France: Bordeaux


Easy reach from the city of Bordeaux - and truly excellent wines
By Jane Anson

This Guide was last updated on 12 May 2010
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Château Haut-Brion

Address: 135 Avenue Jean Jaurès, 33600 Pessac
Tel: 05 56 00 29 30  Fax: 05 56 98 75 14
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 44:49:0N (44.81672)    Longitude: -0:36:29W (-0.60796) 

It’s always exciting getting to visit a big name, with wines that exchange hands at hundreds of euros per bottle, and it is an added bonus when the château is also enormously attractive. Haut-Brion was the first Bordeaux château to introduce stainless steel vats in 1961, and still today has one of the most modern facilities in the area (with special vats designed by Jean Delmas, internally divided to allow different parcels to be vinified separately). There is also a very interesting collection of French vine varieties in the extensive gardens, which are available for browsing by fans of ampelography. And don’t leave without a tasting in the circular tasting room, up in a tower with views over the vines. The renovations at La Mission Haut Brion are now complete, and this also makes a wonderful visit.

Useful information: Monday to Thursday 09.00-12.30 and 14.00-17.30, Friday 09.00-12.30, strictly by appointment only (best to book a few weeks in advance). Closed mid July-mid August. Groups welcome to a maximum of 15 people. But don’t let the torturous process of booking put you off, because this is an excellent visit. The visit lasts one hour, and includes a presentation about the château and its history, a visit to the cellars and tank room, plus a tasting of one wine. The wine and tasting is free of both Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion. Visits in English, French, German and Norwegian. No wine is available to buy direct. They can also organise tours of sister Château La Mission Haut-Brion. For both visits, you need to allow two hours.


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