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Bordeaux training trip


Hi all,

You may/may not have noticed I have been away from the community for the past few days, I have been away on a staff training trip to Bordeaux. I have not been to Bordeaux before but the city itself is certainly worth a visit along with the various châteaux.

I am going to be posting up a few bits of the trip away and I am also going to be embarking on a slightly larger/more technical research piece looking at soil types and cross referencing this with vineyard plots to try and find my ideal Bordeaux wine.

I found it amazing when down next to the vines how different the soil types were even with plots only a few metres away. The vineyard plots in Bordeaux are very fragmented, however when looking at how they are split it makes perfect sense.

Anyway, I will be posting up a few photos and videos on this thread from the trip, I will then look to embark on the much larger research piece that I will share with everyone on here.


Great news. I shall look forward to further posts


Looked like everyone had a great time on the Insta feed :rofl:! Bordeaux is wonderful and I love the city itself too . It’s been too long since I’ve been . Look forward to your project :wink::+1:!


Guessing some of those photos were mine lol, didn’t see which images were used but I have a few others I will share as well plus a few videos.


loved the Instagram feed… the city and the Gironde ( in general) are regular haunts

for soils Ch Phelan Segur in St Estephe detail this for each plot…and it varies drastically over not much distance


regarding soil - have a look at this twitter conversation


I’ve just read this yesterday. Interesting exchange.


Also found that Lafon Rochet also have the same sort of detail, my plan is to try and see if I can get a general overlay, then when I see where certain outcrops of certain soil are located I will drill in further.


and Lascombes have it - tbh I would imagine many (most) do have the info… its just if they share it widely but more likely to share with TWS then a Joe bloggs punter like me!

Thinking about it statistically…Would only need a few in each appellation to give a rough overview and then to drill down further after evaluation with what you like in those appellations

As you will know, the problem is - unlike Burgundy, where wines come from names small areas, in BDX it can (and does) come from any plot and blended together…

Oh the possibilities…



I think my main aim is to work out which producers have the best capacity to produce great wine and then also look around those areas for some more affordable options or indeed look at second wines from top areas.

Its also why I am looking at all soil types as certain Terrace soil types work well for each grape so if I find that a producer has a soil type good for both main grapes then it could be a good indication of the possible capacity to produce a top blend as they would have the best raw materials.

I am also interested to see if there are soil types for some of the Haut-Medoc (mainly between the top appellations) as there could be similar soil types of interest.

I guess for me I would basically look at the map, look at the soil types and then put a marker on the map as to where I would have my vineyard plots as a best case scenario and see which producers have those plots.

An example is looking at the soil types of the Haut-Medoc to the East of Listrac and Moulis or indeed slightly North of Saint-Estephe.


sounds great! I was there last June and had a wonderful time. Sadly I didn’t take advantage of my visits to look at the soils…now I can learn vicariously through you! Look forward much to learning more, thank you.


Indeed, I found it really interesting being at ground level with the vines vs what I had already learnt during my WSET 2 and 3.

I am going to look at a few options outside of soil type as well to locate other favourable producers such as:

Looking at older Bordeaux maps to see which Producer properties were around first (who might have nabbed the top areas), much like Chianti Classico vs Chianti.

Looking on Google maps in satellite view, the good news is that Terrace 4 soil (for Cabernet) has gravel on the surface - I can cross reference how the soil just outside Rauzan Segla looks vs other vineyard plots as they will look lighter due to the gravel. In fact the lighter the colour of the plot on the surface show correspond to the amount of gravel.

I am going to focus on locating the Terrace 4 soils as Merlot is early ripening and usually grows well wherever its planted. Whereas the Cabernet aspect ripens later so having the gravel on the surface radiating the heat is key to ripeness. Coupled with the fact that Petit verdot (very small but important % of the blend) ripens very late.

I noticed when at Rauzan Segla the split between the top Rauzan Segla wine vs the 2nd wine (Segla) is that Segla was simply Cabernet and Merlot whereas Rauzan Segla had all 4 grape types (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot).

