Bordeaux Soup, Part III – Castles, Gardens and Terraces
…More on great Bordeaux and Bordeaux Superieur wines, most $15-$25…
Out in the countryside, we visited the amazing, still-lived-in 16th century Château le Grand Verdus which has been owned by the Le Grix de la Salle family since 1820. (It is now a national historic monument.) There, earnest, boyish 32-year-old Tom (who has three kids of his own – but they were in school when we visited) works the vineyards in an organic style with his father. After WWII, Tom’s grandfather realized that traditional family farms weren’t going to work in the future, and retooled it to vineyards. Thirty years ago, he even sent his son (Tom’s father) to work with Robert Mondavi in California because, by the 1970s, Mondavi had created a wine business of out very little. Now, Tom is looking forward to buying an optical sorter for the grapes, to save time; this estate is a very large producer – 70,000 cases.
Seventeenth century-style gardens greeted us at 17th century Château Pierraill, where Alice and Jacques Demonchaux’s son Arelien is now winemaker. Some have new owners, like Per Landin at Château de Parenchere, a Dutch businessman with a longtime passion for the wines and the region of Bordeaux. Astutely, he retained beautiful, young Julia Gazaniol as his marketing manager when he purchased the property from her family a few years ago, as Julia’s father Jean was ready to downsize. Jean continues to consult, and we enjoyed both their 2000 and 2007 Cuvée Raphael reds with our lunch.
At Château Lamothe de Haux, a property that houses four generations, we had lunch outside on a terrace above 19th century limestone caves, carved out for stone buildings built in the city of Bordeaux. Our terrace was also overlooked by the windows of a bed-and-breakfast apartment, available to rent in the chateau.
To hear more about my travels through the region, listen to me on iwineradio
To learn more about the region, visit the Planet Bordeaux visitor center – it’s about 20 minutes east of the city of Bordeaux — or check out the Planete Bordeaux website