West of Bordeaux and bordered by the ocean and the Garonne river estuary is the area known as the Medoc. This area grows grapes that supposedly make some of the best wine in the Bordeaux wine region, if not the world. And it attracts some pretty impressive prices as well.
The best time to visit this region is mid to late summer but we were here in March so the area looked a bit windswept and bare.
The soil here looks a lot poorer that the hills around St Emilion but they always say “the poorer the soil, the better the grape”
Certainly the prices that some of the wines sell for attest to that, as does the names of some of the labels – Lafitte Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild and Chateau Margaux just to name a few. The chateaux here are also impressive compared to other wine growing regions but not on a par with the chateaux of the Loire region.
The riverside town of Paulliac is the centre of this region and, during summer, attracts many visitors to its riverside brasseries and wine caves (cellars). There is also a port on this tidal estuary.
This area was also important during the Second World War with the Germans establishing a base near here to try and control a sea port on the south western part of Europe. Many winemakers hid their wines in very inventive ways to stop the Germans pillaging their prestigious wines. Some interesting stories have been told about this area and other well known French winemaking areas in the book Wine and War by Don and Petie Kladstrup