la façade du Château Margaux

After Saint-Estèphe, keep following the D2 in the direction of Pauillac. After several kilometres the Château Cos d' Estournel, on the left-hand side of the road, is worth visiting for its picturesque architecture and the history of its construction.

 Pauillac and Saint-Julien-Beycheveylle

One arrives very quickly in the appellation Pauillac, seen by some people as the capital of the Médoc . Pauillac possesses three ‘Premiers Grands Crus Classés’, Château Lafite-Rothschild and Château Mouton-Rothschild, both on the right-hand side of the D2, to the North of the town of Pauillac, and Château Latour in the South.

At Pauillac, it is pleasant to walk along the quay and have a drink or eat on a terrace from where you can see the Gironde.

South of Pauillac, still on the D2, one can see on the left, the famous tower of Château Latour and having passed through Saint Julien's village, discover the Château Beycheveylle and its park, which are particularly attractive. The Château is magnificent and open to visitors every weekday.

 From Saint-Julien to Margaux

One leaves the Saint Julien appellation to cross terrains which produce the excellent Haut-Médoc wines. To try these for yourself, you can stop at Cussac-Fort-Médoc, to visit the Château Lacour-Jacquet, on the left-hand side of the D2. The family welcome there is very warm and the wines have won several well-known awards.
Before continuing along the road towards Margaux, it is worth driving to Fort-Médoc for the view over the Gironde.
In Margaux, park in front of the entrance to the park of the Château Margaux and admire the classic frontage of the building constructed at the beginning of the 19th century.
As well as that, it is in Margaux that the famous chocolates in the shape of twigs are made.

Moulis and Listrac

After Margaux, we follow our route to visit both of the last communal appellations Médoc, Moulis and Listrac, which offer their ‘Crus Bourgeois’ wines. One can drive back by the D2 up to Tayac and take the small road on the left towards Moulis.

Moulis is the smallest appellation Médoc but a terrain of vintage wines. To judge it, please visit the Château Biston-Brillette, a family business, which produces a remarkable Cru Bourgeois wine and where you can buy a very wide range of vintages.
In Listrac, two kilometres after Moulis, the Cave de Vinification de Listrac-Médoc deserves a visit. Besides the 'Grand Listrac label’, the cellar produces owners' wines. The choice of wines and vintages is particularly rich.

Goodbye and see you soon

The most direct way back towards Le Verdon and the ferry of Pointe de Grave is the N215 road through Saint Laurent and Lesparre, about 70 kilometres, hopefully to arrive before the departure of the last evening ferry!


 

The other Vineyards

Côtes de Blaye et Côtes de Bourg

Saint-Emilion

The Charentais Vineyard

 

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