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The Etruscans stopped here. Here the Montmorency family and the prince of Conti established their capital. It is easy to understand why: Pézenas endowed with a registered historical center, with private residences of the 15th to the 18th century is rich of its past and present. Queen Anne of Austria, mother of Louis XIV, stayed at the Hôtel de Flotte de Sebason. In the 15th century setting of the hôtel de Lacoste, Philippe de Broca shot scenes of the movie Cartouche with Jean-Paul Belmondo.
In Puech Cocut, the cuckoo’s hill, erected on the traces of a Roman villa, the neo-classical style castle represents the triumphant viticulture of 19th century. The castle, erected on a Roman site, has remained in the same family since 1828. A family of “artistic viticulturists ” outside the norms. The ambiance is Arty and the decor neo-classical at the Viennets’. Christine is a ceramicist of international renown; Jean is a painter of great talent; his works cover the walls of the salons. Their son Gustave babies the 30 hectares of a noble vineyard. In the castle, his wife Marie manages the five new and superb rooms and the table; she receives guests with exquisite grace. Raissac is a seductive place full of charm and fantasy. The wines are witty also: Cuvée Belmont, syrah and grenache, soft and silky, is very successful in New York. Very expressive wines cultivated in a winemaking plant of the 17th century dug in the rock, unique in Languedoc. Visit of the vineyard and tasting in the cellar. Château Hostellerie open all year. Tel.: 04 67 28 15 61www.raissac.com
The vines at Châteauneuf de Saint Martin in Marmoutier. Originally from Pannonia in Hungary, Saint Martin was in the Roman Legion before converting and becoming first Bishop of Tours. He brought from his country the very first chenin plant and was thus at the origin of the Loire valley’s vineyards. In the fourth century, Saint Martin was a highly solicited super star. He would hide in a cave on the hillsides of Vouvray in Marmoutier, some distance from Tours, so that he could meditate.
The Abbey of Marmoutier was erected after his death in 397. Archaeological digs in the grounds show amazing remains of the Gothic Benedictine church from the twelfth century, which was 127 metres long and as famous as Cluny. From the tower, Urban II would preach in favour of the Crusades. Leonardo da Vinci’s body lays at rest in the Basilica Saint Martin in Tours. The Tours Tourist Office proposes an fascinating guided visit . The Vigneau Chevreau estate still grows a vine on the hill top and develops a Saint Martin vintage at the Clos de Rougemont.
This is the place to go for all winemakers from Saint-Emilion and the surrounding area. The proprietor, Count François de Ligneris, makes this place what it is: warm, friendly with wholesome cooking, not to mention the wines! His presence is the real mainstay of the place. Late night diners in the garden often continue chatting into the small hours, enjoying excellent wines and philosophical and poetical conversations. It is the Saint-Emilion that inspires one! François de Ligneris also produces some good ‘vins de pays’, of which the Prince Sarment is one. 11 rue du Clocher. Tel.: +33 5 57 74 48. Next door, in his shop, one can find a selection of works and objects related to wine, all carefully chosen.
The château Mendoce, built in 1636 for Jean de Ridder, a trader in Dutch wines, is better known as the château “Mille Secousses”, a royal moniker! When the château was honoured by the visit of a young Louis XIV, accompanied by Mazarin and his mother Anne of Austria, the road was so coarse that the future Sun King was shaken a thousand times and complained about it. The château has a fetching look to it, with its corner towers pierced with embrasures and topped with watch turrets. Its Bordeaux Supérieur offers a thousand gustative pleasures. The current owner Philippe Darriccarère, a pharmacist who pawned his shop for vines, will be delighted to take you round his castle and share with you his passion for wine. Visits and tastings by appointment. www.mille-secousses.com
Le Caveau Bugiste was established in 1967 by six Bugey winemakers. Among the six founding members, some have disappeared, others have taken a well deserved retirement. Today only Jean Chaudet is still active and his vineyard remains open year-round for visitors to the Bugey region. Chaudet's domaine is planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two varietals with extraordinary body and character, but distinctly different noses: Pinot has notes of truffle while Chardonnay smells of vanilla and almond. AOC Vin du Bugey is produced on ten hectares at the foot of a cliff that belonged to Brillat-Savarin. A visit to the vineyard includes a tour, tasting, and be sure to check out the wine museum, which often feautures various expositions. www.caveau-bugiste.fr
The castle may not be dissociated from his environment of which the canal du Midi and the vines are part. It is a renaissance for this 19th century castle bought by Karl O’Hanlon, the Irish founder of “Domaine et Demeure”. Close to Narbonne, at the same time a holiday site, restaurant and vineyard domain, Carrasses has been conceived, thought of, and organized to live “chic” in the heart of the vineyard. An art de vivre “à la française” that will delight WineChicTravellers. We liked he brasserie ambiance and the Mediterranean cuisine of David Galtier. We appreciated the luxury of an apartment decorated in white with a private pool, and were captivated by the charm of the emblematic glass enclosure transformed into a salon. The view covers the plain and the vineyards ad infinitum. Tel.: 04 67 00 00 67. www.lescarrasses.com
Here the light cassoulet, reworked by David, the salmon slab in a crust of Jordan Almonds, shrimp beignets, coral lentils in a fine mussel juice, reveal their exquisite tastes in layers. David Prevel started early. He is a laureate of the grand prix Culinaire de l’Innovation 2010 and keeps all of his enthusiasm to develop and renew his menu. But, please David, keep your cassoulet on the menu. A good choice of organic wines from Languedoc. At night Côté Jardin is also an hotel. Tel.: 04 68 27 08 19www.auberge-cotejardin.com
Founded in 1093, the Abbaye became Cistercian in 1145. It played an important role during the crusade against the Albigensians. It is a monastic city full of history, a stone jewel enchased in vegetation whose discovery is impressive. The chapel dates back to the 13th century; do not miss the abbatial church, the cloister, the chapter house, the art museum Gustave Fayet, Odilon Redon’s collection or the gardens. The Abbaye received the 1st National prize in oenotourism in 2011; you should expect an erudite patrimonial, ludic and bacchic visit. You can spend the day. www.fontfroide.com
At the end of March, beginning of April, this event is the essential rendez-vous for aficionados and purchasers of sparkling wines. Organized by the Vignerons du Sieur d’Arques, each year «Toques et Clochers» sells at auction the most promising barrels of the Limoux appellation to benefit the church steeples in the eponymous villages. The day includes a meal prepared by some of the best-known «toques» in France alongside reputed sommeliers. Information and dates on the website. www.boutique-sieurdarques.com
We could not have made it up! The master of the house’s name is Jean-Luc Desmoineau! A cozy nest. In olden times, this house was the residence of the Souvigny, parents of Madame du Barry’s. Vestiges of the grand siècle include a stairwell, stained glass windows, walls of the ancient chapel painted with grisailles, leading up to the bedrooms on Cloud Nine! Table of great repute. Jean-Luc concocts a twice cooked pigeon, a marvel of delicacy and flavor... 1 Place Général Leclerc. Tel.: 04 68 31 00 25. www.grandhotelmodernepigeon.fr
The space of ancient stables was needed to exhibit and store the collection and the works of Christine Viennet, so rich is her museum dedicated to the art of the table. Faiences from France and elsewhere, from yesterday and today, the choice is unbelievable and delicately executed. Christine’s “Trompe l’Oeil” creations, influenced by Bernard Palissy, tend toward sculpture where the oniric and fantasy world of the sea intertwines with the vegetal world. Visit upon reservation.Tel.: 04 67 49 17 60
A mythical estate and a legendary wine. Four centuries of history and the history of a wine made from gold! It isn’t until the middle of the fifteenth century that the estate passes from the being under the protection of the Dukes of Aquitaine to that of the Kings of France. It could have been English! In the eighteenth century, the Lady of Yquem, Françoise Joséphine de Sauvage d’Yquem, a young widow, took over the reins of the estate with a rare talent. She had a wine store built and developed the trade of her wine abroad. Her wine was much appreciated by Thomas Jefferson and President George Washington. In the nineteenth century, the estate was upgraded to Premier Cru Supérieur. The Grand Duke Constantin, brother of the Tsar of Russia, bought a wooden cask of Chateau d’Yquem and paid 20 000 gold francs for it. A wine that is worth all the gold in the world! Up until 1999, Count Alexandre de Lur Saluces, a worthy descendant of Françoise Josephine, followed in her footsteps upholding his personal creed that was preserving a heritage that spanned four centuries and to consecrate the reputations of his wines. The writers François Mauriac, Alexandre Dumas, Jules Verne, Marcel Proust and Colette render homage to the divine bottle, gold and honey liqueur, with an immense array of aromas. Dried fruit, hints of spice, cinnamon, safron, lime tree liquorice, toasted zest, an entire composition, which reveals itself little by little during the tasting such a sublime piece of Mozart’s music. Now, under the ownership of LVMH/Moêt Hennessy, Louis Vuitton has handed over the management of the estate to Pierre Lurton. A great wine connoisseur for a great wine, it is a good mix and Pierre is heading towards modernity whilst still respecting its great tradition. The style of the château’s estate is a halfway between simple peasant architecture and stately medieval castle. The park is open to visitors to ramble through at will from Monday to Saturday. Visits only by written request. email@example.com www.chateau-yquem.fr
Marion and her husband, Abdou Maarfi, run this inn. A family home with several rooms and a restaurant, the terrace of which is surrounded with trellised wisteria – enchanting! The welcome is warm and the fare, rich and generous is accompanied by their very own Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Château La Mariotte, a simple fruity wine. A moment of happiness. 3 place du Marché au Bois. Tel.: +33 5 57 24 71 40 www.logis-de-la-cadene.com
Emile Herredia owns a cellar in the freestone and an historic vineyard which he manages like a poet using traditional methods. Drilling of the wine barrels, crushing and screw-pressing, cane pruning, harvest by hand and ploughing with a horse over an eight hectare plot. His vin de table “The glass of Poets”, a deep structured red, fine, mineral and fruity deserves to be discovered. He completes his range with monovarietal vintages for the Coteaux du Vendômois, a dry white chenin, an ancient vintage, which was introduced by Saint Martin, and a Pinot D’Aunis originated from vines that are over 170 years old. Tel.: +33 6 84 23 35 40. 43 rue de Montrieux 41110 NAVEIL. www.domainemontrieux.fr
The last residence of Leonardo da Vinci. Built in 1471 the pink brick and freestone façade characterises elegant fifteenth century architecture. Charles VIII’s royal estate, the Clos was used as a summer residence by French kings for 200 years. A residence of Louise of Savoy and her children, the Duke of Angouleme, future François I and his sister Marguerite of Navarre, it welcome the illustrious Leonardo da Vinci in 1516. The painter and friend of François I remained here until his death in 1519.
