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Just Back From: Bordeaux, France

by Daniel Boulud

 A foggy morning overlooking the Gironde. Photos by Daniel Boulud.

Where does one of the world's best French chefs go for wine in Bordeaux? We asked Daniel Boulud.

Just back from: Bordeaux, France. I stayed at Château Biac in the Medoc, and was hosted by the lovely Youmna and Tony Asseily who produce a wonderful Cote de Bordeaux wine. I also had a chance to visit Château Latour to see my friend Frederic Engerer and was hosted for dinner at Château du Tertre by Alexander Van Beck and his wife Veronique Sanders of Château Haut-Bailly. A great evening of fine wine, food and friends.

Was it your first time? I have been to Bordeaux many times. A year ago, I was there cooking at Château Haut-Brion for the opening gala of the VinExpo.

Why did you go? I went with a friend who was doing business in Bordeaux to drink some good wine.

What did you do? Ate well, drank royally, and was happy to be in France.

How long were you there? Just two days this past January.

Were you there for the right amount of time? Never enough time. But it was enough to visit four châteaux and have a nice meal.

What was the best tip you got before you went? To eat at La Tupiña by Jean-Pierre Xiradakis.

What's the #1 tip you'd give a friend? To make arragements ahead of time with the châteaux if you wish to visit them as they don't take unannounced visitors. And, of course, to study the terroir of this region.

This was especially great: Youmna, the hostess of Château Biac, is a fine Lebanese home chef and prepared a wonderful meal for us.

But this wasn't: The biggest frustration was driving in the fog, but it was beautiful in the rolling hills of the vineyards.

Bordeaux Oysters

Speed round of favorites.
1. Meal: Gravelier, the bistro of Anne-Marie (daughter of the famous Pierre Troisgros) and her husband Yves, a fantastic chef.

2. Neighborhood: Place des Quincones in Bordeaux, one of the largest squares in Europe, right on the Garonne River.

3. Site: Visiting Château Latour and seeing one of the most beautiful cellars in the world.

What's the local speciality? WINE of course! But they also produce sturgeon caviar in the Gironde River and cannelés: eggy, chewy, crunchy pastries that are a must. They have excellent oysters there, too.

What's the place you didn't get to visit but wanted to? The local market where the entire region comes to do their food shopping.

Let's talk about stuff.
1. Glad you packed: A Dune jacket because it was very cold.

2. Wish you'd packed: Hiking shoes for going into the vineyards as it was very beautiful and beckoning.

3. Didn't need: My bathing suit which was left over from my previous trip to Tunisia.

4. Brought back: A local specialty — a jar of lamprey cooked in red wine and leeks which I took to my parents in Lyon.

Would you go back? As soon as I can. Bordeaux is such a beautiful city.

What was your Kodak moment? A foggy morning overlooking the Gironde from my bedroom.

You can't stop thinking about: That fantastic Château Giscours '82.


PLAN YOUR TRIP

Get There

Fly: Bordeaux-Mérignac Airport (BOD) connects with international flights through Paris and London (usually Gatwick). 

Train: Trains from Paris take about three hours.

Find It

Vineyards
Château Biac
19 Route Ruasse
33550 Langoiran, France
+33-5-56-67-61-54

Château Latour
Route Bordeaux
33250 Pauillac, France
+33-5-56-73-19-80
Email to arrange a visit

Château du Tertre
14 Allée Tertre
33460 Arsac, France
+33-5-57-97-09-09

Château Haut-Bailly
103 Avenue de Cadaujac
33850 Léognan
+33-5-56-64-75-11
Email to arrange a visit

Château Haut-Brion
133 Avenue Jean Jaurès
33600 Pessac, France
+33-5-56-00-29-30
Email to arrange a visit.

Restaurants
La Tupiña
6 Rue Porte de la Monnaie
33800 Bordeaux, France
+33-5-56-91-56-37

Gravelier
114 Cours Verdun
33000 Bordeaux, France
+33-5-56-48-17-15

Map It

See the locations on this trip. (Google Maps)

Daniel is a chef in New York City and the owner of twelve establishments worldwide. You can follow him on Twitter at @DBNewYorkNY. He travels to work with his teams of chefs (often doing special events for charities) and to gain inspiration.

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