A day in St Emilion, a mediaeval walled city and UNESCO heritage site is highly recommended, where you can find lots of wine shops, artisanal products (try the cheese caravan in the car park at the entrance to the town), all at fairly touristy prices, but the choice is good.

In terms of recent Bordeaux vintages, 2007 was the weakest (and hence the cheapest in the 2000s, but is drinking well at time of writing in late 2017) and we had a string of weakest vintages from 2011 through to 2014, interrupted by the very good 2015s which Xie Yun and Andrew tasted en primeur (Margaux was outstanding and the tasting very moving and poignant, it being held by his son a week after the death of his father Paul Pontallier, the long standing and hugely talented winemaker)), with 2001 drinking really well at the moment, and then in order of weakest to strongest in Bordeaux 2002, 2004, 2011, 2003, 2005, 2000, 2010, 2009. 2015 is shaping up to be a very strong year and 2016 also with volumes down heavily due to a catastrophic frost (the worst in 30 years) that wiped out about 25% the newly-planted vines at Château Mitaud. If you are at Château Mitaud in the second week of April, Andrew can arrange for a limited number of passes on a first come, first served basis to take part in the trade-only Union des Grand Crus (UGC) official tastings, which bring together most of the top properties (although the First Growths do not participate, but separate visits can be arranged).

Also we would strongly recommend a visit to Le Hameau de Bages (the Bages Hamlet) which is a whole village dreamt up by the Cazes family of Lynch Bages time to revive a village community which had basically ceased to exist. The Cazes family is the famous wine-business family which owns Lynch Bages in Pauillac, Les Ormes du Pez and Villa Bel Air in St Morillon (amongst others). There are shops selling all types of wine paraphernalia, wines (including all the Cazes wines) a good restaurant and a great butcher if you are a carnivore (especially if you feel like cooking, try the Pauillac lamb which is quite famous). The Hameau de Bages is right next to Lynch Bages itself.