Before joining the sea to the estuary, the arms of the Garonne and the Dordogne rivers wrap round the territory of the Entre-deux-Mers as if to embrace it. The vineyards, planted on clay-limestone soils, with alternating strata of marl and sandstone, produce white, rosé and red wines under the generic appellation of Bordeaux. The dominating grapes are the Merlot, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sémillion, Sauvignon and some Muscadelle. An appellation that is complemented by Premières Côtes de Bordeaux, Côtes de Bordeaux Saint Macaire and of the Entre-deux-Mers, as white wines only. A blend of sauvignon and sémillon for a rich and powerful wine, with a touch of muscadelle to add a musty note. Supple and bright, it uncovers notes of citrus fruits and white flowers. Not to forget three more localised appellations that produce sweet wines: Cadillac, Loupiac and Sainte Croix du Mont.
The Saint-James. In a quiet little village on the outskirts of Bordeaux, the originality of this Relais and Châteaux will surprise you. The architecture, inspired by the tradional tobacco kilns from the region, is signed Jean Nouvel.
Sat on the edge of the vines, elegant buildings in wood and glass let the light stream in. The cellar houses some exceptional wines. Grand Bordeaux vines are magnified by chef Michel Portos’ cuisine. During the summer months, when the tables are set on the terrace, one can enjoy a splendid view of the vineyards that are stepped on a gentle slope. 3 Place Camille Hostein. Tel.: +33 5 57 97 06 00
Château du Prince Noir. The château du Prince Noir is a platform for Jean Marie Amat’s culinary exploits. The talented chef has a traveling soul. Still, he hasn’t left the banks of the Garonne. After the Saint James, the Maison du Fleuve… he settled on the right bank in a historical XIVth century house and serves up modern and unique cuisine. A sleek decor and a refined menu that changes with the seasons, lobster, caviar from Aquitaine, scallops, mallard and pigeon. Only the very best ingredients served to his taste, which means with passion. Bookings only. Tel.: +33 5 56 06 12 52 www.jm-amat.com
Château Belrose Moncaillou. L’allée de cèdre conduit à une demeure dans le style bordelais du XIX° siècle qui s’entoure de vignobles. Claude et Carole Subra, avec 40 hectares de vignes en cépages merlot, cabernet sauvignon et cabernet franc, produisent du Bordeaux Supérieur, du Bordeaux Blanc et du Bordeaux Clairet. Fraîcheur et légèreté, leur Bordeaux Belrose Clairet a été récompensé par une médaille d’argent en 2010. Florian Subra accueille les visiteurs tous les jours pour une visite commentée du domaine avec dégustation dans la salle de réception. www.chateaubelrose-moncaillou.fr
Château Farizeau. La famille Broustera a une tradition de potier depuis le XVI°. Les Moreau quant à eux sont depuis des générations tonneliers et maîtres de chais. Les deux familles réunies par le mariage de Maxime Moreau avec Mademoiselle Broustera inaugurent une nouvelle activité: celle de vigneron. Aujourd’hui, André et Nicole Moreau exploitent le vignoble familial selon les techniques culturales. On y déguste Bordeaux rouge, Bordeaux Supérieur et un Château Farizeau en appellation Entre-deux-Mers, un blanc tout en rondeur aux arômes exotiques. www.chateau-farizeau.fr
Maison de la Poterie et de la Céramique. Une tradition à Sadirac depuis l’Antiquité. Crée autour des vestiges d’un ancien four, le musée présente une collection permanente de 200 vases et céramiques provenant des fouilles archéologiques menées sur la commune. Des expositions de céramiques contemporaines sont proposées au cours de l’année. Place Fouragnan. Tel.: 05 56 30 60 03 www.maisonpoteriesadirac.fr
Sauve-Majeure Abbey. Located on the road to Compostella, the Abbey was founded in 1079 by the Duke of Aquitaine: a Roman masterpiece on the fringe of Gothic, whose magnificent ruins are classified Unesco world heritage. Tel.: +33 5 56 23 01 55
Château Thieuley. In the region of tiles and clay soil, two sisters, engineers and oenologists, Marie and Sylvie Courselle, combine their talents to cultivate the vines on the estate. 80 hectares spread between three domains: Clos Saint Anne, Château Saint Genès and Château Thieuley. With the support of a whole team, Sylvie looks after the business side and Marie works on the vines and at the wine store to produce blended AOC Bordeaux and Entre-deux-Mers. The Francis Courselle blend, a fermented white wine from old vines, matures in new barrels following the Bourguignon method, expresses all the elegance of a wooded wine. The Réserve Francis Courselle red follows in the great tradition of Bordeaux wines, powerful yet fine. The 2008 vintage was awarded a gold medal at the Concours de Paris. Visits and tastings by appointment. The Château’s shop is open from Monday to Friday. www.thieuley.com
The estate is a member of the « Bordeaux oxygen » association, which brings together fifteen young and innovative wine makers. Wine makers who whilst producing great quality wines prove that one can reconcile tradition and modernity.
Château Sainte Marie. The Château Sainte-Marie estate lives and prospers under the patronage of the Sauve abbey. It has belonged to the Dupuch-Mondon family since 1956 , who works hard with its team to preserve the tipicity of their wines and the originality of the land. Vineyards on alios and carved stone cultivated according to the “Terra Vitis” method. The 2007 Alios vintage, a blended red wine with a purple colour, offers great aromatic complexity with grilled notes. The 2007 Madlys is a white wine with aromas of white flowers, peach and citrus fruits. Wines that are well liked. www.chateau-sainte-marie.com
Château de Langoiran. The mediaeval château of Langoiran is one of the most prestigious in the Aquitaine. It was at the heart of battles between the king of England and the king of France. A royal fortress at the end of the XVth century, it became the residence of the presidents of the Bordeaux parliament in the XVIth and XVIIth century. Perfectly restored, the château is open to visitors and offers accommodation on a self-catered and bed and breakfast basis. Tel.: +33 5 56 67 12 00
At the heart of the Entre-deux-Mers appelation, the village of Rions has kept its mediaeval charm with its fortified walls, lanes and old houses. The last remnant of the citadel, the tower planted on a rocky peak is testament to the status the city had as a defence outpost in the Middle-Ages.
