Why I love Bordeaux in Winter

Published the 10/07/2019 in Exploring the Region

Winter time is often overlooked by tourists as a time to visit Bordeaux and the region. The weather is not always at its best, with rainy days, especially in November, but it never gets too dark if we compare to northern destinations. December, January and February often offer great days to explore the region in a more peaceful way, and less tourists means more quality time to share with the producers of the region.

I selected for you the top experiences for winter time, and why I think winter is a great season to visit Bordeaux. The sunlight is smooth, the rhythm is peaceful, and it is a great time to plan a romantic weekend, or a stay to disconnect from a stressful life. 

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ENJOY THE OUTDOORS & THE FRENCH LIFESTYLE

Winters in Bordeaux are quite mild, meaning we often get days where temperature can go as high as 15 degrees, with average high being around 10 degrees. It is perfect to go for a walk around the city, go on a bicycle tour in the vineyard or even climb the Dune du Pilat (I prefer doing that on a cool winter day rather than in August!). And lights are amazing, so if you are into photography, I recommend taking a tour by the seaside on a winter day to combine photography with oyster tasting. 

For the bravest, suit up and take a chill dip in the ocean, the winter waves can be great for surfing... but cold! 

If you spend time in the city, you will notice that most terrrasses are not closed, so on a sunny morning, take a thick jacket and your wool scarf and sit down at a cafe terrasse to read the local newspapers, sipping on a hot coffee and eating a croissant. After that, head to one of the famous markets for lunch shopping, like the Capucins, 

We offer the Bordeaux Gourmand private experience(half a day) all year round, which is an original way to discover the city and its delicacies all at once. 

BORDEAUX UTOPIA TERRACE

IN THE CELLAR: FERMENTING, AGING, BLENDING AND SHARING

It is the season when great wines are in the making. Vines may be sleeping but inside the cellar there is a lot happening. Winter is when fermentation is ending, the ageing process is starting and winemakers are doing the blending of the varietals. That is something you can even try yourself during one of our winemaking experience, a fun workshop to create your own blending, perfect for families or if you are a group of friends. And for the most ambitious, create your own wine with the advice of a wine master from one of the most renowned Châteaux. 

If you would like to learn about wine, winter time is a great time to come. Chateaux are less busy with tourists, and once harvesting is done, winemakers will have more time to discuss and share their knowledge with you. 

Nearing the end of winter is the primeur week, early March, which is a great time to come to Bordeaux if you want to be one of the first ones to try the latest vintage. If you like it, make your bet and buy a few bottles of the most wanted wines before it is sold out! 

COGNAC & ARMAGNAC SAVOIR-FAIRE

For Cognac and Armagnac, winter means distillation. Wines made during the fall, after the harvesting of Ugni Blanc, turn into “eau de vie”, and you can’t miss the intense smell of distillation while travelling through the countryside! 

We offer a private experience to the Cognac house, where you can visit and taste some of the most prestigious cognacs. Winter is also a great moment to plan a trip with us and combine the Bordeaux, Cognac and Armagnac regions. It is a great way to get an overview of the best craftmanship of the region, combining wine, spirits and gastronomy. 

And what is better than a pairing with local and seasonal gastronomy to appreciate these spirits. 

ARMAGNAC MILLESIME PRIVE

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PEAK TIME FOR GASTRONOMY: EAT IT, COOK IT (OR BBQ IT)! 

Gastronomic intensity also means that the wine pairing will be interesting. With the winter dish, it is the perfect moment to open old vintages of Medoc or Saint-Emilion, and with the foie gras or cheese, luscious and delicious Sauternes would do wonders. 

After that, close the wheel and end your meal with a little “canard” (no, I promise it is not meat again!) like the locals, which is local spirit - choose Armagnac or Cognac - poured in your coffee cup. Drink it straight or dip a sugar in it. 

I personally love to spend time in the kitchen in the winter season. If you come to the region, we offer the cooking workshops all year around with our Chefs, and you can even organize a memorable evening with a private dinner in a Château together with one of our chefs. 

Learn how to pair Bordeaux wines, or choose the seasonal ingredients of your choice: oysters and their “crepinettes”, truffles, mushrooms, duck, game, pumpkins and cabbages are all in season during wintertime. And it is always the season for pastries, cheese and cured meat.

If you like BBQ, we use the vine shoots, sarments, to barbeque meat instead of coal. It gives a unique taste to the meat, and it is a must try if you come to the region. Why not planning a night in a Chateau, discussing with a local winemaker, and tasting its wines over a juicy entrecôte grilled on vine shoots, served with its wine shallots. And a great bottle of wine of course. 

TRUFFLES BORDEAUX MILLESIME PRIVE

THE FRESHEST OYSTERS YOU CAN GET

Oysters are at their best in winter, that’s when they are the freshest. I often go to taste oysters during christmas holidays or on sunny days in january and february. You can sit outside, enjoy the winter sun and the delicate taste of winter oysters, with a crisp glass of white wine from Entre-Deux-Mers. We often say here that the best months to enjoy oysters are those with a “r” in it (it works in french and in english as well). 

In our getaway weekend, you can easily plan to spend one day to taste oysters and visit oyster farms to meet with local producers, while still having some time to discover the vineyards and the city center of Bordeaux. You can also contact us to organize a private daily tour to the ocean if you happen to be in the region. 

oysters millesime prive
 I hope you will inspired by the peaceful and beauty of winter, and for any questions, feel free to contact us directly contact@millesimeprive.com