Taste of Bordeaux cruise: Libourne and St. Emilion

Market at Creon France
Market at Creon France

ABOARD AMADOLCE-Two perfect days of tasting wine and delicious food. On Tuesday, we had our usual wine lecture and tasting from our resident expert, Christopher Silva of the St. Francis winery in Sonoma. This time it was Cabernet Sauvignon, about which I knew next to nothing. And now I know a few things that might help me in my local wine shop.

My afternoon tour took me to picture-perfect Saint-Emilion where I snapped lots of pictures of ancient city walls, churches and remnants of ancient cloisters. Then our group boarded one of those little trains I like so much for a trip through the famous area vineyards to our tasting at Chateau Soutard.

Filming Top Chef French version at Château Soutard
Filming Top Chef French version at Château Soutard

Three Merlots were offered, from young to old. As is often the case, I preferred the younger, lighter wine. I would have loved to take home a couple of bottles in my carry-on if that were still allowed, but I have never taken the risk of packing red wine in my checked baggage.

There was a lot of excitement at the chateau—because an episode of Top Chef (French version) was being filmed. I tried to get some close-up pictures, but the staff waved us away.

The evening began with the captain’s dinner (lots of food and even more wine) and ended with a troubadour serenading us with French songs.

Tasting Merlot at Château Soutard
Tasting Merlot at Château Soutard

The Wednesday morning tour took me to the market in Creon, where our group tasted—no, not wine, but bread, cheese and Spanish ham. What else does a visitor need? My only problem was that I wanted to take home everything I sampled. The fruits and vegetables especially stood out—so perfectly ripe and so different from some of the mass-produced stuff I find in my supermarkets.

When the tour ended, and we returned to the AmaDolce, there was time for a leisurely stroll through Libourne. Some of my fellow passengers hit the shoe stores, which, I was told, had lots of tempting styles. I stayed out as I’m rarely able to resist that kind of temptation.

Tonight we have our winemaker dinner. I know it will be splendid.  Can’t wait to see what wines will be paired with what dishes.

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