The incredibly rich museum and park designed by Jean Saint Bris are dedicated to the master of La Joconde. The “engines and machinery” displayed in the heart of nature are in homage to the visionary genius that Leonardo da Vinci was. www.vinci-closluce.com
L’Auberge du Prieuré. Located within the Clos Lucé – this restaurant, complete with terrace and garden, hosts “period meals” in the Renaissance theme. 2 rue du Clos Lucé - 37400 Amboise.
La Table is run by the young and talented cook, David Guitton and is a surprising restaurant stuck in the middle of nowhere but surrounded by century old vines. The modern elegant décor compliments David’s cooking. Light and tasty dishes enhancing local produce go well with the estate’s vintages. 49380 Champ Layon. France www.latable-bergerie.fr
The jewel of Angers Castle. Hung in an immense gallery, this medieval woven work is unique in the world, not only in size but in its quality design. It was ordered circa 1375 by Louis I, Duke of Anjou. It was displayed on religious festivals and formal occasions. Restored in the nineteenth century, it was returned to the Château of Anger in 1954 to be displayed to the admiring public. It is 103 metres long and 4.5 metres high and made up of 71 pictures. It represents St John’s vision from the New Testament and illustrates the historical, social and political context of fourteenth century France. www.angers.monuments-nationaux.fr
Inhabited by the Goulaine family since the fifteenth century, this castle is a real gem. Flanked on the furthest western side of the river, this castle is the last of the great Loire valley castles. Jean de Goulaine, Captain of the town of Nantes, was a go between for the Kings of England and France, thus his coat of arms bears leopards and fleurs de lys, and to thank him for services rendered, Henri IV awarded him the title of Marquis.
Historical Castle, wine producing estate with 23 hectares of vines in burgundy melon, a glasshouse for butterflies - a passion of the Marquis’ – and above all the LU museum – a must see!
In the seventeenth century wing of the château and on two levels, the real story of the little butter LU biscuit is told, through posters, biscuit tins, drawings and advertisements. Works of artists such as Mucha, Sempé, Mime Marceau or Folon - to name but a few - are on display here. 44115 Haute Goulaine, France. www.chateaudegoulaine.fr
A walled-in property in AOC Saumur Champigny. By far the most amazing vineyard and the most immeasurable means of maturing wine conceived by Father Cristal at the end of the nineteenth century. Vine stems to the north, grapes facing south, so that the vines, protected by the surrounding walls, could grow successfully. He put his ideas into action. In this wonderful 10 hectare vineyard where it is so agreeable to wander, the parallel walls are pierced 50 cm from the ground in order to let the vine head pierce through. Father Cristal, a friend of Clemenceau, bequeathed his strips to the Saumur Hospices. Nowadays, the estate belongs to the town hospital and is run, following organic cultivation methods, by Eric Dubois, master of the wine store. Visits by appointment. 49400 Champigny, France. Tel.: +33 2 41 52 96 08. www.clos-cristal.com
Some exceptional Graves Grands Crus Classés wines are produced on this venerable estate with a timelessly modern wine store. The estate is such a secret garden in the midst of woods and vineyards from where the vat emerges. Made of stone, metal and glass, the circular vat fits in to the architecture of the eighteenth century property. Olivier Bernard, a knight of the vine, feels in osmosis with his estate and his vineyard, living amidst it all and entertaining the greatest oenologists and visitors the world over with such elegance. Tasting his vintages, one discovers extraordinarily complex, thoroughbred wines that are velvety, rich in aromas, tannic, with a long finish. The 2010 Domaine de Chevalier Grand Cru Classé is a full bodied, yet tender wine with hints of pear and freshness. As for the Domaine Chevalier 1920, a rarity, it has kept all its aromas intact and expresses notes of smoked China tea. A sheet moment of happiness! Visits by appointment. Tel: +33 5 56 64 16 16 www.domainedechevalier.com
A historically significant château that produces unique wines. Unique because of the passion that Jean-François Quenin, lord of the castle and wine maker, has put into his estate so that from the vine to the glass, his wine is such a nobleman, a good companion, a very honest Saint-Émilion. 36 hectares surround the château undivided and are ploughed with cart horses. In addition to the traditional grape varieties, Jean-François also grows some carmenère, an old grape variety from the Bordeaux region with thicker skin that adds peppered and spicy notes as well as the black colour of the Pressac, tannic and powerful. The fortified castle, perched on a knoll with sloping vineyards, remodelled in the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, presents a mixture of medieval Renaissance architecture with elements in the style of Viollet le Duc. The vintage château de Pressac is as powerful as a knight travelling back from the Crusades. The second wine, Château Tour de Pressac, is as sultry and fresh as a Prince. Analogies that suit the place well as the château de Pressac was right at the heart of the Hundred Year War Peace Treaty. It is in the chapel that the last Condorcat of the battle of Castillon was signed in 1453. Visits by appointment. www.chateau-de-pressac.com
The date 1712 is carved into the wine store’s wall, thus proving that the wine making business here dates back to the eighteenth century. Patrick Léon, the owner since 1995, is none other than the mythical winemaker of the Mouton Rothschild and Opus One in California! You soon realise you are in a good establishment. A family home where each and everyone bears the vineyard and locality in their heart. A passion that they like to share, as much as their wine! The wines are made up of a subtle blend of merlot grapes to which 20% cabernet franc is added and the rest is the master’s know how! The mark 87 Parker was awarded to the Château Les Trois Croix 2000 vintage, which is full bodied, superb, perfumed. Visits and tasting sessions upon request. www.chateaulestroiscroix.com
An estate belonging to the Hubert de Boüard de Laforest family that produces fabulous wines on very stony ground. 25 hectares of vineyards and three blends in appellation Lalande de Pomerol: the Plus de la Fleur de Boüard made from 100% merlot matured for 33 months in new casks remains a great wine to put down. A small production of a second wine, the Château La Fleur Saint-Georges enables one – if one has the good luck to be able to taste it – to appreciate the full generosity of a great and powerful Pomerol. The 2009 vintage, the Fleur de Boüard with its robe a Chinese ink colour brings out flavours of cherry, vanilla and moka. Velvety and powerful on the palate, it is one of the best wines of the estate. Visit by appointment. www.lafleurdebouard.com
We couldn’t have made it up! The master of the house’s name is Jean-Luc Desmoineau! A cozy nest. In olden times, this house was the residence of the Souvigny, parents of Madame du Barry’s. Vestiges of the grand siècle include a stairwell, stained glass windows, walls of the ancient chapel painted with grisailles leading up to the bedrooms on Cloud Nine! Table of great repute. Jean-Luc concocts a twice-cooked pigeon, a marvel of delicacy and flavor. 1 Place Général Leclerc. Tel.: 04 68 31 00 25. www.grandhotelmodernepigeon.fr
A former winemaking property bought up and re-styled by a young New York investor. This is not just any old story! Since 2001, Peter Hahn, with the help of skilled winemakers Vincent Carème in Vouvray and Damien Delecheneau in Amboise, devotes himself to his passion and the result is good. A large, welcoming pile, surrounded by vineyards for a small estate following organic agriculture methods (hand picking and squashing). Only one cuvee in 100% white chenin grape certified Vouvray and no more than 5000 bottles a year, selected by the Wines of France magazine – and us! Vouvray. Tel.: +33 6 08 76 97 87. www.lameslerie.com
