However, I’m a firm believer that Bordeaux is unbeatable for quality entry level wines: these can be found in some wine-shops in the region but are normally also available directly from these lesser but great value Châteaux, who are more than delighted to count you as one of their customers!
Bordeaux has a multitude of wine shops but a few stand out by their selection and fame:
Located in the centre of Bordeaux, just around the corner from the Opera House and the Grand Hotel. L’INTENDANT belongs to the famous Bordeaux négociant DUCLOT, created in 1886, which has a stock of many millions of bottles purchased directly from the Châteaux and kept in their extensive cellars. Duclot belongs to the Moueix family, whose holding company also owns the world-renowned Petrus. In parallel to their traditional role of négociants, distributing the wines of Bordeaux internationally and also to the restaurant trade in France, and since 1970, Duclot offers great wines directly to the public via its two important outlets in Bordeaux: L'INTENDANT and BADIE. It also has retail outlets in Paris & Brussels.
Being a Bordeaux négociant, the company can ensure that there are no intermediaries between the châteaux and their wine shops. Hence the prices are competitive and provenance is guaranteed. Although the heart of the range is comprised of the wines of Bordeaux, the group has developed contacts in the other great wine regions of the world for about 20 years. So you can also find great wines from the best winegrowers in Burgundy, the Rhone, the Loire and Champagne …. Not forgetting their selection of spirits.
L’INTENDANT is one of the must-go addresses to buy wine in Bordeaux. Also, as they are owned by a négociant, they can organise shipment anywhere in the world, including to most US States.
Their mythic winding staircase, takes you up from the ground floor’s vast choice of more affordable wines, through the pyramid of the wines of Bordeaux and up to the sanctuary at the final fourth floor, which offers large format bottles and older vintages. Enjoy wines from about 20 euros a bottle to thousands!
2 Allées de Tourny, 33082 Bordeaux - www.intendant.com
Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7.30pm
La Maison BADIE was founded in 1880 by Madame BADIE in the sumptuous 18th century building close to Place Tourny. The company was the first to offer its allocations of the best wines of Bordeaux as futures to the public. Today their extensive Bordeaux list is completed with other great wines from France and worldwide.
In 1993 the company created BADIE Vins de Champagne, offering one of the best selections of champagnes, including rare cuvées and exceptional vintages.
BADIE also belongs to the Bordeaux négociant, DUCLOT.
60-62 allées de Tourny, 33000 Bordeaux - www.badie.com
Open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 7.30pm
In the northern part of Bordeaux, La Cité du Vin is a new generation museum using an immersive, sensorial approach to discovering the world of wine. The lovely architectural design is impressive for its shape and audacious curves, as well as its ever-changing reflections depending on the season, the day or the time. A must see on your next Bordeaux wine tour!
The wine-shop, Latitude20, houses a unique range of wines with more than 14,000 bottles, 800 wines from more than 70 countries, including some very unexpected examples from Syria, Ethiopia, Namibia, Peru, Bali and even Tahiti. The team of specialist sommeliers have put together a range of excellent bottles at reasonable prices from €5 to €50, selected by a tasting committee of professionals and wine lovers with the renowned Michel Rolland as honorary president. The shop includes a wine bar with more than 50 different wines available by the glass and a selection of tapas to enjoy at any time of the day.
Esplanade de Pontac, 134 Quai de Bacalan, 33300 Bordeaux - www.latitude20.fr
Open from Monday to Sunday: 10:00am to 7:30pm
CAVE ART & VIN
On your Bordeaux wine tour, you’ll also want to spend time enjoying the beauty of the city and in the lovely Place du Palais, with its historic monument, the Porte Cailhau, you’ll find this welcoming wine-shop, where director, Patrick, and sommelier, Mélissa, will be pleased to advise you. They have a wide range of quality wines from the entry level upwards, and a passion for the work of the consulting “caviste” (wine-shop owner). They are also specialists in Whisky from around the world.
Here I buy many of the excellent value red & white Graves wines that I drink on a daily basis!
2 Place du Palais – Porte Cailhau, 33000 Bordeaux - www.art-et-vins.com
Monday 2-8pm, Tuesday to Thursday 10am-8pm, Fri & Sat 10am-8.30pm
More of a tasting centre than a shop but its unique concept in Bordeaux merits its mention here. You go through a mysterious hallway into a large modern art deco room, with unusual stainless-steel machines, a tall ceiling where hundreds of wine glasses float, suspended in mid-air… this is the Max Bordeaux concept offering wines such as Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion, Cheval Blanc, Mouton Rothschild and Yquem to everyone by the glass!
