In general I am not a huge fan of Bordeaux because there is a lot of over-priced claret certainly at the lower bulk end, and also I suspect at the fine vintage wines end of the spectrum.The problem is that there are so many great value, under-rated wines in other parts of France. But it would be churlish to dismiss the many great wines Bordeaux has to offer, and I do confess to great memories of some superb St Emilions (Chateau Figeac, Chateau Carteau Cotes Daugay) and an unforgettable Château Gruaud-Larose, St Julien AC.

Hence for mere mortals who face the difficult choices of what to buy from Bordeaux on a tight budget there is some good advice and an interesting article on visiting Bordeaux by Laurence Marks in the Telegaraph (6 May 07)

“If you are running to a budget, always buy a poor year from a great château, and never a great year from lesser châteaux”. So slowly I built up a wine collection from some of the great châteaux of Bordeaux, and have enjoyed the pleasures of fine wine ever since.

I have to confess that I do not find the Bordeaux vineyards the most picturesque in France (that accolade probably goes to Alsace) – but I can recommend St Emilion – it is a pretty, interesting and historic village which is worth visiting even if you are not interested in wine.
One great way to discover St Emilion this summer would be through the St Emilion Tourist office:-

Every Friday from May 18th to September 14th. Appointment at the tourist office. A whole day spent discovering Saint-Emilion and the vineyards along with a lunch shared with the wine-maker.

Recommended reading:-
Dordogne, Bordeaux and the Southwest Coast (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
Bordeaux: Medoc & Graves v. 1 (Mitchell Beazley Classic Wine Library)
Robert Parker’s Bordeaux