The Jimtown Store is just east of Healdsburg on State 128 and is an ideal stop to pick up a picnic before continuing on this itinerary. Jimtown has been a landmark since 1895, when Jim Patrick founded it to serve as the general store, post office and meeting place for the valley. In 1989, the late John Werner and his wife Carrie Brown bought the store and restored it to its former glory – and added some twists of their own. The wine on offer includes Jimtown Wine, a collaboration with the neighbouring Hawkes Vineyards. There’s homemade and local foods, old fashioned toys and candy, homewares and gifts, and the store is decorated with vintage collectibles and antiques – a celebration of Americana. Jimtown continues to be a community store for the 21st century – part cafe, part information centre for locals and travellers alike. It’s definitely worth a visit to pick up some souvenirs, and get a picnic or sit and have a coffee or lunch. 6706 Highway 128. www.jimtown.com
Located at the hidden gem that is the public Malibu Golf Club, you’ll be able to sample Semler wines facing the perfectly manicured #1 fairway or move inside to taste the delicious cuisine of chef Matthew Zubrod along with a wide selection of wines. A must see! 901 Encinal Canyon Rd, Tel.: + 1 818 865-0605, www.malibuandvine.com
This world famous institution has two distinct locations: the antiquity collection is in the original Malibu location and the rest of the artwork is set in the huge Getty Center, designed by architect Richard Meier and located in West Los Angeles. The latter hosts an elegant formal restaurant with amazing views and stylish cuisine where one can try the rare Moraga red and white wines produced just across the hill! If you want to stay in a gastronomic theme, follow the food and wine audio-guide which will take you through various galleries (see the intriguing German wine pot / photo). 1200 Getty Center Drive, L.A., CA 90049, Tel.: +1 310 440-7300, www.getty.edu/visit/
Restaurant Reservations Tel.: +1 310 440-6810 or online at www.getty.edu/visit/see_do/eat_shop.html
Warm welcome, beautiful modern tasting room with breathtaking view, wide variety of wines to sample and historical background to discover. The historic first winery of the area offers daily tours and the possibility to have a great meal (see Meritage). Great wines, great place. 32720 Rancho California Rd, Tel.: + 1 951 676-4001, www.callawaywinery.com
The Lodge at Torrey Pines. Those who will want to savor a gastronomic meal in THE reference in terms of luxury accommodation in La Jolla will not miss a dinner or a lunch in this beautiful restaurant which has a large terrace overlooking the oversized pool and the 18th hole of the highly praised Torrey Pines golf course. The restaurant takes his name from an early 1900’s California artist and some of his original artwork can be admired by diners. The cuisine of chef Jeff Jackson is extremely well executed, not sacrificing flavor and personality to pure elegant presentation. He is one the most dedicated chefs to using local ingredients and the restaurant has been nominated one of the top 10 farm to table restaurants, most dedicated locavore eateries in the US. Superb wine list. To enjoy fully the experience, staying overnight is well advised! 11480 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, Tel.: + 1 858 453-4420, www.lodgetorreypines.com
This trendy restaurant set within the hip Hotel Palomar (www.kimptonhotels.com) is perfectly situated to enjoy the Gaslamp Quarter and its vibrant atmosphere. The menu is not that long, but everything is tasty and most items are sourced locally, even the beers. Try the roasted white corn ravioli with lobster butter sauce when in season. Hotel guests enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the afternoon in the comfortable lobby or by the pool where one can get a chair massage to be in perfect bliss before heading up to one of the contemporary rooms and vast suites with sweeping views of the city. 1047 Fifth Avenue, Tel.: + 1 619 515-3003, www.saltboxrestaurant.com / www.hotelpalomar-sandiego.com
Listed as a Historical Site, this Inn was built in 1913 and is one of Irving Gill’s finest examples of the “cubist” style of architecture. All the 15 graciously decorated guestrooms are unique, but all boast old world charm. The Inn is a block from the beach and from the Museum of Contemporary Art’s main location (http://www.mcasd.org). The gourmet breakfast, served in the original dining room, is in itself worth the stay! 7753 Draper Avenue, La Jolla, Tel.: (00-1) 858 456-2066, www.innlajolla.com
Not a restaurant per se, but well worth spending the night in this charming B&B with 18 rooms surrounded by vineyards, just to taste the outstanding breakfast chef Dean Thomas prepares and serves in the morning on the terrace overlooking the sea of grapes to be picked. His wife Nicole from Quebec makes you feel at home and will help you plan your stay. 33350 La Serena Way, Tel.: + 1 951 676-7047, www.TheINNatEuropavillage.com
As early as the Xth, when the Capuchins would walk down to the XXIst century, the road is lined with roses and grapes. The Ladies of Weinbach, known as the Capucines, Colette, Laurence and Catherine Faller rule over the wine estate. The family house, where an old monastery once stood, faces the five hectares of enclosed vineyards that sued to be cultivated by the Capuchin monks. It was bought by the family in 1898. A small but historically significant part of their wine estate. The vines and grape varieties from the Clos des Capucins mature early and make remarkable gastronomic wines. The Théo Riesling and Gewurtztraminer cuvées and the Sainte Catherine pinot gris cuvée demonstrate this well.
The Laurence cuvée, however, is matured from the Furstentum grand cru. A rich Gewurztraminer with aromas of roses, jasmine and spices and a velvety and elegant finish.
The vines on the estate are from biodynamic culture since the 2005 vintage. The Capucines from the Alsace region wish to work on and produce concentrated wines that are pure and intense and create the right balance between wine and foods. They achieve a great result that had us completely charmed. www.domaineweinbach.com
Mélanie, a young independent wine grower, also chairs « Des diVINes d’Alsace », an organisation that brings together about fifty female wine growers. Covered in diplomas, this agricultural engineer, with a diploma in oenology had a stint at the prestigious Cheval Blanc estate in Saint Emilion. Mélanie, a highly literate wine grower is the eighth of a whole generation of Pfister. The estate dates back to 1780 with ten hectares over nearly forty plots. Despite being in a very traditional wine growing environment, she has started a new generation of wines inspired from the Bordeaux region she knows so well. The Cuvée 8, a blend of four noble grape varieties, is a dry white strong in aromas and full of freshness. Her latest innovation, introducing glass tops to seal the flûtes, the name of the traditionally shaped bottles of Alsace wines. As a result, her wines appear even more precious and elegant and there is no risk of corked wine! Wines on the up. Visits by appointment. www.domaine-pfister.com www.divinesdalsace.com
Valentin sons and daugthers with Marie and Jean-Paul represent the thirteenth generation of Zusslins. Nowadays, the vineyard is run following biodynamic principles by the children. Over 13 hectares of vines well established over the hillsides around the Bollenberg, the Pfingsteberg Grand Cru and the Clos Liebenberg. A small niche and a monopoly, the Clos Liebenberg is a gem of nature for botanists and was classified a Natura 2000 area. The Riesling Grand Cru Pfingstberg was distinguished as one of five standout Clos by the magazine “Revue des Vins de France”. A complex wine that unveils a fatty side and great depth. One point to note is that the corks are completely ecological and marked with beeswax. 100% Riesling grapes to produce a wine that is precious, straight, supple, with notes of citrus and aromas of fruit between pineapple and grapefruit. Visits from Mondays to Fridays and by appointment. 57 Grand rue (haute) 68500 Orschwihr - France www.zusslin.com
