Touring the local vineyards and sampling a few home-grown wines is one of the great pleasures of Bordeaux. The wine regions lie in a great semicircle around the city, starting with the Médoc in the north, then skirting east through St-Émilion, before finishing south of the city among the vineyards of the Sauternes. In between, the less prestigious districts are also worth investigating, especially Blaye, to the north of Bordeaux, and Entre-Deux-Mers, to the east.
You will quickly see that there’s more to the region than wine. Many of the Médoc’s eighteenth-century châteaux are architectural treasures, while a vast fortress dominates the town of Blaye, and there’s an older, ruined castle at Villandraut on the edge of the Sauternes. St-Émilion, loved by tourists, is the prettiest of the wine towns, and has the unexpected bonus of a cavernous underground church. For scenic views you can’t beat the green, gentle hills of Entre-Deux-Mers and its ruined abbey, La Sauve-Majeur.