Bordeaux châteaux have been celebrated for producing the best wine in the world for hundreds of years. Leading the charge are the famous First Growths châteaux: Château Lafite, Château Latour, Château Mouton, Château Haut Brion and Château Margaux. While every wine lover in the world wants to visit these top châteaux in Bordeaux, gaining an invitation can be difficult. But don’t worry, with over 3000 wine estates in the greater Bordeaux area, there are plenty of amazing châteaux and fine wines to enjoy. Read on for our pick of the best châteaux to visit in Bordeaux.
Named after the 1299 Archbishop of Bordeaux, who would later become Pope Clement V, this Bordeaux château is a Pessac estate celebrated for both its red and white wines. One of the oldest documented wine-producing château in Bordeaux, the estate today celebrates its visitors with wine tours, unique workshop offerings and more. Indeed, at Château Pape Clément you’ll have the opportunity to mix and taste your own wine blend, perfect your wine tasting skills, and become an expert in cheese, caviar and wine pairings.
One of the reasons Château Cos d’Estournel makes our list as one of the best châteaux in Bordeaux is down to it being probably the most architecturally unique estate in the Médoc, with its distinctly Asian influence. Perched across the street from Château Lafite Rothschild, this leading Second Growth Saint-Estèphe château produces stunning wines from a state-of-the-art facility.
The vineyards of Château Léognan nestle in the heart of a pastoral estate, teeming with wildlife and protected from the Atlantic by pinewood forests. Wine holidays here are a real treat, and although new as a wine estate, the château itself was built in 1870. Having restored it to its former glory, Philippe and Chantal are now fully dedicated to establishing the wine from Château Léognan as one of the top wines of the Graves region, as fine as any of its Cru Classé neighbours.
Château Haut-Bailly is one of the most historic château in Pessac-Léognan, possessing some of the oldest vines in the appellation and maintaining the same landmass for over a century. The château is perched atop the gentle slopes of Bordeaux’s historic Graves region. What is truly magical about Château Haut-Bailly is their adherence to a winemaking standard that has propelled them to one of the best châteaux in Bordeaux. Many consider this to be a must-see château because of its esteemed status and enchanting wines. Haut-Bailly also offers accommodation at Château Le Pape, a discreet retreat, an oasis of calm.
A Premier Grand Cru Classé château in the sweet white wine-producing region of Sauternes, which, apart from the famous Château d’Yquem, is the only other Grand Cru within the commune of Sauternes itself. The astonishingly small cellar produces stunningly rich and complex botrytized wines. The welcoming château takes the time to engage wine tourists with art exhibitions, wine tastings and a fascinating seminar on the unique wines of Sauternes.
A Premier Cru Classe B château in Saint-Emilion, this is considered a large estate. Perched on a hillside, the château grounds, which were once part of an estate that included the famous Château Pavie, offer stunning vistas while simultaneously producing deeply aromatised wines. It a great place to visit if you’re wanting to hit the best châteaux in Bordeaux.
A Fifth Growth château owned by the Tesseron family, this château can trace its history back to 1725. Neighbouring the vineyards of Château Mouton Rothschild, Château Pontet-Canet is one of the largest wine producers in the Médoc. In addition, driven by a respect for nature and the environment, the estate is managed biodynamically.
Classified among the ‘Grands Crus and assimilated’ by La Place de Bordeaux, critics, enthusiasts and amateurs alike celebrate this estate. A unique building in the Medoc, the château combines both the residence and winemaking structure in one connected building. With a great diversity of wine terroir, the château produces stunningly complex yet elegant wines. And the team itself has become famous for their hospitality. This beautiful château is produly a member of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux.
A Grand Cru Classe château in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage Saint-Émilion, this estate produces high-quality wines based predominantly on the Merlot grape. The distinctive red cellar was designed by famous architect Jean Nouvel and is complemented by the red stone terrace at the château’s restaurant, La Terrasse Rouge.
Celebrated for his unique understanding of Sauvignon Blanc, Denis Dubourdieu has parlayed his knowledge into the production of stunning botrytized wines. Included in the classification of Sauternes and Barsac, this château is a Second Grand Cru Classe estate. While it’s famous for its poised and elegant sweet whites, the estate also produces a highly acclaimed dry white at its beautiful and classic facility.
Once visited by the Dauphine Princess Maria-Josepha of Saxony, the wife and mother of Kings is one of the largest châteaux in the greater Right Bank Libourne region. The beautifully-restored manor house and stunning modern cellars produce wines that are prized for the freshness of the tannins and their overall vigour.
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This leading estate in Pessac-Leognan is known as much for its rich red wines as it is known for its stunning whites. The estate, which also plays home to owner Olivier Bernard, features a unique cellar and a state-of-the-art multi-estate bottling facility. During the wine tour, you are likely to see the unique cement vats, the oak egg and learn about other Bernard estates.
A 5th Growth estate, Lynch Bages is nonetheless one of the most widely known Médoc châteaux. Producing Bordeaux wines with richness and a powerfully spicy nose, these wines have become a perennial favourite. Another leader in hospitality, the small village of Bages boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant and hotel, a lovely bistro, artisan bakery, quaint shops and more.
Photo credit: PA, ‘Château Beychevelle’, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
Beychevelle is every bit as gorgeous as you’d expect a château in the heart of the St Julien area of Bordeaux to be but wait until you pass through the impressive vestibule and rooms into the gardens beyond. Three words will escape your breath, “Le Petit Versailles”. The expansive château gardens are entirely reminiscent of such splendour, and flow from the château wings which house a variety of facilities for the wine traveller – a well-equipped and befitting wine tasting room and all the private hire functions of La Table de Beychevelle, where you can stay, celebrate, convene, dine and taste. Beychevelle’s Grand Cru and second wine, Amiral de Beychevelle are both deserving of a visit on their own.
The best way to discover the châteaux of Bordeaux is on a guided wine tour. Experience the different winemaking styles in a day on a wine tour with passionate tour guides and regional experts. We have a huge range of wine and food tours in Bordeaux including wine tastings and food tours. Find the perfect tour for you! Have you read our other wine region guides? Here are our experts’ opinions on which wineries to visit in Rioja, Umbria, Provence and Puglia!