Located in a former Dominican convent from the XIIth century, contains, amongst many others, a remarkable piece of art, the Issenheim altarpiece painted by Matthias Grünewald towards 1515. Other major pieces to admire include works by Lucas Cranach, Martin Schongauer. Monet, Poliakoff, or Picasso. The contemporary pieces are displayed on the same level as the archaeology department. 1 rue d'Unterlinden, 68000 Colmar -France. Tel: +33 3 89 20 15 58. www.musée-unterlinden.com
Fred’s Cuisine. Cookery chef, traitor at your house, creator of events and owner of a super fresh restaurant, Frédéric Valette is a master of all trades. A must-see stop but by appointment only and you should book ahead for cookery classes, meal preparations followed by lunch. Frédéric, a young, dynamic and creative chef likes to share his passion. The location is discreet, simple, refined like its dishes. The local and fresh produce is carefully selected. Everyone pitches in alongside the chef, chopping tomatoes, preparing bases for sauces, cheese samosas and savouring it all. A marvellous and gourmet moment filled with learning. Impasse du Bourg. 69460 Le Perreon. Tel: +33 (0)6 81 17 11 44. www.lacuisinedefred.com/
Auberge du Paradis at Saint Amour, of course! A lovely introduction to the visit of the Beaujolais vineyards. You’ll fall for the charm of this village inn, surrounded by a vineyard, hiding treasures of refinement and taste behind its walls. Garden, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and restaurant. The fare falls in line with expectations, the cuisine is surprising, concocted by Cyril who blends local flavours with those from elsewhere with great talent. It is recommended you reserve, as it is always busy, especially for Valentine’s Day! 71570 Saint-Amour-Bellevue. Tel.: +33 (0)3 85 37 10 26 www.aubergeduparadis.fr
The Desvignes name dates back to the twelfth century. The wine grower’s house with its arched cellars dates from the early eighteenth century. As a family, Louis-Claude and Claude-Emmanuelle Desvignes cultivate their 11 acres artistically with Morgon vintage cross stitch vines. A five hectare plot, on the Douby Zone at the Voute Saint Vincent, produces a fruity and voluptuous Morgon and another five hectares in two other Côte du Py locations, give a renowned and highly structured Morgon with aniseed flavours. At Javanières, the ground, made up from residues of blue stone and with heavier clays, gives a finer, lengthier, seductive wine. The “sous cuvée”, made from old vines, Les Impénitents, just 4,000 numbered bottles bearing the very chic label with a black sheep, is a must. The Mouton Rothschild equivalent of the Beaujolais. One of the most expensive as well! Visits by appointment. Tel.: +33 (0)4 74 04 23 35 www.louis-claude-desvignes.com
Marie Gros is a baker and Ludovic an artisan wine grower, all in ultra-organic, pure all the way. A Bourguignonne farm, a little hard to find, you have to deserve it, but... just the smell of bread from your youth, sourdough bread made from antique wheat varieties, tender, milled on a granite millstone and cooked in a wood burning oven which crackles! Tasting a Beaujolais-Village Selaborated with conscience and respect, what a pleasure. Ludovic’s modesty hides a great wine maker, an oenologist who loves, should you allow him enough time, to share the simple pleasure of what the earth has to offer, sharing wine and bread. Bread and wine themed activities, meals, themed-evenings in the Gabrielle cellar. Visits by appointment. Route de Tallebarde. Route de la Tallebarde Blaceret 69460 Blace Tel: +33 (0)4 74 60 52 13
Château Monconseil. Originally called “Mauconseil”, Emperor Charlemagne is thought to have stayed at the château and held counsel to determine the fate of the Sarasin prisoners. It turned out to be good counsel as the prisoners were graced and the château was renamed “Mon conseil”. The château became a wine estate in 1834 under the direction of the Baudet family, which passed the baton down from father to son, from Joseph to Michel and Sebastian today. The château produces vintages in Première Côtes de Blaye and wines in the three colours. A red, to put down, coarse with a ruby colour, vanilla and spicy notes. A white, luminous sauvignon with yellow-green highlights, full bodied with zesty aromas. The rosé, an intense pink, supple and bright with flavours of rose and pepper. The baby of Monconseil, the 2003 vintage blend, was produced to celebrate the seventh generation of the Baudet family, Lise. The label is her creation. The 2007 vintage, won the silver medal at the “Feminalises” competition in 2011, and marks the birth of Rose, their second daughter. Visits and tastings by appointment during the week. Open Day in March in partnership with the winemakers of the “Soif de Vin et de Savoir” association. Very convivial! www.chateaumonconseil.com
The writer François Mauriac’s former residence is much more than an estate surrounded by vineyards. It is a place of memory, which lives on and breeds life into his written words and spirit. In the XVIth century, the château was the fiefdom of Saint-Macaire’s nobility. Thanks to a donation, it was returned to the ownership of the Celestine monks of Verdelais. In 1843, it was bought by Jean Mauriac, great grandfather to the writer François Mauriac. Under his direction, the estate, with château and vineyards, grew its agricultural and winemaking activities.
A family house that François Mauriac inherited in 1927. A writer’s home, it inspired his novels a lot. Today, the Château de Malagar belongs to the Regional Council of Aquitaine. They created the "François Mauriac Centre" and organise high level cultural festivals, of which the "Malagar Harvests". Guided tours of the house and museum, gardens open to the public. www.malagar.aquitaine.fr The "Colline inspirée" still owns vineyards and a vintage.
Château Loudenne is a place that is full of inspiration and charm with a grand nineteenth century Chartreuse house, with outbuildings that house the Museum of Vine and Wine Tool craft. Named the Pink Château after its colour and rosaries; its park runs along the estuary down to the private port with a beautiful view of the Gironde. The estate, which is owned by Florence Lafragette, who grew up in the Médoc region, encompasses 132 hectares of vines and produces red, white and rosé wine: Château Loudenne Médoc cru bourgeois, Château Loudenne Bordeaux blanc, and the “Pink”, an astonishing rosé. A new addition, the Trois rives de Loudenne, a wine that blends the land’s Graves with the softness of the sea and the estuary. Visits and tastings by appointment as well as oenology workshops, grape-picking and horse rides. Bed & Breakfast at the Château. 183 Loudenne 33340 Saint-Yzans-de-Médoc www.lafragette.com
The last descendant of Alfred de Musset captures the beauty of wine making and produces Bordeaux wines in appellation Saint Macaire that are a eulogy to the land. The residence and the estate of the Marquis Jacques Charles de Musset are as wonderful a discovery as his wines. Surrounded by a vast park filled with rose bushes and vineyards, the residence, with its wine store and outbuildings, is an invitation to the tasting of fine foods and wines. Its Château Fayard Côte de Bordeaux Saint-Macaire wine, a blend of semillion and sauvignon grapes with a touch of muscadelle, is regularly shortlisted by the leading wine guides. This dry white wine with a clear, pale yellow colour, is supple on the palate, elegant and gently wooded, bringing up aromas of citrus fruits, wrapped in vanilla. Visits and tastings by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 56 63 33 81
This grand building was constructed in the 18th century and owned by Jean François de Pontet, a royal governor of the Médoc region. Guy Tesseron took control of the estate in 1975 and today, with his son Alfred and nieces Mélanie and Philippine, the passionate family tends to the 81 hectares plot. The vineyard is made up of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot varietals.
Today more than 40% of the land is worked exclusively with horses, and 100% of the land is cultivated using biodynamic practices as the estate has dual certifications in both the Biodyvin and Ecocert methods.
Jean-Michel Comme, régisseur of the domaine, likens the estate’s viticulture practice an a human adventure and intellectual practice in where they monitor the growth of the vines as they would raising a child, with much attention and care.
