Saint Emilion and Pomerol, Further Reading:
Vignobles et chais de la region du Grand-Libournais
Bordeaux wines, one name above all springs to mind … and palate: Saint Emilion.
This is a beautiful old world heritage town is passionately dedicated to the finest wines and good food, refreshingly short of tourist traps.
This entire jurisdiction has become with good reason, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
See it soon in case the world blinks and it changes for ever, St Emilion will generously repay your visit with a wealth of delightful experiences.
Gordon Frickers has a special affection for this town, grown from successive visits including 4 in 2013 and given half a chance he says he would happily return again to paint the town, its people, its beautiful countryside and to renew friendships.
The Town is set on the first ridge of rolling hills as if riding a sea of vines with splendid views to the south of the Gironde Valley from St Emilion.
Most visitors arrive and park without difficulty near part of the Western wall and the Porte Secteur St Martain, St Emilion, the latter giving direct access by steep, cobbled streets to the warm heart of the town.
In the town of Saint Emilion, street scene (1) there is a relaxed hospitable atmosphere, hardly surprising when the air is usually heavy with the scents of red wine and of flowers, Saint Emilion street scene (2).
Saint Emilion, town walls with wine caves is still mostly nestled behind its picturesque, crumbling medieval ramparts.
Not suffering from urban or industrial sprawl, the walls have been said to appear “lashed by a sea of vines & crowned by wine castles”.
All of these castles, the chateaux, have besides magnificent wines, fascinating histories, Chateau Ausone being an impressive example.
Somehow, maybe because of his marine background & sensitivity, some of the work of Gordon Frickers has intuitively picked up this theme of vines undulating like waves at sea for example in his Saint Emilion, a view from the South.
This town, little changed in appearance since medieval times (an internal view of St Emilion), and as a landmark of the Grand Libournais district, has, in addition to its reputation for the very finest wines rivalled only by the Medoc district, one of the most important architectural heritages in Europe, a feature the Medoc district lacks.
St Emilion is so overflowing with interest it would be a tragedy not to stay in this delightful town for a few days. Clos La Madelaine is a good example, a place to sample, learn about wines and enjoy exhibitions of paintings.
While the vine, introduced here by the Romans, provides the backdrop for the region, water also plays an important role: the river islands Dronne & Dordogne offer visitors opportunities for boat trips, picnics & fishing.
Besides, the variety of soils, terrain & water result in many very fine local foods.
The region has many pleasant surprises, even a tidal river boar for surfers!
In this region of chateaux, so marked by history, it was in Castilion-La-Bastille that the hundred year’s war ended in 1453, some say because the English drank too well before the combat.
More recently the English appear to be buying back the land they lost!
More is the pity, most visitors only stay for a few hours, accommodation in the town and district is not expensive and generally very good value.
There are informative tours to wine producers amid classically beautiful vineyards and countryside and the other excellent products of the district, mostly foods, are further enticements to linger.
The tourist information office is large, interesting and well run with very able, charming, helpful women on the front desk.
Even the cobble stones have a story to tell; as will you after your visit.
Near by Pomerol, a view from the north, a village lacking the character of Saint Emilion which more than makes up for that with its reputation for the very best class of wines.
West a few kilometres from St Emilion, the countryside Near Pomerol is of a quite different and a contrasting character to the other villages like Montagne de St Emillion.
Copyright 29.05.2016 updated 17.06.2018