St. Emilion Wine Country

Can you come to Bordeaux and not visit a winery? You could, but you would be missing out on some major history of the area. Their history for the region goes back 35,000 year- nope that is not a typo. Their history with wine is credited to the Romans who planted vineyards in the 2nd century.

We were headed to the dark purple/blue lavender region east of the city.

While not renting a car on this trip, we found a wine tour with very high ratings, originating out of Bordeaux – sold.

Located 35 km from Bordeaux there was only a short car ride and we were walking the streets of the city of St Emilion, a well-preserved medieval village.

Our guide, Julie, pointed out one of the most important places in the community, the place where all the latest gossip was heard and shared and the most important decisions made………..the local washing hole. 🙂 A spring was directed into the square and continued to flow out at the bottom always ensuring fresh water for washing.

Walking through the cobbled streets we reached the main attraction, the monastery.

The original monastery was carved from a limestone cliff and named after a Breton monk, Emilion, who settled into the hermitage. Eventually, morel buildings were added to the complex as can be seen above.

I found this next story interesting. Notice how the entranceway (on the left photo below) was lower than the terrace? The ground level of the square was gradually raised as tombs were layered on top of each other in the 2th century. Ballast from docking ships had to be placed somewhere……… the terrace was born.

Reaching the top we were greeted with this ‘wow’ view over the valley.

We came across this crypt and after asking who was buried, they have only speculation as no one has been identified. They believe it was some of the fighters from a far-off war. They were held in high esteem and would have warranted a burial in these crypts.

Follwing the crypts was the entrance to their church on top of the plateau. So beautiful and ornate even back in olden times.

As with most churches, coins can be dropped and candles lit to honor and pray for others. While that was an option, there was also this – a local tree trunk and brass tacks. For 1 euro you could be part of the ‘masterpiece’. I left my mark on the side of the trunk.

Our last stop before leaving the village was unexpected but very sweet.

Not only did we get a sweet taste……………..

………….but we also walked into their kitchen and saw the process.

Now is the time for wine. This tour included visits to three wineries.

All wines tasted were red, not really my thing but I dutifully sipped everything pour I was given. Eric had a LOT of wine to drink – just saying.

JUST in case you wanted to start your own vineyard, here were a few plants for sale.

One of the best surprises was our picnic lunch. O.M.G. Our tour guide was sitting this up on a nearby outdoor eating area while we were tasting the wines.

Besides the local cheeses and meats, we had a chicken & beet salad (right bowl) and cheesecake (left bowl) for dessert. Waaaaay to much food for me. Oh, and red wine to drink.

The surrounding hills and valley were a great photo spot before heading back to Bordeaux.


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