Two vintages, the Château Pontet Canet (a fifth Grand Cru Classé) and a second wine, Hauts de Pontet-Canet, are available to purchase upon a visit to the estate. Guests can tour the estate's historic cellar, modern facilities or explore the vineyards in electric cars. The land is often recognizable as the vineyard was featured in the wine-picking scenes from Robin Davis’ 1983 film “J’ai épousé une ombre,” starring Nathalie Baye and Francis Huster. 33 250 Pauillac, France. www.pontet-canet.com
She calls herself a workwoman, coming from vine labouring stock, but in fact Claire Naudin – mother of three boys – graduated in agronomy and oenology. All the poetry, the knowledge and affection she gives her Hautes-Côtes de Nuits is hidden behind her modesty. A great wine maker firmly set on her soil. Claire took over the estate from her parents in 1994 and has since left her mark through a craftswoman’s approach, using the true principles of sustainable culture. 22 hectares, of which 80% are in regional appellations. Emotive wines such as Le Clou 34, an exuberant white wine, or La Boisson des Tontons, a Passetoutgrain Burgundy - a wine for buddies - are amongst her red, rosé and white wines. Don’t hesitate to visit her website, the story of her small vine in the Echézeaux is a small novel. Tel: +33 3 80 62 91 50. www.naudin-ferrand.com
A splendid manor house overlooking woods and vines. Claire Gazeau Montrasi and her Italian husband, Fabio are trained architects. In 2005, Claire decided to take over the Montrasi-Varambon family estate and to focus on the vineyard. They run the business following organic principles, working six hectares of enclosed vineyards and only putting the wine in tuns and casks. Bichette, Pierrefolle and the Clos Varambon, the three AOC Pouilly-Fuissé blends are full of elegance and delicately express the fruit. The Clos Varambon is essentially a feast wine! A real wine makers work, coupled with a poetic mind to make refined wines – like themselves! Tel: +33 3 85 32 90 18 http://chateaurontets.com
An initiation and a fascinating break at the heart of fine Burgundy wines. The Maison d’Olivier, an eighteenth century building in Pouilly-Montrachet offers glass by the wine and local fare in a fun, welcoming, convivial setting. Praise goes out to Olivier, the trilby wearing, dynamic wine maker. We grant him the prize for high class wine tourism. The programme is such fun: strolls in vineyards, visits to cellars, oenological workshops, tastings. His restaurant is a ‘must’ visit. Meals are served accompanied by tastings of the best vintages, throughout which the wine waiter explains the history and heritage of the wines on offer. A Meursault, Casse Tête, complex and well bred, which is grown on complex stony soil. The discovery of the Pernaud Vergelesse, a Grand Cru Corton Charlemagne, complex and mineral. A vineyard planted by the Emperor Charlemagne in 775, later be given to the Saulieu Abbey. The monks were happy and so are we! Tel.: +33 3 80 21 95 27 www.olivier-leflaive.com
Daniel, a winemaker and oenologist, is a knowledgeable and passionate man. He is passionate about the Vieux Chateau’s vines, which have existed for eight centuries. He is passionate about traditional wine making methods already established in the sixteenth century. It was in the eighteenth century that his ancestor, Etienne-Paul du Jour de la Croix de Faix, decided to set up his business in the footsteps of the Pontigny monks through whom the Chablis appellation was born. 26 hectares of Chardonnay on the steep slopes of the south east hills, produce marvellous vintages such as two Chablis blends from old and very old vines, three Chablis first growth and two Chablis Grand Cru. The Chablis Grand Cru Grenouilles 2003, produced from old vines, is a wine full of sensuality, rich, round with a very delicate nose. It can accompany crayfish and caviar without any problem. Tel.: +33 3 86 42 42 05 www.chablisdefaix.com
Seven generations of passionate wine makers, an aristocracy, in the best sense of the term, of whom Virginie Taupenot Merme, the sister, and Romain Taupenot, the brother, are deserving descendants. Very active, as well as assuming the presidency of a society entitled ‘Women and Burgundy Wines’, Virginie travels the world over to promote their wine. Romain is in charge of the vinification. He believes that wine quality is improved by the use of organic viticulture practices. The entire vineyard is organically farmed. The 13 hectares of vineyard are in the best climates between Côte de Beaune and Côte de Nuits. Some Grand Cru en Chambertin, Premiers Crus of Nuits Saint Georges, Chambolle-Musigny, Auxey-Duresses, some white Saint Romain in Villages appellation, all from the vines above Meursault, not forgetting the Bourgogne Passetoutgrain and the Aligoté. Wines which have elegance in common, and top every wine specialist magazine’s ‘best of’ lists. Visits by appointment. Tel.: + 33 3 80 34 35 24
Influenced by sixteenth century Italian architecture, this dwelling, surrounded by outbuildings and a box-tree garden, has been a family run, winemaking property for several generations. With a mutual passion for winemaking, Amaury and Aurore Devillard have followed in their ancestor, the Marquis of Jouennes’ footsteps. The estate’s 37 hectares of vineyards planted with pinot noir vine plants, 15 of which are planted on strips in First Growth Mercurey. The 2010 vintage is a full bodied wine bursting with primary aromas. The Château Chamirey Premier Cru, La Mission 2007, full and rich with a yellowy golden robe, woody nose, offers surprising fresh butter and white flower notes. The 2007 Les Ruelles Premier Cru blend, has a velvety garnet robe with spicy hints and underlying tones of dark fruit. The same family also owns the Domaine des Perdix in Nuits Saint-Georges and the Domaine de la Ferté in Givry. 71640 Mercurey www.domaines-devillard.com
The medieval city, perched high up, is one of the jewels of southern Burgundy. The feudal castle dates back to 944. It looks like an eagle’s nest, behind its three precincts. Between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, the powerful warlords of Josserand de Brancion, rivals of Cluny, were at the same time crusaders and looters.
The Roman chapel. A masterpiece of late roman architecture, it is decorated with murals from the end of the thirteenth century. The market hall is from the fifteenth XV century. Further down, in the fields, one can see the remains of menhirs, which seem to have been used as boundary stones. 71700 Martailly-lès-Brancion. www.chateau-de-brancion.com
On the Eternal Hill, above Vézelay, the basilica dominates the vineyards and seems to watch over them. The visitor is overwhelmed by the exceptional quality of the Burgundy Roman architecture from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, with its magnificent proportions, the delicacy of its sculptures and its light. Guided tours.
Tel.: +33 3 86 33 39 50. Worth noting: The Musical Meetings at Vézelay in August . www.vezelaytourisme.com
Domaine A. and P. de Villaine. Aubert and Pamela de Villaine’s estate, to be found in the heart of the village, is run by Pierre de Benoist from the prestigious Romanée Conti estate. Pierre, as a true poetical artist of the vine, is a reference and living reminder of Burgundy traditions. Handpicked from the Bouzeron, Rully and Mercurey vines, the grapes are placed whole into the presses to preserve their freshness and aroma. A special tribute to the Burgundy Côte Chalonnaise, La Fortune, a wine from young vines both tender and fruity. A Rully, Les Saints Jacques, fine and subtle and a Mercurey, Les Montots, deep, ruby red, full bodied, which only reveals its true aroma after 5 to 7 years, a wine to put down. 2, rue de la Fontaine. 71150 Bouzeron www.de-villaine.com
And what a place! There is happiness in the vineyards and well-being is in the château. Michel’s daughter, Francine, an epicurean and aesthete has achieved an irreproachable atmosphere and Burgundy lifestyle within the châteaux’ walls. She is happy to recall that her grandfather, Louis Félix was a mere home distiller and wine merchant, driving a Peugeot tricycle, (the machine stands proudly at the entrance of the estate). From only two hectares of vineyard, the Maison Picard, founded in 1951, has progressed to 135 hectares, of which 100 are in Côte Chalonnaise en Mercurey, Mercurey first growth and Rully. The remainder is to be found in Côte de Beaune, St-Aubin, Puligny-Chassagne and a little Corton. Dream appelations, one of which a first growth Chassagne-Montrachet, Les Chaumées 2009, a flagship of the estate. Wine and heritage, the magnificent eleventh and fourteenth century vaulted cellars are candle lit. The tasting table offers wines from the château along with local produce. Strolls around the vineyards to discover its climate are also organised. Wine and art, Francine is forever thinking up new wine tourism and artistic ideas to make one’s stay at the château the most enjoyable. Designer furniture is to be found in the bedrooms and drawing rooms throughout the château, whilst the walls are covered with temporary exhibitions of contemporary artists. Tel: +33 3 80 21 98 57 www.michelpicard.com
This enclosed vineyard is the surviving one in Auxerre, an urban vineyard dating back to the Middle Ages. It was mentioned in the will of the Bishop Saint Vigile in the seventh century as being part of the Abbey of Saint-Germain’s estate, this vineyard is part and parcel of the town’s identity and is an important part of local heritage, the listing of which has helped in its conservation. This domain over five to eight hectares, of which four are classified AOC Bourgogne, belongs to the Hospital nowadays. Tel.: + 33 3 86 94 38 00
Three generations of champagne producers have been passionately cultivating their family vineyards ; 12 hectares cared for by hand. You will be warmly greeted and enjoy an excellent price for quality. 88 Rue d'Eguishem, 51 160 Hautvillers - France. Tell: 03 26 59 40 57 www.champagne.g.tribaut.com
As incredible as it may seem «C comme Champagne» is the one and only champagne bar as such in the the wole area! Each week, Frédéric Dricot selects various types of champagnes from small local producers you may taste. A good and well thought-out selection is available along with a technical description for each, enabling interesting and pleasant champagne discoveries. Champagne tasted and explained with passion. 8 rue Grambetta, 51200 Epernay. Tel.: 03 26 32 09 55 www.c-comme.fr
It is a charming experience to lay your eyes on these exquisite winding vineyards whose beauty is enhanced by «cadolles», the wineproducers’ tiny traditional stone sheds. Riceys represents the alliance of three little towns all stonewalled with a total of 3 churches, 6 chapels, 2 castles and 7 stone washtubs, all classified monuments! Three different Controlled Designation of Origin products for this area among which the famous Rosé des Riceys. From this legendary wine emanates a bouquet of wild flowers as well as violet and hazelnut, highly appreciated by Louis XIVth himself. A royal court wine particularly rare, as only 80 000 bottles are produced per year.
