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Uniworld Day "1": Sauternes, Frances

PHOTO: Chateau Fort De Roquetaillade (c) Sery Kim

Yesterday was my first full day onboard Uniworld's River Royale and we went over to Sauternes, France. Located forty kilometres south of Bordeaux, this wine area stretches through the villages of Preignac, Bommes, Sauternes, argues and Barsac and is known for its sweet white wines.

PHOTO: The LVMH vineyard in Sauternes (c) Sery Kim

Sauternes white wines are great with foie gras, beetroots, pork and other vegetables generally. We had a three course wine lunch at the Royal Castle of Cazeneuve with three different Sauternes wines.

PHOTO: Chateau Guiraud (c) Sery Kim

Before we had lunch though we stopped at Chateau Guiraud, the 1st Grand Cru Classe (designated in 1985), for our first of three castle visits of the day. Chateau Guiraud is the oldest estate in Sauternes with the property tracing its history to the 15th century. The vineyard has 100 hectares and is completely organic -- you can find it at 33210 Sauternes - France or email for a visit.

PHOTO: Dessert at lunch (c) Sery Kim

We had a small, single wine tasting at Chateau Guiraud but it wasn't until lunch at Chateau de Cazeneuve where we had a full tasting. For me, the Sautenres' white wines were not just sweet but almost Nyquil-esque in its density. It really required a singular palate, one in which my sweet tooth is not particularly fond of, but I was grateful for the opportunity to eat lunch at Queen Margot and Henri IV's castle.

Here's the full menu:

APPETIZER --> Ribbon of smoked salmon with creamy center, horseradish emulsion and Yuzu vinaigrette

MAIN --> Cilantro caramelized hen supreme with mushroom pastry and asparagus tips

DESSERT --> Peach melba on a wine barrel stave with crunchy praline, roasted peaches, vanilla whipped cream and chocolate drizzle.

Of the three courses, I really enjoyed the main course the most. The chicken was nicely cooked and seasoned but I found the appetizer was a bit warm. Not overly warm like I was going to get sick from botulism but juuuuuust a tad too warm as if it had sat out in the sun too long. However, of the three, my favorite course was dessert. Peach, chocolate and vanilla ice cream ... what's not to like?

Afterwards we took a walk around the grounds of this famous castle. The estate once belonged to a King of France, Henri IV, and was built in by King Edward I of England with his wife, Eleanor of Castile, on November 29, 1287.

PHOTO: A statue at Cheateau de Cazeneuve (c) Sery Kim

PHOTO: The Queen's bedchambers (c) Sery Kim

Once we were one with our second castle, we headed over to my favorite castle of the day: Chateau Fort de Roquetaillade. Located in Aquitaine, this is the only fortress built in France by King Edward 1st and home to the same family since 1306. In fact, even to this day, the family lives there.

PHOTO: The family chapel (c) Sery Kim

Behind the medieval walls of Chateau de Roquetaillade is 700 years of history, with some really interested figurines and faces throughout. In one room in particular, there is a face of a man and a woman on the mantle of the fireplace. The man looks at the bed -- in lust? -- whereas the woman is blushing and looking away from the bed at the mere thought of sex.

Interesting thoughts ...

PHOTO: The woman blushing on the mantle of the fireplace (c) Sery Kim

PHOTO: One of the interesting figurines juxtaposed with modern portraits of the current family (c) Sery Kim

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