So it seems I am looking for a producer that has:

  • Terrace 4 soil plots (to ripen the harder to ripen grapes)
  • Plants all 4 grape types (to add complexity)
  • Produces only 1 wine (all efforts go into 1 wine rather than lesser grapes going into a different blend)

On the flip side I could also look at the 2nd or 3rd wines from top producers but would need to check the usual blend they use to ensure that all grapes are used.


I wonder since you are studying the soil types to such granula level, you might not also be interested in the horses! When I was in Pontet Canet last June, they were building more stables for the horses…now I understand they are among the most serious bio-dynamic producers in Bordeaux and an early adopter as well…how would this play into the dynamics of the different soil types? Are some more amenable to bio-dynamic practices, the manure preparations, horses, lunar cycles…I guess the question would be how do the bio-dynamic producers decide on which soil type-cum-grape-variety combo would benefit most from which aspect of the horses’ work and other bio-d practices…?

Just a thought…


I think you are starting a life work…I await your opus !

one word of advice on google - be careful of images taken at different times as they will give different colour resolution (someone I know who deals with this kind of thing says its good for initial investigations - but then they bring in their own imaging expertise :wink: )


Yeah, its going to be a long project, thought I would document it here to take everyone interested along for the ride!

I will be careful with the Google images, the good news is that gravel is gravel so even if its not exactly the same colour soil due to being taken at a different time it should still be obvious which plots have it.

I have so far looking at a few very old Bordeaux maps from 1680 to see which properties were already there - my thought is that these first properties would have probably nabbed the best plots. I would also need to check which properties were there before and after 1860 due to Phylloxera etc.

One thing that I was informed when over in Bordeaux was the fact that the Moulis/Listrac areas offer great value vs the quality. The reason why they aren’t better know…they aren’t directly off the D2 road!


please do, i’m really looking forward to seeing how the project develops

I’m trying to rack my brain which ch. has a series of maps over the years but I do remember being told about drainage impact on the area but can’t think the this occurred … (im getting old!) and also the impact of clearing of wooded areas…again, a couple of hundred years ago

Shhh about moulis & listrac…if people are going to be lazy and not “hang a left” on the way up the D2 i’m not fussed. We holiday regularly in Listrac and agree the wines are amazing VFM - one for the society (and I think you used to stock) is Fourcas Dupree - Patrice is an amazing guy and his wines are (imho) the same (inc his white) - he used to make the wine for the Fourcas Hosten (pre and post Mommeja bros. (Hermes fame) purchase)


I will try and share anything that I dig up (so to speak!), I am sure others will chime in with suggestions as well as I am by no means an expert.

With regards to drainage, it was the Dutch who drained the land and planted a huge fir forest to the west which helps keep the land drained and also protected slightly from the Atlantic. I was amazed at how wet the whole area was with some plots of land partly flooded - basically any elevation on the left bank is sought after, even if its only 20m.

I agree with keeping quiet about Moulis and Listrac, looks like we currently stock Fourcas Borie Listrac and Dutruch Moulis. Its why I am looking at any vineyards between Margaux and St. Jullian but east of Moulis/Listrac but need to check how the geology works.


so I understand, someone said that some of the little “ditches” we currently see used to be quite free flowing streams

In that area is the wonderful vfm Ch Beaumont - stocked by TWS of course…so im sure you can get some assistance there

ps they were very complimentary about TWS when I visited a coupe of years ago


I found it quite an eye opener how fragmented each of the plots were and it seems that the natural streams do also demarcate boundries - we drove over a very small bridge and went from St Julian to Pauillac.

We stayed at Chateau Beaumont (my room was actually the room with the balcony above the front door!). Was amazing to look around their setup, its apparently a single 115 hectare block of vines - basically everything the eye could see until the forest.

We were lucky enough to try the latest vintages which were really good, I actually have 3 bottles of 2014 and 2015 in my reserves as its a member favourite. I can now write on the labels on the wine with an arrow of ‘I woz ere’! :smiley:


Here is a view from the room at Chateau Beaumont (panoramic):

This photo below shows the sort of soil I am aiming for, you can see the gravel on the surface, you can also see that the vines are short and close to the ground - this is so that the heat radiated from the gravel gets to the vines (much like CNDP).

Also wanted to take this photo, its at Haut-Batailley, the vines on the left are in Pauillac, the vines on the right are St Julian!