Created as early as back in the 17th century, Champagne Guy de Forez, a family run house combines the traditional with the more modern characterisitcs for the production of its champagnes and wines. Route de Tonnerre. 10340, Les Riceys. www.guydeforez-riceys.com
Morize, Father and Son, Riceys pink champagne, still wines and XIth century Cistercian cellars visits, www.champagnemorize.com
The town’s best address: Joseph Perrier champagne producer selected by the Royal Court of Great Britain. The wonderful chalky cellars are actually located at ground level and not underground. This great champagne producer is still traditionally run by the family. The special vintage especially ordered by the Queen for Prince Charles’ wedding is even still produced. 69 Avenue de Paris, 3151016 Châlons-en-Champagne www.joseph-perrier.com
This perfume craftsman has been creating unusual fragrances since 1851. An incredible method enables them to capture the sea spray, quite literally! You just need to smell “l’eau de la mer”, “l’eau de la garigue” or still “l’eau des calanques” to be transported by your sense of smell to the Mediterranean landscapes. A fragrant tasting session that resonates nicely with the aromas of the wines. 8 rue Saint-Clair; Tel.: +33 4 13 23 00 19. www.leaudecassis.com
Both a landscaping and spiritual jewel.. this garden is like no other. In memory of a former alchemist who lived here, it is a vegetal maize retraces the fundamental steps of the discovery quest of alchemy. Following the Black work and the White work, comes the Red work.. magic is operating amongst the ravishing roses and the fragrance of flowers. Tel: +33 4 90 90 67 67. www.jardin-alchimiste.com.
This landscaping masterpiece, by Gilles Clément, is a round the world of plants. Arborescent ferns, cycads and bamboo groves, yuccas reveals the incredible diversity of the flora in the regions with Mediterranean type climate. An exceptional moment. Tel.: 04 98 04 44 00. www.domainedurayol.org
A spectacular sound and light show has been developed inside these old quarries dedicated to the artists. The theme changes each year. After having been renovated, the site opens in 2012 with a show entitled “Gauguin, Van Gogh, painters of colour”. A unique and original moment, full of beauty. www.carrieres-lumieres.com
Le musée installé dans les bâtiments de l’évêché, le palais Berbie avec la cathédrale Sainte Cécile et les jardins surplombant le Tarn forment un ensemble remarquable qui a été classé au patrimoine de l’UNESCO www.mairie-albi.fr
The fortress stands tall on a rocky spur, with the town at its feet. The castle belonged to the Baux family, Princes of Orange in the XIIth century. At the Renaissance and up until the XVIIIth century, it becomes a stately home. Heiress to the estate from the La Baume-Suze family, the Marquise of Bryas donates it to a foundation. Classified historical monument in 1964, it was acquired by the Drôme Region. Restored and upgraded, the château has been home to the University of Wine since 1978. An institution whose sole purpose is to train students into wine professionals. Visits of the château and themed events for wine enthusiasts. Château open to the public. Tel : +33 75 04 81 44. www.universite-du-vin.com
There are four medallions on the facade, framed by two caryatids describing the vine and the olive tree. Eugène Raspail’s family, himself the nephew of the illustrious politician Raspail, is engrained at the heart of this magnificent property surrounded by a park and vines. This is one of the high places in the history of Gigondas wine and Christian and François Meffre have been perpetuating the tradition since 1979 with a line of great wines including the flagship 2009 vintage Château Raspail 2009, gold medallist at Orange. The Meffre family also own the Château Saint-Jean, formerly owned by the lords of Sérignan that produces Côtes-du-Rhône Village Plan de Dieu wines to be discovered. www.chateauraspail.com
The XVth century château is set at the top of a vast hill at the heart of the Vivarais. Pablo and Florence Estrader, the owners, Dante and Fleur, their big dogs and also the horses, are all here to welcome you to the château. Never ending space, pure nature, horses, dogs.. it’s a nice place to be. Surrounded by villages with magnificent vintages, Saint-Péray and Cornas, the place is in tune. The Ardèche is at its chicest at Besset. The old silkworm nursery has been turned into just a few supremely comfortable and modern designed suites by Florence. There is nothing there to cloud the view or your mind. No tv, no shouts, no pastries, nothing ostentatious, ideal for blasé citizens, hungry for simplicity and serenity. Table d’hôte, swimming pool and unlimited walks. Tel.: 04 75 58 26 51. www.chateaudubesset.com
One of the winechictravel team’s favourite spots, the Rasteau cellar was awarded the National Wine Tourism prize in 2011. This cellar is not just a wine library with tastings and a shop selling the Rasteau wines under the Ortas brand but most importantly it is a vast 150 square metre venue for Art, Wine and hospitality. Elegant contemporary architecture with stone, wood, light that creates the perfect atmosphere for visitors to tasting rather than drink, admire rather than see. We should highlight a specialty: the Rasteau Signature, a sweet 100% black grenache natural wine, matured in old oak barrels with accents of cocoa and spices, fresh and the Paul-Emile blend. Welcoming, interactive and dynamic under the direction of Martine Boulard, the cellar showcases contemporary art works and nice objects linked to wine. She organises a number of events and workshops and you can find the programme on www.rasteau.com Route des Princes d’Orange. Tel.: 04 90 10 90 14. www.rasteau.com
A look of a gentle rockstar with his guitar, Yves, from the Alsace, met Mathilde, from Vienna, and they settled in Condrieu. A nice story to remember as Mathilde is no longer with us. What remains is the fruit of their work, which lives on through Yves. In 1980, Yves and Mathilde start with just a few plots of Condrieu. Whilst keeping to micro estates of 6 hectares in Côte Rôtie and 5 in Condrieu, they simply produce the very best. Both 2010 vintages, the Barbarine, where the syrah expresses itself with a touch of pepper and clove and the Sereine Noire where the Viognier becomes smoky, caramel and salted butter, are full of wonderful surprises. The labels for the wines are made by Pierre, Yves’ brother. A cheer for the artists! Visits and tastings. Tel.: 04 74 59 57 04.
Jeremy Revel, a little genius, started with just 10 euros in his pocket. Today, he is the celebrated best young chef and on first name terms with the star chefs. His cuisine, just sophisticated enough, explodes with flavours of heirloom flowers and vegetables in a young and relaxed setting. Jérémy suggests two menus to choose from “For my grandmother” and “For my grandfather”. We raise our glasses of Condrieu to the memory of his grandparents whose dishes have been revisited and jazzed up. 14 rue Henri Jacquier. Tel.: +33 4 74 78 01 43 www.leverreenlair.com
The name rings like a promise, a taste of paradise. Well it’s a promise kept! The shop « Vignes en Vers » poeticises wine, and is an invitation to discovery, tasting, feeling. Each activity, with or around wine, is orchestrated by Marie-Josée Faure and Katia Vernet. A necessary twosome with so many good ideas. Les Sens’Ciel is a meeting crossroads. For the wines, a selection from local organic producers and also from the « Femme Vignes Rhône » group of producers. For the food, local dishes served by the plateful are perfect to accompany a glass of Cotes du Rhône. For the entertainment, you’ll always find a musical or literary evening starting at 8pm. Do take a look at their website to find out more. 17 rue Gabrielle Faure. Tel.: 04 75 07 60 99. www.vin-et-sens.com
Rive droite du Rhône, le site s’étend sur plusieurs hectares. On y découvre une cité romaine qui date des 1er et 3° siècles de notre ère. Mise à jour en 1967, elle révèle des voies romaines et de riches villas dont les célèbres «Maison des Dieux Océans et la maison aux 5 mosaïques». Un vaste musée, tout de verre et de lumière, est venu s’ajouter en 1996 pour abriter les précieuses collections et mosaïques. www.musees-gallo-romains.com
Sur les hauteurs de Saint-Restitut, on découvre un site grandiose, unique, creusé dans la roche crayeuse. Un berceau naturel que Laurent Clapier a investi en 2012 pour coucher ses vins. L’esprit du lieu est en harmonie avec sa philosophie. Le vaste espace naturellement séquencé est un lieu d’accueil, de dégustation, de moment festif avec des expositions d’art et un musée de la vigne. Les Caves Cathédrales sacralisent les vins. www.caves-cathedrales.fr
We liked Laurent Clapier’s approach, an artisan wine maker and independent artist. This wine grower is a designer of emotions. 52 hectares of vineyards in AOP Grignan-les-Adhémar and organically certified wine from start to finish. Each step, from the cultivation of the vine, the harvest, to the vinification, is completed by hand. His tenderness for the grapes certainly comes through in his wines. From the simple Vin de France Issade (la binette), 100% chardonnay to the Mogel selection (le tracteur), with an accent on the fruit, in Grignan-les-Adhémar appelation, each one of his blends is a great nectar you’ll enjoy discovering.www.mas-theo.fr
Valérie Sénéclauze welcomes her guests as a true lady of the manor, elegantly and without any fuss. This XVth century house with its chapel and tower overlooking the Rhône Valley has a few guest rooms and a guesthouse. Accommodation but also a table ! A vegetable garden, a mushroom farm, an orchard, donkeys, goats, chickens and rabbits, just like a tale from Prévert! Valérie botanises, cultivates aromatic herbs, picks pulmonaria and violet, milks her goats to make soap, picks the seeds from the acacia flowers to make syrup, bakes bread, and cooks to delight her city guests. Preserves and jams from fruit and flowers, spring nettle soup, dandelion flower tart and shitake mushroom vine leaves are all on the menu for a rural feast. Homemade fresh produce can be bought at the shop and courses are organised at château. Volan is the perfect base from which to discover the Regional Natural Park of the Pilat. Tel.: 04 74 87 11 79. www.chateaudevolan.fr
This charming medieval village, typical of the Ardèche region, has restored, in the traditional style, its terraces “courants sur les coteaux” . This remarkable work was done by passionate volunteers and has enabled the replanting of 2500 square metres of vines that now flourish in the five grapes varieties. The rural capital thus preserved and the village’s soul thus restored, the first harvest took place in September 2011. We await the next vatful! Fun and interactive, a footpath to help the public interpret the vines has been inaugurated. The starting point is on Place de la Mairie. Information at the Tourism Office. Tel.: 04 75 06 61 19.
