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Medoc Vs. Saint-Emilion - Which Region to Choose for your Wine Tour?

Should I choose Medoc or Saint Emilion wine tour when in Bordeaux?

This is by far the most popular question from my Bordeaux wine tour clients.   I would say, it goes half and half when deciding between these two most popular Bordeaux wine regions. 

There isn’t a right or wrong choice, there are benefits to visiting the Medoc and Saint-Emilion.  

It really depends on your personal taste and what you would like to see. Either way, you will not miss out on great Bordeaux wines.  

To make your choice a bit easier, here is my advice:

Choose the Medoc if you have to taste Bordeaux Cabernet Sauvignon and to visit the top prestigious Grand Cru Classe chateaux.

Choose Saint Emilion if you love elegant Merlots, history, architecture and family wineries.

Medoc or Saint Emilion

Why the Medoc?

You will find a variety of wines in the Medoc.  Margaux reds are some of the finest and well-known in the world for their intense aromatic profile and pure elegance.  Pauillac wines are known for their structure and full body.

Cabernet Sauvignon can present from 40% to 90% in the blend.  If you love your Cabs, Medoc is the place.

The Medoc has a long history of winemaking. The area received a lot of commercial attention in the 17th-18th century and attracted nobility and the rich.  In the Medoc,  you will see some impressive castles, the vineyards are generally larger than in Saint-Emilion.

The Medoc is home to the top wineries of Bordeaux.  To name a few – Chateau Margaux, Chateau Latour, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Cos D’Estournel, Chateau Lafite Rothschild.

Margaux is one of the closest wine-growing regions to the city of Bordeaux.  If you are short on time, visiting 1 or 2 wineries in Margaux can make an excellent half-day tour from Bordeaux.

Here are some pictures of the Medoc from my wine tours.

Why Saint Emilion?

Saint-Emilion is a picturesque wine growing area with small hills and valleys.  The best views of the Bordeaux wine country are in Saint-Emilion.

Being the oldest wine producing region, the region presents a lot of medieval history.  The town of St. Emilion was founded in the 9th century and many of the building and churches date back to the 11th and the 12th century.

Saint-Emilion creates a more intimate feeling with many small family wineries and villages scattered through the area.

Saint-Emilion and the neighboring Pomerol are home to iconic wineries such as Petrus, Chateau Ausone, Chateau Cheval Blanc, Chateau Angelus, Chateau Pavie.


Take a look at catalog of Bordeaux wineries, browse pictures taken on our tours and read my guide on How to Visit Wineries in Bordeaux, France

When planning your Bordeaux wine tour, do not overlook the regions of Pessac-Leognan, Pomerol, Sauternes and Entre-Deux-Mers.  

See my blog for more tips on visiting Bordeaux vineyards.

Before You Go

Personalized travel insurance is always good to have.

Get up to 30% off your car rental in Europe with

If you are looking for a driver or a private transfer in Bordeaux see some options here.

Where to Stay in Bordeaux?

Bordeaux city stays

Saint-Emilion/Right Bank stays

Medoc/Left Bank stays

See more tips on visiting Bordeaux wine country in my Blog.  

If you are interested in a private wine tour of Saint-Emilion or Medoc wineries, see our tours at Atlas Bordeaux.

Enjoy your time in Bordeaux!

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