Going to Bordeaux, I knew I had to visit some vineyard! With only two days and no car, the choice wasn’t easy. I looked through a lot of offers and one I liked the most – Chateau Saint Ahon. I decided to visit it and today I can say it was a good choice!
If you want to visit the vineyard, I recommend making an appointment in advance (you can easily communicate in English by e-mail). The tasting tour costs 9 Euro, but there is a discount for Bordeaux CityPass owners!
Location and access
The Chateau Saint Ahon vineyard is approximately one hour from the center of Bordeaux when going by public transport. The address for this place is 57 Rue de St Ahon, 33290 Blanquefort.
You can get there in several ways. If you have a car, just use the navigation system. When traveling by public transport, the easiest way is to take the C tram line that goes towards Gare de Blanquefort and go to the very end. Pay attention to the direction, as line C has two branches. From the Blanquefort train station, take the 38 bus for 3 stops to Terrefort. From there you have about 500 meters to the vineyard. You can also go from the station to the vineyard on foot, but then you have to walk about 20 minutes (less than 2 kilometers).
Saint Ahon winery is not only wine, there are special events such as weddings and birthday parties organized on site. As well as several beds at the guests’ disposal.
Wine regions around Bordeaux
Despite the fact that Bordeaux is famous in the world for its wine production, the wines differ from each other depending on the region they come from. The Chateau Saint Ahon vineyard is located in the Médoc region. It is situated between the ocean and the Girona River. The soils are not easy to cultivate there, often containing large amounts of gravel or clay.
Other regions include Graves, Libourne, Saint Emilion, Pomerol, Fronsac and Entre-Deux-Mers.
Chateau Saint Ahon – castle
The castle – the heart of the vineyard, is not open to the public because the owner of the vineyard lives there with his family. This place has had many owners over the years. One of the more famous was Charles de Montesquieu.
The castle was destroyed during the French Revolution, and later rebuilt in the Napoleonic era. Its present appearance is the result of the reconstruction that took place in 1875. In 1985, Count and Countess Bernard de Colbert became the 67th owners of the property.
The Chateau Saint Ahon’s estate covers 40 hectares, of which approximately 30 are occupied by grapes. The main crop is Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), another variety is Merlot (30%) as well as Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot 5% of the total share.
The average age of the plants is 19 years. Every year, about 1-2 hectares are planted anew. During the conversation, I was able to find out that vines that will exceed 30 years of age begin to bear weaker fruit, which is not conducive to the production of wine, and hence the aforementioned process.
The annual production of Saint Ahon vineyard is around 150,000 bottles of wine, which is around 45 hectoliters per hectare. The grapevines in Saint Ahon (apparently also in other vineyards in the region) are low and suited to devices that assist in harvesting the fruit. There are 7,200-2900 plants on one hectare.
Wines from Chateau Saint Ahon
Several types of wine are produced in the vineyard. Among them are the Château Saint Ahon Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois, La P’tite Canaille Bordeaux, Colbert-Cannet Haut-Médoc and Mirabel Bordeaux.
During a short tasting I had the opportunity to try the 2013 Chateau Saint Ahon Cru Bourgeois. Intense in taste, full of red fruits, with a slight sweetness despite being a dry wine. It consists of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. It matures for 12 months in oak barrels.
The second wine was the Mirabel pink wine from 2019. Many opposites to the previous one – light, refreshing and also fruity, but with more fresh and citrus notes. Both wines are excellent!
Many wines in Bordeaux mature to take on their character. This process usually takes 12 months. The barrels are made of French oak. A vineyard worker said during the interview that other types of oak, such as the American oak, are “too strong” and give too much flavor.
The barrels are produced for the vineyard by a local cooper, and the price for one is several hundred Euro. It is used for three seasons and then sold for several dozen euros. These barrels are later used for decoration or aging of other drinks – e.g. beer or whiskey.
The barrel itself has a huge impact on the taste of the wine aged in it. Before filling with the liquor, it is baked and, depending on the degree of burnout, it gives the wine a different flavor.
Shop in the vineyard
In the vineyard you will find a small shop with wine and regional products. There are also homemade items like raisin juice and grape jellies. In addition to wine and accessories for its consumption, you can buy there, among others canned food, juices, jams, spices and much, much more!
If you like interesting flavors and you have no fluid limit in your on-board luggage, then you can go crazy!
PS. If you came to Bordeaux by plane without checked baggage, then the duty free shop at the airport is the solution – you will also find a lot of wines from the region there.
Worth a visit?
The Saint Ahon Vineyard is a place I liked very much. The idyllic atmosphere, very nice people and great wine are a guarantee of a nice time!