Yves Cuilleron doesn’t need our endorsement but we’ll give it to him anyway ! Lyséras, Lombard, Saint-Pierre blends for the Saint-Joseph, Les Chaillets, La Petite Côte, Vertiges in Condrieu, Terres Sombres, Madinière in Côte Rôtie and then the Cornas, Saint Péray wines… We won’t list them all. In 1987, Yves Cuilleron started with three hectares of vines and now owns over fifty. In partnership with fellow winegrowers he opened a bistro and rehabilitates old vineyards in Seyssuel for the Vin de Vienne. We wait for more! When it comes to sustainable winegrowing, Yves refuses to do “mindless”. He doesn’t do “ready to wear” either. Each vintage is treated to a made to measure vinification. Aside from his AOCs, his collection of Vin de Pays from the Rhodanian hills in marsanne, viognier and syrah grapes is to die for. Highly exclusive, the Bourasseau blend in Condrieu, Saint-Joseph and Côte Rôtie, “High Fashion” wines dressed with labels signed by the artist Robert Bourasseau.www.cuilleron.com
Avec le restaurant de Fernan Frandi, on prend de la hauteur ! Originaire de Thonon, Fernan nous offre le meilleur de sa région dans une cuisine réalisée avec des produits de grande qualité. Le filet et caviar de féra fumé du pêcheur James Bérod, mais aussi les fromages de chez Boujon affineur, le safran de Marin, les légumes de la ferme de Langin. On a apprécié la déclinaison des tartares et la belle salle avec terrasse et vue panoramique sur le lac, ce qui ne gâte rien. 17 boulevard de la Corniche. Tel : 04 50 26 45 29.
This 6-hectare vineyard located in the heart of Brion St Innocent, has been awarded several accolades, no doubt because of it's passionate vigneron, Xavier Jacqueline. Jacqueline uses a double fermentation process to make his Chardonnay, resulting in warm aromas of brioche and fresh white flowers. In the summer, the vineyard hosts exhibitions and tastings, accompanied by musical guests in their courtyard. 7 chemin de Saint Sigismond. Tel : 06 74 49 57 05
Patrice Jacquin, Edmond's son, is a busy man as he is mayor of the village of Jongieux. In his spare time he continues the legacy of his late father, Edmond, by continuing to produce elegant grand crus, unique to this part of Savoie. Some barrel ageing is done on occasions, but most of the wines are kept in modern tanks. The excellent Marestel cru, has aromas of brioche and honey rich, a full-bodied mouth feel, and good aging potential. Other Jongieux wines include the domaine's specialty the Marc de Savoie, which is still aged in oak barrels. Tel 04 79 44 02 35 www.edmondjacquin.com
The Castle is surrounded by mountains and overlooks a valley in the heart of the Seyssel countryside. Originally built for the Pelly family, who were a part of the Royal Court of Geneva, the castle remains beautifully preserved and rich with historic charm. Guests will love touring the five round towers, chapel, moat and drawbridge. Take breakfast in the grand guard room or a dip in the pool while enjoying the majestic view. 761 Route de Châtel. Tel 09 54 58 83 31 gite.pelly.free.fr
This small, winding road is 400 meters long along the vineyards of the Seillonnaz region. Scattered among the vines one can see traditional "grangeons," old stone huts that were historically used in Bugey as wine cellars, resting places for vignerons and even as gathering places for festivities during the harvest. The three terroirs of Bugey are Montagnieu, Cerdon and Manicle, which grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. The vines in this region are planted on a terrain made of calcareous white clay soil.
Margaret of Austria, widow of Philibert le Beau Duke of Savoy, ordered the monastery to be built to accommodate the royal tombs, including her late husband. The best artists from all over Europe contributed to its construction in the early Sixteenth century resulting in a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. Today, temporary exhibitions, cultural events and private receptions enrich tours of the Royal Monastery. Tel 04 74 22 83 83 www.monuments-nationaux.fr
A discreet village perched up high, hiding a real treasure, which is the museum of the sculptor Zadkine, holding many of the master’s pieces. He had a house in the village. In the chapel one can admire his masterly Christ on the cross and a moving Piéta. 46250 Les Arques Tel.: +33 (0)5 65 22 83 37
Château Chambert is spectacular. The entrance through the grand boxwood drive up to the château is magnificent and shows off the vineyards on the gentle rolling hills stretching as far as you can see over the Causse. The first vineyards can be traced back to the eleventh century. The fortified house dating from the sixteenth and seventeenth century was remodelled in the eighteenth century and has been completely restored since. The 80 hectare estate was bought in 2007 by a young investor by the name of Philippe Lejeune. The master of his wine store, Stéphane Derenoncourt, works the vines with the precision of an English nurse. His expertise, the good sense of the past combined with today’s technology results in great blends and the making of great wines, such as the Chambert 100% Malbec, the Château Chambert (a historic wine) and the range of Chambert gourmands. A specialty, the Rogomme, an oak-aged cooked wine. Les Hauts Coteaux. 46700 FLORESSAS - France. www.chambert.com
In the twelfth century, the Commanderie was part of a network of hospitals set up by the Crusader Gaston IV. A hospice for monks and poor people and a place to stop for pilgrims on their way to Compostella. The monks would clear and cultivate the vines and produce a brew to provide comfort to their visitors. Architecturally speaking, this outstanding building, which has now been restored, has gone back to welcoming and looking after pilgrims and travellers. The hall of the old Commanderie provides a magnificent setting for modern art events. Other high level cultural events are organised in partnership with the County Council. The cemetery, adjacent to the garden, is a treasure trove for old and rare thirteenth century discoid stella. The Roman church, dedicated to Saint-Blaise, with sculpted capitals showing biblical scenes, is remarkable. Open to visitors. www.vins-jurancon.fr
The perfect equation! Our three colours can be found at the Domaine de Souch: red for our “crush”, pink for the woman and green for organic. This estate is an absolute must-see! We fell for Yvonne Hegoburu, a great lady of wine that planted her vineyard at the age of 60 and who has continued for the last 20 years to work on her vines with tenderness to make wine that is sheer happiness. Yvonne is respected by all the winemakers of the Béarn region and those further afield. She is also renowned in Japan. Her three Patous dogs, white as the snow, her golden blend and herself were stars on Japanese TV, a great endorsement for Jurançon wines. Vines that are certified organic and biodynamic produce some exceptional wines: wines whose plain description would be to be straight and naturally generous. Yvonne has maliciously baptised her latest creation “The Undocumented”. An Undocumented that took root on the estate. A bright and joyous wine, “outside of the formal administrative framework but with a wine of France label”, she adds. One had to have the courage to dare! These AOC Jurançon wines are already on the tables of all the grand restaurants at the Plaza Athénée or the George V, it would be so trendy if the chefs and wine waiters could also house the “Undocumented” under the beams of their palaces. Visits and tastings by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 59 06 27 22. firstname.lastname@example.org
Martial Guiette bought two 42 hectare vineyards in 2007. Passionate, Martial works on subtle blends to create three vintages with biblical designations. The Wedding Wines, the Sangui Christi 100% Malbec aged in casks with fine flavours of black fruits and vanilla; and the Graal Sanctus, born from the best plots of land, with fruity wooden flavours, with fleshy flavours of mocha, a great wine. Cahors www.lesroquesdecana.com
Situated in the old Episcopal Palace from the Concordat and built in the neoclassical style. Its curator, Laurent Guillaut, has turned it into a dynamic and constantly evolving cultural space, which attracts high level artistic events showcasing contemporary artists from the Lot region since 1845. Temporary exhibitions increase the standing of the galleries devoted to important archeological collections, fine arts and to the regional works of the painter Henri Martin, 792 rue Emile Zola, Cahors - France. Tél.: +33 (0)5 65 20 88 66 www.mairie-cahors.fr/musee
All the ceramics and tiles that adorn the bathrooms and living rooms of the nice 1950s/1960s villas have to be signed by Cazaux. You can still find a few old pieces in antique shops. For three generations, the Cazaux family has devoted itself to the art of ceramic and to creation. Joël, the son, has taken over the business and creates new basins, vases, large compositions with inimitable combinations of colours, the secret of which he holds from his father. Works of art. 10 rue Broquedis. Tel.: +33 5 59 22 36 03. Visit of the workshop by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 59 23 15 01 www.cazauxbiarritz.com Visite de l’atelier sur RV. Tel.: 05 59 23 15 01
Le superbe château avec tours et murs d’enceinte se dresse sur une petite colline au milieu du vignoble. La bâtisse date du XIIIe et XVe siècle et fut le château de la branche cadette des Toulouse-Lautrec puis de la famille d’Hautpoul. Complètement restauré et modernisé avec sculptures et oeuvres d’art il a été transformé en un hôtel plein de charme et s’accompagne d’un restaurant étoilé. Géré pas sa propriétaire Katie le Net, Salettes est une belle halte paisible au milieu des vignes.
