Pauillac is home to three of Bordeaux’s five famous “Grand Crus”: Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Mouton Rothschild. These top-end wines aren’t for everyone; they command prices that can make all but wine collectors feel slightly faint. But Pauillac is also the jumping-off point for dozens of wine-producing château estates that will please the thriftier wine lover. Just make sure to leave a bit of time to get to know Pauillac itself — this pretty French town is easily explored on foot.
What We Love
The Wines: Wine practically flows from every corner of Pauillac. Even at the simplest café, the menu will feature more vins than you ever thought imaginable. What might surprise you, however, is that wine can be — and frequently is — cheaper than soft drinks if ordered by the glass. France introduced a tax on soft drinks in 2012, boosting the price of sugary beverages beyond their lower-end alcoholic counterparts.
Best Known For
Les Châteaux: Surrounding Pauillac are more châteaux than you could ever hope to visit during a single trip. These wineries have been here for generations and continue to produce some of the Bordeaux region’s best bottles. Note: A number of the more prestigious wineries, such as Château Mouton Rothschild, require advance reservations.
Truffles: What goes great with wine? Truffles — and the region surrounding Pauillac is known for both the white and black varieties. For something different, book a truffle hunt with a local farmer.
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Who It's Best For
Wine Lovers: If you're a fan of the grape, you’ll fall in love with this remarkable French town and the surrounding Aquitaine region.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Tastings Might Make You Tipsy: After several tastings in a row, don’t be surprised if you find yourself beginning to stumble. Pauillac isn’t the place to rent a car; arrange for a car service to pick you up from tasting events, or take advantage of the excursions planned by your river cruise ship.
Aaron Saunders is a Calgary-based contributor to ShermansCruise.com.