Walking from the center of the gorgeous UNESCO village of St. Emilion, you will see rows upon rows of vines. When I went in May, there was almost no one on the road, so it is extremely quiet and peaceful. Tucked in between the historic Chateau Ausone and Chateau Pavie (two of the top four chateaux in all of St. Emilion), you will reach your destination. The estate sprawls over 32 hectares, with 22 of those hectares in the 1st Grand Cru Classe. Specifically, Chateau La Gaffeliere has obtained Premier Grand Cru Classe B status (not an easy feat!)
The staff is extremely proud of their wine, not only because of its cemented status as a 1st Grand Cru Classe, but also because the business is family owned. The estate has been in the family de Malet Roquefort for more than three centuries. The chateau produces 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc, which you can see for yourself with their one-on-one wine tour and tastings! As you are not able to enter the physical chateau itself (the family still lives there) you are welcomed into a lovely building with beautiful leather couches, where you might find a couple of people enjoying La Gaffeliere wine from the end of their very own tour.
The tour begins with a walk through some of the vines. Then you are taken inside to the temperature controlled vat room as well as the cellar, where the wine making process is explained. A fun fact that we learned was that some bottles of wine say, “may contain egg.” This is because egg whites are used to clarify red wines. Egg whites remove tannin particles, resulting in a more round and soft texture for the wine. Long ago, when egg whites were first used in this process, everyone was left with a bunch of egg yolks! The Chateau La Gaffeliere staff member told us that at the Bordeaux shipping dock, things like rum and sugar cane were left behind. Combining these three ingredients (and a few more) gives us caneles, a famous pastry from the Bordeaux region! Stories such as this are very apparent throughout the whole tour, truly making it feel like you are tasting and experiencing something with depth and a rich history here in St. Emilion.
After the tour, you are taken back to where you entered. You taste three different wines that Chateau La Gaffeliere offers, and you are invited to stick around for another glass. The entire tour and tasting takes about an hour. Santé!
Tour and tasting: 20 euros per person for a group, 25 euros per person for a private tour.
This must be booked in advance.
How to get there:
The train from the Bordeaux St. Jean station arrives at the St. Emilion station in 30 to 40 minutes, and it is a seven minute walk from there. Tickets are about 10 euros per person.
An Uber or taxi from Bordeaux to St. Emilion will take about 45 minutes to an hour. This is the most expensive option, especially if you are taking an Uber and surge pricing is in full swing.
To buy your train tickets: https://www.trainline.eu/train-times/bordeaux-to-st-emilion
To book the Chateau: http://gaffeliere.com/en/contact-2/