Le restaurant est le domaine du chef Pascal Auger, un macaron au Michelin. Carottes de Vieux, vinaigre de Mauzac, foie gras de canard de l’Isle sur Tarn… Dans son menu Mauzac ou Toulouse-Lautrec on retrouve le vrai goût des choses. La petite betterave avec épinards fanés, carottes de Vieux et pousses d’oseille, le foie gras accompagné de gariguette relèvent d’une alchimie bien composée, comme une partition. Pascal est un artiste !
A l’époque de Charlemagne c’était un petit fortin en bois avec un gué et une chapelle. On dit, que du temps des Capétiens Charles le Chauve se serait réfugié là. Entre l’ancienne voie romaine et le Tarn, la belle demeure en brique avec chai et dépendances, apparaît au bout d’une allée de platanes. «Un domaine depuis Toujours»! Son propriétaire depuis des décennies, Hubert de Faramond est la mémoire des vins de Gaillac. Un vigneron haut en couleur qui a le vin du Coq au cœur. Lastours, les tours en occitan, avec 50 hectares plantés sur des terres graveleuses, produit de superbes AOC Gaillac maintes fois médaillées. La cuvée Les Graviers, un rosé élaboré avec du duras et de la syrah ainsi que la cuvée spéciale vielles vignes en production limitées souple, aux arômes de fruits secs et légèrement grillés, entrent dans la catégorie des grands Gaillac. On a un petit coup de cœur pour Le Rosé des Sables en méthode ancestrale. Rose bonbon avec un goût de framboise acidulée et de belles bulles, il est à croquer!. www.chateau-lastours-gaillac.com
Les Plageoles sont les maîtres vignerons des Très Cantous et du Gaillac. Au départ, il y a le grand père Robert, la bibliothèque des cépages de Gaillac, le génial ampélographe qui a ressuscité les cépages autochtones, oubliés. L’ondenc blanc, le mauzac roux, gris et rose. Le prunelart, un côt à queue rouge, cultivé depuis le XVe siècle et le verdanel disparu depuis des siècles. Bernard a pris la relève en travaillant les 21 hectares de vignoble à l’ancienne. Il passe la charrue entre les pieds de vignes et met le vin en cuve de béton. Florent et Romain suivent le chemin tracé par leurs pères et ont mis le vignoble en bio. Michel Bras le grand chef de Laguiole aime venir au domaine au temps des vendanges. C’est la réunion de grands Gaillac avec la gastronomie www.vins-plageoles.com
Posée sur les berges du Tarn, labellisée « Grands Sites de Midi Pyrénées » Moissac est une étape majeure sur le chemin de Compostelle. Une ville à visiter absolument. La rue des Arts, bordée d’ateliers de souffleurs de verre et de créateurs d’art, rend la flânerie encore plus agréable. Sur les berges ballades à vélo et à pied et pendant la saison estivale « Moissac Plage » se met en place avec des activités nautiques.
L’art Roman dans toute sa splendeur, Moissac est un musée à ciel ouvert, un fabuleux héritage du Moyen Age.
L’abbaye et le cloître. Achevé au début du XIIe siècle le cloître offre des galeries ponctuées de 78 colonnes aux chapiteaux finement sculptés représentatifs de l’imaginaire religieux de l’époque. On retrouve sur certains éléments décoratifs des références à la vigne et au vin. Sur le portail le célèbre tympan, classé au patrimoine de l’UNESCO, représente la vision du Christ de l’Apocalypse de Saint Jean. Le portail a servi de décor au film « le Nom de la Rose » de Jean-Jacques Annaud. Visites guidées et commentées.
Madiran had a monastery, a church and vineyards as early as the eleventh century. The monk Sancius from the family of the counts of Bigorre brought Benedictine monks from the Lot region. The church and the priory, once linked to the cloister, stand in the heart of the village as emblematic buildings.
Sainte Marie de Madiran Church. The inhabitants of Madiran also call it Our Lady of Vines. During the Wars of Religion, the church was burnt down upon the order of Jeanne d’Albret, a protestant and the mother of Henri IV. The statue of the Virgin Mary was found intact, a miracle! The priory’s church, a listed historical monument, has been restored. In Roman style, the unique nave and the Corinthian capitals with vegetable themes are outstanding. The crypt was constructed over the remnants of a gallo-roman temple dedicated to Jupiter.
In the XVIIth century farm, Jean-Louis Coster is the last keeper of vines. Jean-Louis has two loves in his life, ceps and sheep. Both complement each other so well and him too! The “Manex” breed of sheep gives the very best AOC Issou Iraty cheese. His Irouléguy wine is full of character and tenderness. He likes to say that “tannât grapes are like a Basque, rustic with a big heart”, the comparison rings very true. When you take a walk through his vineyard steeped on a hillside, don’t be surprised to find white sheep’s fleece grazing under the trees among the rows of vines. There are two hundred sheep in vineyard and their compost aerates the ground and feeds it. Everything is natural for a real, straight wine! Ten years of listening to his vines and vinifying, Jean-Louis has made the wine he had dreamt of. First class wines with blends in the three colours, a small production that connoisseurs fight over every year. Each vintage is practically a sell-out, the dry white especially. Visits, tastings by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 59 37 93 70
generous Lebanese dishes prepared in the greatest tradition. Pretty much everything is on the menu, from fattouch to grilled meats, not forgetting tabbouleh, kebbe and other delicious mezze with very attentive service. The cherry on top is the stunning view over the town and the valley. Restaurant Abou Zeid, Dhour Zahlé, +961 8 822 020.
For all those that have only one wish to immerse themselves in Lebanese gastronomy, Chez Charles - where they serve sashimi, entrecote, pizzas and even snails from Bourgogne - might not be the best place to go. The restaurant has become such a classic in its own genre that it is booked out every evening! It’s secret? The best produce and a warm Lebanese welcome from the affable owner who never tires of pleasing his patrons. Chez Charles, rue Brazil, Zahlé, Bekaa, +961 8 823 564.
Two families, the Gantous and the Abou Raad, started this beautiful estate in 1893, however their produce didn’t hit the market until 1947. The Wardys then purchased an equity stake in 1971 before taking the whole estate over in 1996. Nowadays, the Wardy estate focuses on its Arak, its seven red wines, its four whites and its rosé. A very nice and complete range, which is best savoured in the beautiful vaulted cellar in Zahlé, sitting comfortably on the deep cushions on offer. Take of note of the estate’s brand new monovarietal wine: a cabernet sauvignon with shades of chocolate, spices and pepper, softly rounded on the palate. Domaine Wardy, Zahle, Industrial City, P.O.Box 105, Bekaa – Lebanon, + 961 8 930141 – 930142 – 930143, www.domaine-wardy.com
With 80 years of expertise to rest upon, the Musar estate is the linchpin of Lebanese vineyards that has never stopped producing wine, even during the war. A permanence that has also allowed the region’s wines to carve a niche for themselves at the international level. Although the winegrowing landscape in Lebanon today is very different from what it once was and vineyards are developing at a rapid rate, the affect is continuing its work thanks to the great classics of the Musar estate. Of particular note is its appellation of the same name, the 2003 blend (cabernet, cinsault and carignan): a nice wine to put down, generous on the palate. A true reflection of the estate. Château Musar SAL, Baroudy street, Sopenco bldg, B.P.: 281 Achrafieh, Beirut, Tel.: +961 1 201828, www.chateaumusar.com.lb