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Time for an apéro?

When you think about drinking a delicious bottle of Bordeaux, you’re probably thinking of opening a bottle to drink with dinner, or to enjoy while spending an evening with friends. But in France, that in-between time, after work and before dinner, is the perfect time for an apéro. Apéro is short for apéritif, which is derived from the Latin word meaning ‘to open’.

An apéritif might help to open up or stimulate the appetite, but ‘l’heure de l’apéro’ – apéritif hour – also means it’s time to take it easy, have a drink with colleagues after work, socialize with friends in a bar, or relax with family at home.

What wines to drink as an apéro

In some parts of France, especially in the South, it’s popular to drink Pastis (an aniseed-flavoured spirit) for an apéro. Elsewhere, people might enjoy a glass of Kir or Kir Royale (a cocktail made from Crème de Cassis and white wine, or with Champagne for Kir Royale).

A fresh and fruity red Bordeaux such as Château Carignan Motta-Verta 2022, with its blackcurrant and redcurrant aromas, is equally perfect for winding down at the end of the day, the beginning of the evening.

And while many think of Sauternes as a dessert wine, it’s often drunk as an apéro, and also paired with savory foods, such as blue cheeses and foie gras. Here at Bordeaux with Élodie, we’ve previously given you some tips about how to pair Sauternes wines. Another sweet white wine, which is perhaps less well-known outside France, but which is well-worth looking out for, is Loupiac. The sweetness of the wine balances perfectly against the rich and salty savory flavors.

What to eat with your apéro

You could keep things simple, perhaps eat a few olives, nuts or chips with your apéritif. Or you could have some light bites, similar to Spanish ‘tapas’, try some ‘amuse-bouches’ such as small quiches, cheese twists, salmon blinis or some bread smeared with tapenade (a kind of paste made from olives, capers and anchovies).

Another option is to offer a “planche” – the classic charcuterie and/or cheese board. Try a selection of sliced, cured meats, with sausage and pâtés; for a cheese board, offer several different cheese options, with bread.  

In France, you might be offered “verrines”, small servings in glasses, for example, prawn cocktail, salmon mousse, salads, gazpacho, or dips with crudités.

As one of the most famous wine regions in the world, Bordeaux is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves wine, whether to drink with dinner or on special occasions, or for an apéro to wind down at the end of the day. As a wine lover, why not come on a private and customizable wine tour with us – there are plenty to choose from here for a truly memorable trip!

And in the meantime, we’ll be thinking of you as we enjoy our “l’heure de l’apéro” in Bordeaux and hope you’ll come and join us soon – Santé !

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