June 20, 2014

Since I moved to England, I’m sure I drink more Bordeaux wine than I ever did in France. Fine French wine has been popular on this side of the Channel for centuries; but despite the amazing variety on offer, many people get into a habit of always buying their favourite bottle and never trying anything new.

Bordeaux, the world capital of wine, is a fascinating place to explore at any time of year. However, for wine fans there is one event which just can’t be missed - the biennial Bordeaux Fête le Vin, a long weekend in which the very best of Bordelais wine, food and culture are presented to eager crowds from across the world. The Fête le Vin is back this summer, and from June 26th to 29th Bordeaux will be entirely taken over by celebrations and events dedicated to the region’s most famous export.

 Light show at the Fête le Vins
Light show at the Fête le Vin

The 2014 Fête le Vin will celebrate the relationship between Bordeaux and guest of honour Los Angeles - the two cities have been twinned for 50 years this year, and California’s strong reputation for New World wine makes it a perfect partner for Bordeaux. Every day of the festival, a huge open-air screen on the docks will show two classic Hollywood films; for those who prefer their art a little smaller, sculptures will be scattered across the quays and the Aquitaine museum will be exhibiting more than 120 works of art lent by director Cheech Marin.

Other attractions include the spectacular Bordeaux Music Festival, which will be showcasing a variety of classical, jazz and funk acts each evening, and the nightly sound and light show projected onto the Palais de la Bourse. But although this all sounds wonderful, I must admit that my mind is more on the wine available than the music! Almost 100 different appellations will be bringing their wine to the Fête du Vin, with a 2km ‘wine road’ stretching along the banks of the Garonne and offering wine from more than 80 different châteaux. A Tasting Pass lets you work your way along the road with your own glass, tasting as you go and enjoying discounts on the wines that you can’t resist.

 Vineyards
Vineyard

For those who want to learn more about their favourite drink, the world-famous Bordeaux Wine School will be running workshops on wine tasting, pairing Bordeaux with food and even making Bordeaux cocktails throughout the festival. And if you find a taste isn’t enough, stalls all along the wine road and elsewhere in Bordeaux will offer regional specialities including oysters, charcuterie and foie gras, all with the perfect accompanying wines.

My family and I always love visiting Bordeaux, whether it’s to tour a vineyard or admire the UNESCO World Heritage city centre. And best of all, this vibrant example of French life is just a day from the UK. Bordeaux is only eight hours by car from Eurotunnel Le Shuttle in Calais, so you can get into your own car at home and be sampling the region’s hidden delights by dinnertime. And with no maximum baggage allowance on Eurotunnel, you can make sure you come home with enough wine to last you until the 2016 Fête!

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