Travel Two Ways: Bordeaux or Napa Valley

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Bordeaux's Les Sources de Caudalie.

Bordeaux or Napa?

Centuries-old French châteaus go up against Californian artisanal vintners.

Cozy cottages and (below) complimentary cruisers at Solage Calistoga.

By Susan Hanson
Splurge: Bordeaux
Six days, $6,200
STAY: France’s largest wine region produces a staggering 900 million bottles a year. Uncork a few while settling into the lakefront Village des Pêcheurs suites at 61-room Les Sources de Caudalie, a country retreat with its own two-Michelin-starred restaurant and Vinothérapie spa. Suites from $1,026; Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily and a winetasting class or VIP cellar tour at Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
PLAY: Blend your own wine with the help of a sommelier at Château Lynch-Bages. Your travel advisor can work with Virtuoso’s on-site connection in Bordeaux to arrange the three-hour winemaking session, which culminates with a custom-labeled bottle. $184 per person.
SOUVENIR: Purchase a pair of amethyst-hued crystal wine glasses by Saint-Louis, Europe’s oldest glassmaker, at sparkling home decor shop Les Intendances (8 cours du 30 Juillet). $670.
TOTAL: From $6,168 per couple

Steal: Napa Valley
Three days, $1,100
STAY: Boutique wineries dot Napa Valley’s northern end, where the town of Calistoga beckons with rustic charm and relaxing hot springs. After a day exploring, return to 89-room Solage Calistoga – its cottage-style studios have vaulted ceilings and outdoor patios, and there’s plenty of room to spread out at the 130-foot pool. Studios from $510; Virtuoso travelers receive breakfast daily, a $100 resort credit, and one signature spa treatment.
PLAY: Grab your cottage’s pair of complimentary cruisers and bike four miles to Frank Family Vineyards (1091 Larkmead Lane) for a tasting and tour of the historic winery that’s been in business since 1884. Complimentary when prearranged with hotel concierge.
SOUVENIR: Keep your chardonnay chilled in a wine cooler by artist Carlo Marchiori. His Calistoga shop, Ca’ Toga Art Gallery (1206 Cedar Street), is a slice of Venice in the Napa Valley. $95.
TOTAL: From $1,115 per couple
*Prices were accurate when the article appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Virtuoso Traveler. Check with your travel advisor for current rates.
Originally appeared in the August/September 2016 issue of Virtuoso Traveler.