The establishment, created by Henning Thoresen, a Norwegian wine merchant, who had always wanted to make Grand Cru Classé wines accessible “by the glass,” opened its doors to the public in October 2009. “You wouldn’t buy a car before test driving it, justifies manager, Laetitia Jiminez, so before buying a Grand Cru, you will want to have tasted it first.”
An innovative idea paired alongside an educational approach: each wine is presented with the history of the chateau, the winemaking techniques and the tasting notes. Wine tasting workshops are organised with a sommelier who explains the history of the Grand Cru Classé wines with a comparative tasting between differing appellations. And once a month, they organise a château evening where a winery owner comes to give a presentation and tasting of his wines.
14 Cours de l'Intendance, 33000 Bordeaux - www.maxbordeaux.com
Monday-Saturday from 11am to 8pm and also open on some Sundays in December and between May and September, in addition to most public holidays.
The beautiful town of Saint-Émilion is certainly a must visit on your next Bordeaux wine tour and it abounds with wine-shops. Every little street has several but I have picked a couple that I go to regularly and suggest to my Bordeaux wine tour guests.
VIGNOBLES & CHÂTEAUX
This négociant, with its two high-end wine-shops, in the centre of St Émilion, started in 1998 and is focused on providing a wide range of services to the public. They have more than 1500 wines (Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne…), with many older vintages and rare bottles. They also offer Bordeaux futures directly to the public, as they have good connections with the top Châteaux. I recommend them to my wine tour guests for their superb team, who give excellent advice, based on my clients’ budgets & preferences. They can ship wines to you worldwide.
1 & 4 rue du Clocher, 33330 Saint-Émilion - www.vignobleschateaux.fr
Monday to Saturday: 9am-8pm April-Oct & 9am to 7pm Nov-March
Sunday: 10am-7pm April-Oct & 10am-6pm Nov-March
Also in the centre of town, Ets Martin has more than 1800 references, encompassing Bordeaux's best and also many top references from Burgundy, Rhone, Champagne and the Loire. They pride themselves in carefully sourcing interesting old vintages from some of the world's best kept cellars. I recommend this friendly shop to my Bordeaux wine-tour guests as they always have something for every palate and every budget. They often help clients focus their choices of wines, and develop their understanding of their own preferences, with tastings from a variety of bottles open on the day. They can ship wines all over the world.
25, rue Guadet, 33330 Saint-Émilion - etablissements-martin.fr
Open every day from 9am-8pm including Sundays and public holidays.
Bordeaux wine tours frequently miss out on the wonderful great value regions of the Côtes de Blaye, Côtes de Bourg and Fronsacais. A shame as there are some super affordable wines made here by excellent wine-growers, including Château Les Trois Croix, that we visited during October’s Wine Scholar Guild Bordeaux wine tour.
LA PETITE CAVE
With twenty plus years of building relationships with some of Bordeaux’s finest producers, this wine-shop offers hidden gems that you typically can’t find outside Bordeaux, at very reasonable rates. From premiere Grand Cru Châteaux to local tiny producers, they feature a widely diverse selection of memorable wines. You can stop by & grab a glass for a tasting and enjoy sitting outside on their patio, with a plate of local charcuterie. They have relationships with top carriers to provide fast, international shipping to most locations.
1 Rue St. Simon, 33390 Blaye - www.lacaveblaye.com
Mon-Thurs 8am-1pm & 5pm-9.30pm, Fri & Sat 8am-10pm, Sunday 9am-9pm
In the Médoc
Surprisingly the Médoc is not well served by good wine-shops. I have picked out just the one and this one run by a lady!
This family-run company was created in 2005 by Isabelle Lassalle-Cherbonneau in the pretty village of Saint-Julien. She started working for négociants in the 1980s, when women were less present in the wine world. And later decided to develop her own trade structure, with the support of regular customers as well as some of the top properties. After achieving good results in export, Isabelle decided to open a shop to share her passion with the public. So the cellar opened its doors in a charming stone house in the village of Saint Julien. Via Vinum now has direct allocations with some of the most important domains (Château Cheval Blanc, Château Léoville Las-Cases, Château Smith Haut-Lafitte...) but also searches out good small producers. Their objective being to propose a range which can please the largest number across all price ranges. The company has since expanded into an important online retailer.
6 Rue des Platanes, 33250 Saint-Julien Beychevelle - www.via-vinum.com
Open Tues, Wed & Fri 10:00-12:00am - 2:00-4:30pm