A photo of The Best Wine Tasting Tours in Sauternes, Bordeaux

wine tasting tours and winery visits

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Why Visit Sauternes?

The Bordeaux appellation of Sauternes may not be as well-known as neighbouring Saint Emilion and Medoc; however, it is well worth visiting during a wine tasting holiday to Bordeaux. Sauternes wine is quite different from the deep red wine typical of Bordeaux: it is sweet, rich-textured, and golden. In addition, the region is less-visited than other Bordeaux appellations, and underappreciated, making Sauternes an ideal, low-key destination for all wine lovers.

The unique flavour of the sweet wines produced in Sauternes is due to something as humble as fungus, a.k.a noble rot. This fungus grows on the grapes, causing them to rot in a particular manner which concentrates the flavours and richness of the grape. Learn more about the impact of noble rot and the fascinating production of Sauternes wines on a guided wine tasting tour from Bordeaux. If you only visit one chateau in the region, make sure it’s Château d’Yquem: the most renowned Sauternes producer and the only Premieur Cru Supérieur. Advance reservations are essential and the Winerist team are on hand to assist with your booking. 

Of course, it’s the unique sweet wine that’s the real draw of Sauternes. However, the charming small village of Sauternes, and the slow-paced, timeless, rural countryside is well worth exploring. For a unique perspective on the countryside around Sauternes, take to the waters of the Ciron River in a kayak and paddle downstream. The narrow, slow-moving river is hemmed by trees that arch out over the waters giving the feeling that you’re paddling down the Amazon (but with better wine!) 

Plan Your Visit

Best Known Grapes

The Sauternes area is best-known for its sweet white wines, which are produced from Sémillon, Muscadelle, and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The key to the wines sweet success isn’t just in the grape type but also in the unusually reliable development of ‘noble rot’ caused by the Botrytis cinerea fungus.
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Best time to visit

You can visit Sauternes and the wider region of Bordeaux at any time of year, although we recommend the spring months of April, May and June, and the autumn months of September and October, when the weather is favourable for a wine tasting tour, the landscape is at its most beautiful and visitor numbers are not too high. The secret to Sauternes wine is the Autumnal morning mists so you may wish to time your wine tasting holiday to visit between late-August and early November when these mists are most common.
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How long to stay

Sauternes is just under one hour drive from the city of Bordeaux, which makes it perfectly possible to visit the village and nearby wineries as a daytrip from Bordeaux. However, spending a night in the village ensures a more relaxed pace, and a deeper understanding of the area’s wines. If you’re here in autumn you might even get to witness the all-important, fungus spawning, early morning mist. If you wish to compare Sauternes wines with wines from other Bordeaux appellations, we suggest basing yourself in Bordeaux and booking wine tasting tours to nearby St Emilion and Medoc for a full immersion into the wines of the region. The Winerist team can tailor make a Bordeaux wine tasting holiday for you.
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How to get there

Sauternes is a little under an hour southeast of the city of Bordeaux. There’s a busy international airport in Bordeaux (Bordeaux-Merignac airport) with frequent flights from many European destinations and connections further afield via Paris. The Sauternes region itself is rural and public transport is non-existent. The best way of getting around is on an organised wine tour from Bordeaux. Winerist can recommend a small group or private tour to meet your preferences. The other option is to hire a car in Bordeaux and make your own way around the region. This gives far greater flexibility and allows you the pleasure of staying out in the countryside, but château visits and tastings must always be organised in advance.
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