Saint-Emilion, about 25 miles east of Bordeaux, is one of the best-known wine regions in the area and a popular day trip from the city. If you only have one day to explore the wine regions surrounding Bordeaux, this is the one we recommend because you’ll be able to sample a variety of great wines.
You can also visit the historic and charming cobblestoned village of Saint-Emilion itself, a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you take a wine tour, try to choose one that includes a stop there.
We had a very nice small group tour of the Saint-Emilion region with Rudolphe of Ophorus Tours.
1. Chateau de La Dauphine
Our first stop was Chateau de La Dauphine, located in Fronsac. It’s just outside the actual Saint-Emilion appellation, so its wines are just as good, but not as expensive, making it a very good value. Its chateau was built around 1750 and with 66 hectares of vineyards this winery is one of the largest properties in the region. It shares a history with the Palace of Versailles (the winery is named after the Dauphine of France, who was a guest back in the 1700s). The winery has been organic and biodynamic since 2015.
After a full tour of the property, we sampled three of its wines in its modern tasting room:
Chateau de La Dauphine blended Rosé ????+
Delphis de La Dauphine (an easy-to-drink, light and fruity Merlot) ????+
Chateau de La Dauphine, (its premier wine, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc) ????++
2. Chateau Coutet
The second winery we visited was tiny, rustic Chateau Coutet in Barsac, which has planted only 12 of its 16 hectares. Also biodynamic, it has been in the same family since 1784; the winery still uses some older processes, such as its 200-year-old wine press.
Not long ago the winery found in the cellar an unopened bottle of wine produced between 1750-1760. The family used to display it in the tasting room until it almost was knocked over by a visitor’s backpack (there’s still a photo).
The tasting was held in the family’s private cellar after an extensive tour of the property. We sampled two of their Grand Cru (premier) wines:
Chateau Coutet, a blend of four reds, made from 40-50-year-old vines ????++
Chateau Coutet Les Demoiselles, from the best plots and 85-year-old vines ????????
We then had the chance to enjoy lunch in the village of Saint-Emilion before taking Rodolphe’s guided tour, which included visiting 14th-century wine caves and a 12th-century church.
3. Chateau Rol Valentin
Our last visit was to family-owned Chateau Rol Valentin, in Saint Etienne de Lisse. It’s comprised of five different vineyards. It is also just outside the Saint-Emilion appellation so these wines are also a good value for their quality. We did not tour here; the tasting was held in a pretty room with beamed ceilings.
Cuvee Sacha Chateau de Laussac, which can age 15 years: ????+
Chateau Rol Valentin Grand Cru from 2016 ????++
The same wine, but the 2014 vintage ????++
We hope you find these suggestions about three great wineries to visit in Saint-Emilion helpful. For more information on how to break down Bordeaux’s wine regions, go to our post about prioritizing your trip to Bordeaux. À votre santé!
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