There are about ten wine making estates in the district of Rions: Clos du Monastère du Broussey, Château Haut Rions, Château du Broustaret…
Château Cayla. Built in the XIXth century where an ancestral home used to sit, the château was the home of the scientist and archaeologist Pierre de Cayla. Patrick Doche has been running the wine making estate for about twenty years and produces wines in the Entre-deux-Mers appellation. Sale of wines at the estate.
Château Reynon. Denis Debourdieu, agronomist and oenologist, along with his wife Florence and their two sons, runs a number of estates in the Bordeaux region, including Château Reyon. Denis comes from a long line of Bordeaux wine makers and says he treats his vineyard like a “garden of vines”. The estate produces AOC Première Côtes de Bordeaux wines, the Bordeaux blanc vintage has garnered a good reputation. In the years favourable to noble rot, the estate produces a Cadillac in small quantities. According to the Guide des Meilleurs Vins de France, the Château Reynon sauvignon blanc 2009 vintage is fresh on the palate, a rich and generous white from aromas of ripe fruits. The château, whose origins go back to the XVth century, was restored in the neoclassical style. Visits of the estate by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 56 62 96 51. www.denisdubourdieu.fr
Château de Cadillac. The château was built in the heart of the city of Cadillac by order of the first Duke of Epernon, powerful cadet of Gascogny and a minion of King Henri III. Cadillac is one of the first and finest examples of XVIIth classical architecture. The elegance of the buildings laid around a vast interior courtyard complemented by a French landscaped garden is worth a visit. Tel.: +33 5 57 98 17 00
Château Loupiac Gaudiet. A stunning property that belonged to the Montesquieu family. Surrounded by vineyards, the estate overlooks the Garonne and adjoins the XII century Roman church of Loupiac. It now all belongs to Marc Ducau, who, with his nephew Daniel Sanfourche, runs the wine making estate. The specific location of the vineyards, benefiting from the morning mists and sun during the day, enables the growth of the precious noble rot. Harvests by hand, successive sorting from October to November and two years maturation for the production of a Loupiac wine; a golden coloured wine, unctuous. Fruity, much appreciated by amateurs of smooth wines that go perfectly with foie gras. Tours of the château and estate with tastings. www.chateau-loupiacgaudiet.com
Château de Ricaud. In the neoclassical style prized by Viollet le Duc, the château hides behind the tall trees as if it were from a fairytale. Its origins go back to the XVth century when Gaston de Foix, captain of Guyana, ennobled this property that belonged to a knight. The syrupy Loupiac wines are quite popular in the XIXth century, but fell out of fashion during the next century. In 1980, Alain Thiénot took ownership of the estate and gives it a new lease of life. A Renaissance! The Loupiac Château de Ricaud, a blend with 85% semillion and 15% sauvignon, harvested by hand with successive sorting and matured on sediment, can be compared to its illustrious neighbours from the Sauternes region. Visits by appointment. www.chateau-de-ricaud.com
Vincent Lacoste’s Château de Cranne and Château Venus. These two young wine growers have vineyards on either side of the Garonne. Their strong commitment to the promotion of the wines from their châteaux, fine AOC Loupiac and Graves following organic standards, is illustrated with a bridge that links both sides of the River. An initiative to follow. www.loupiac-primeur.fr
The city is known as the “small Saint-Emilion”. This venerable century that is over a thousand years old was founded in 977 and remains one of the four crossing points of the Garonne River on the road to Compostella. La Réole hides a few treasures.
Saint Peter’s Church. Built in the XIIth century.
The château de Quat’Sous. A paradox of History, construction of the castle started in the XIIIth century under Louise XIII, king of France, to provide a defence to English insurgencies. It was finished by Henri III of England to defend English Guyana! The mediaeval castle has lost a lot of its grandeur, even though the remains are still very impressive.
The Benedictine Priory. This splendid work from the XVIIIth century, classical and sober, is reminiscent of a castle in Spain. One will notice the presence of the Saint-Jacques shell on the walls and admire the magnificent artisan gates that close the square, the chapel and the priory, each of them masterpiece by a master metal smith, Blaise Charlut.
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.
Saint André du Bois
Château Malromé. The first trace of the Château and its vineyard goes back to the XVIth century, yet it is better known for having been the country retreat of the Countess Adèle de Toulouse-Lautrec, mother of the famous painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, in the XIXth century. Henri would often visit Malormé where he would rest and paint to his heart’s content. He passed away at the château on 9 September 1901. His furnished room in one of the tourets has been preserved in its original state with a few precious souvenirs. A XVIth century residence with roofs dressed with slate to which crenellations were added in the XIXth century in the style of Violet le Duc as well as a terrace on which his mother, the lady of the house, would entertain her guests and admire the landscape. The wine estate has 32 hectares of vineyards in appellation Bordeaux Supérieur and Bordeaux Blanc sec with a Bordeaux Saint Macaire to come shortly. Tastings by appointment only with Charles Traonoeuz. Tel.: +33 5 56 76 44 92. www.malrome.com
A place of pilgrimage, the village of Verdelais buried among foliage and vineyards holds a remarkable altarpiece with columns in the choir section of the Notre Dame basilica. One can also go and pay their respects to the famous artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec who is buried in the cemetery.
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