We were a small group of two couples in the 40s, from Norway and US, who booked a whole day group tour with Vin en Vacances. However, as there were no other participants, we found ourselves on a private tour with our guide Marcel van Baalen. Marcel picked us up in the morning at our hotel on time and took us to three destinations in the Limoux region: Domaine Gayda, Domaine de Baron'arques and Sieur d'Arques. Marcel appeared to be an experienced sommelier and a fantastic guide on our tour.
Domaine Gayda was the most interesting destination on our tour. The vineyard is professionally run and open for visitors. Marcel (helped by a local guide Veronica) could guide us through the fields and talk about growing and harvesting the grapes. We were also lucky to see the actual receiving and processing of the berries. Domaine Gayda suggests an exciting range of white and red wines for tasting. Marcel did a fantastic job guiding us through the range, from simpler to more complex wines. It was stimulating to follow his comments as we made our way from one bottle to another; also we could exchange our own opinions, which ended up in rather interesting discussions. Being a sommelier, Marcel paid a lot of attention to pairing wines to food, sometimes in traditional but sometimes in surprising way!
Domaine de Baron'arques is the home of most recognized and valued wines in the region. The owner, baroness Philippine de Rothschild, runs the winery with quality as her top priority and she makes no compromises in her choices. We were given an interesting tour on the domain and the production area by Marcel. Needless to say, the wines we tasted were perfect.
Sieur d'Arques is production and degustation place for sparkling wines with a small museum and open cellar.
All in all we found the tour both educating and entertaining, well worth the money. We would highly recommend Marcel as a guide.
I have to mention that the tour program has been changed by Vin en Vacance after booking and we have not been informed about the change; actually we found it already sitting in a car. It is understandable that the program needs to be adjusted in the busy harvesting season, but we would appreciate to be informed about those changes.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.