Martillac, Water Castles

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Les Sources de Caudalie. A whole way of life amidst the vines. It is THE estate for well-being, the good and the beautiful. Wine therapy, hotel, restaurant, wine and vineyard discovery, all at the Smith-Haut-Lafitte château. A first class destination to be discovered absolutely… Alice and Jerome Tourbier were awarded the highest distinction for their contribution as pioneers of wine tourism in France.

The Caudalie Spa. For over ten years now the spa brings together the virtues of natural hot spring water combined with extracts of vine and grapes. Perfectly set in the landscape, the buildings in wood and stone remind one of old tobacco drying sheds and look out on to the vineyards. The beauty treatments are wine-based and divine!

L’Ile aux Oiseaux. The newest suite, overlooking the water, is a replica of the wooden huts on stilts typical of Arcachon, although updated by the famous interior designers from the Maison Martin Margiela. Tradition meets modernity.

La Table du Lavoir. The country Inn of the Sources de Caudalie offers a wine-maker’s menu with regional dishes and of course Graves wine by the glass. Tel.: +33 5 57 83 83 83

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Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte. The perfect combination of water and wine with its wine estate Grand Cru Graves classé and the Caudalie Springs. The family estate’s vineyards are around the château, just a few steps away. It was in the eighteenth century that the Scotsman George Smith undertook the winemaking development of the estate and started exporting the wine to England. Smith-Haut-Laffite thus acquired a good reputation. Daniel Cathiard, an elite sportsman, and his wife Florence, fell in love with this prestigious estate and its subterranean wine stores. They acquired it in 1990 to make ‘marvelous local wines’ of which a Graves Grand Cru Classé AOC Pessac-Léognan. The vineyards, which crown the property, are dotted with works of art. A hare by the sculptor Barry Flanagan runs in between the vines, the Venus by Jim Dine emerges above the leaves. The Man by Mimmo Paladino takes pride of place in the courtyard. Visits every day by appointment with tasting, discovery of the vats, the subterranean wine store, the cooperage, the Orangery and the “Paradis” a cellar where the vintages are preserved. Tel.: +33 5 57 83 11 22

Access to Art of Wine

Domaine de la Solitude. The estate belonging to the nuns of the Holy Family is made up of a long tree-lined driveway, conventional buildings, a hermitage, a bell tower and paths between the vines. Established in 1830 by Father Pierre Bienvenu Noailles, the development of the wine making business only caught on in the twentieth century. The nuns, aware of the capital the 32 hectares of wines in Graves country represented, asked Olivier Bernard of the Chevalerie estate to oversee their vineyards in 1993. “A great wine is born from a great grape”. Bernard brings his knowledge, experience, working in harmony with the estate and its soil, always faithful to the spirit of the Solitude wine. On some plots, he has introduced horse and mule drawn ploughing. The fruit of his work is an AOC Pessac-Léognan in 2010 red ‘primeur’, which draws on nice mineral tones, with a fleshy texture and heavy notes of fruit. The white, on the other hand, is cloaked in honey-sweet aromas, fatty and fresh, full of charm.

Visits and tastings from Monday to Friday Tel.: +33 5 56 72 74 74

Château Latour-Martillac. The château’s name came from the tower adorning the central courtyard of a small fort dating back to the twelfth century and built by an ancestor of Montesquieu. The estate, renowned for its white wines, took the fancy of a wine merchant from Bordeaux, Alfred Kressmann who took over the ownership of the estate in 1929 and proudly presented his 1934 vintage to the table at King George V of England’s coronation, what an endorsement! His grandsons, Loïc and Tristan, carried on with the tradition and ensured quality came before quantity. Hand picked harvesting and only the best grapes are selected for the Graves Grands Crus classé. The Lagrave-Martillac 2009 vintage has a good life ahead of it, made from young vines, offering a dark robe, silky on the palate. Visits by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 57 97 71 11