France has no shortage of charming little villages that make you want to stop and look around. After Bordeaux, our river cruise continued on to the little village of Pauillac where we met up with our local guide Paolo for our Go Active bike tour excursion. Paolo referred to Pauillac as the “biggest little town of all the little towns around” and we were in for a treat. He gave us a quick overview of what we’d be seeing that day and we were off…
Uniworld River Royale river cruise
I admit that it’s been probably 10 years since I’ve ridden more than five minutes on a bike, but I was hopeful that it would all come right back to me and it did. After a few test runs on the sidewalk, we left the port where the Uniworld River Royale was docked and made our way through town. The first half hour of our ride was a little wiggly for me as I got my bearings but then all was well.
Our tour through town wouldn’t be complete without a stop at a winery, so after an hour or so of cycling and sightseeing, we parked our bikes and headed in to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Château Lynch-Bages. The nearly 250-acre property is located northwest of Bordeaux in the heart of the Médoc and is part of the “Pauillac” Appellation. Blended predominantly from Cabernet Sauvignon, the château’s wines are opulent and develop even more flavor and complexity with age. Geologically speaking, the soil of the area is ideal for producing excellent wines. Lynch-Bages’ website explains the soil further and says the soil is “homogeneous, consisting mainly of Garonne gravel of Günz (early Quaternary) from the slow erosion of the Pyrenees by the Garonne. Highly filtered and loam poor, these gravely and sandy soils collect heat during the day to better release it during the night. Poor and scantly fertile, they allow a moderate growth of the vine and promote the subtlety of the fruit. Well drained, this promotes a deep root: the slight clay content in the subsoil brings freshness and allows regular mineral nutrition to the vine.”
After learning about the vines outside, we headed indoors to get the details on the wine making process. We saw wines in various stages of production.
We also got a look at how things were done years ago in a carefully preserved area of the winery. Before the wine making process was modernized, everything was done by hand and we got a tour of the old equipment, which made us appreciate the tasting later on even more.
And then we headed into another room for the tasting. Our glasses awaited us:
Then it was time to hop back on our bikes and make our way back to the port where an oyster tasting awaited us on the ship…