The cruise began in the very city of Bordeaux, France, itself a gem for its architecture and plentiful pedestrian corridors that make leisurely exploring its streets a sublime experience by day or night.
At the beginning of this new millennium, the once industrial riverbank and many roadways extending inwards towards the city were redeveloped into an impressive array of landscaped parks, auto traffic-free zones, and a new light-rail trolley system.
Along the river, a creative water feature fills a shallow expanse to reflect the dramatic buildings one minute and fogs the entire area in a cool mist the next, creating a surreal sight unlike any other I have witnessed before.
During the day, a colorful traveling fair juxtaposed against the historic city monuments painted a lively picture of a vibrant youthful city. In fact, Bordeaux is a college town, and many of the residents are in their early 20s.
At night, the city is delightfully moody with the perfect balance of old and new thanks to timeless architecture offset by modern retail establishments like the local Apple store. It’s a scene that just begs to be captured in grainy black and white photography.
Medoc Wine Region
I must admit that prior to coming onboard this itinerary my initial knowledge of the region did not extend beyond recognizing Chateau Margaux as one of the most expensive wines in the world. Little then did I know I would stand before the actual chateau and try Margaux wines.
Our first tasting of Margaux took place at Chateau Prieure Lichine, and as you would expect this wine variety is quite flavorful. Thankfully, the wines here are also relatively affordable, starting under €100. Of course, elsewhere, the prices only went up.
It turns out one of the most expensive and highly regarded wines in the world is Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Fine artists like Picasso have been commissioned to create the vineyard’s annual label art after all, and the state-of-the-art facility illustrates the superiority of the product.
Usually this particular part of the tour is optional only through the concierge, but we were lucky enough to visit and taste the wine. While extraordinary, the debate really comes down to whether a bottle is worth over €500 for a recent vintage or upwards of €12,000 for an older one.
These are certainly wines for special occasions, and I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to try them and learn about them while traveling with Viking River Cruises. A votre sante!
For more information on the new Chateaux, Rivers & Wine itinerary, visit Viking River Cruises‘ website here. Does this itinerary whet your appetite for great wine? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” section below…
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: JASON LEPPERT