Château Bouscaut. In 1953, having been awarded many medals, the château de Bouscaut wines, much appreciated by the actor Louis Jouvet, and singers such as Maurice Chevalier and Gilbert Bécaud, are awarded the distinction of Cru Classés de Graves in both red and white wines. In 1972, Lucien Lurton acquired the property, already owner of a dozen Grands Crus. Nowadays, it is his daughter, Sophie Lurton who looks over the château, a highly renowned estate, to which she brings both renovation and innovation. The restructuration of the vineyard enabled the planting of merlot and cabernet sauvignon vine plants for elegant blends. Vines over a hundred years old are at the heart of the white Bouscaut made up of half sémillon and half sauvignon. A good example of a wine to put down, which, with its distinct aroma, expresses opulence. The new, futuristic looking, vats, the circular vat, the wooden wine store and cement vat-house, together with the eighteenth century charter house form an amazing set up! Just like the wines! Visits by appointment. Tel.: +33 5 57 83 12 26 www.chateau-bouscaut.com
Château de Mongenan. The château was built in 1736 for the Parliamentary president of Guyana, Baron Antoine de Gascq. A learned man, close to the philosopher Montesquieu and the Duke of Richelieu, whose botanic master was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The furniture and the interior decoration remain as they were at the time of the Revolution. Visit of the museum dedicated to the archives of the Century of Lights and the gardens, which were attributed the label of ‘Outstanding Gardens’. www.chateaudemongenan.com
Château Lagueloup. Situated at the place ‘where there is water’, is dedicated to wine and viticulture. Built under the Second Empire, made up of old buildings, the façade was rebuilt in the nineteenth century; the estate is now run by Florence Mothe. The wine store is 1750 sq.m. for 600 hectares of vines, it is here that the different blends are vinified, amongst which are the Château de Mongenan and of Lagueloup in AOC Graves and Bordeaux. The wine and vine museum has gathered together all the implements for the cultivation and cooperage indicated in the encyclopedia of Diderot and Montalembert. Tel.: +33 5 56 67 18 11 www.chateaulagueloup.com
Maison des Vins de Graves. The Wine library holds over 200 references to Graves vintages. The Maison des vins offers wine tasting courses and discovery of Graves wines. Workshops and exhibitions, together with a complete programme for wine-tourism and cultural holidays in the area, can be looked up on their website . 61 cours du Maréchal Foch. Tel.: +33 5 56 27 09 25 www.vins-graves.com
Maison Lillet.The distillery, founded in 1887 by the Lillet brothers, is part of Bordeaux heritage. The famous cocktail with a wine base and fruit liqueur, a favourite of the late Duchess of Windsor, was also mentioned in the Casino Royal film. The fact that James Bond asked for a Kina Lillet Martini cocktail instead of Bollinger champagne gave unsolicited publicity and set the old cocktail back on its tracks. The museum explains the production process and displays posters and collectors’ items. Tel.: +33 5 56 27 41 41. www.lillet.com
Château Chavat’s park. The park was landscaped in the twentieth century over five hectares of the Chavat estate. Situated on the banks of the Garonne river, the park stands out by the number and quality of its statues and its water ways. Open to the public every day from 8:30 to 18:30.
The Château d’Eau. Built under the supervision of the architect Le Corbusier and dedicated to water, the château appears as a fancy bird cage beside the park.
Brasserie des Vignes. Simple fare and wine by the glass for a lunch-time break. 77 bis cours maréchal Foch. Tel.: +33 5 56 27 31 55
Sauternes is gold to the Bordeaux vineyards, a sweet, syrupy AOC, classified in 1855 with the prestigious Château d’Yquem as the only Superior First Growth. Forty kilometers from Bordeaux, between the left bank of the river Garonne and the Landes Forest, lies Sauternes territory – 2,200 hectares marked here and there by the Ciron river. The cool waters of this little river build up a morning mist, which encourages a noble spore called “botrytis cinérea”. The grape crystallizes; its pulp fills up with sugar. They are then “roasted” and develop aromas of crystallized fruit. The harvest is made with over-ripe grapes, what is known in the trade as a late harvest.
The sémillon is the main vine plant, with its fine and sensitive grapes, bring suppleness, depth and sweetness. The sauvignon variety of grape adds freshness and aroma with hints of Muscadelle when blends give it added complexity. The appellation covers the parishes of Sauternes, Bommes, Fargues, Preignac and Barsac.
Château Dudon. Since the beginning of the twentieth century, the château, a large charter house with eighteenth century wine stores, has been handed down from mother to daughter and wife. Julia, Marthe, Renée, Jacqueline and now Evelyne Allien, who is at the head of the 11 hectare estate. For over 250 years, the vineyard has been walled in and no weed killer has ever been used. Evelyne’s wine is produces from organic grapes certified “Ecocert”, as she follows the same natural and ecological ancestral methods. Château Dudon is a fine wine a Sauternes and the Le Galllien is a Grand Vin de Sauterne. The 2008 vintage has a golden, transparent robe, with floral and fruity tones, which is confirmed in the mouth by a hint of pineapple. Visits every day and also oenological weekends. Tel.: +33 5 56 27 29 38 www.chateau-dudon.fr
Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey. A former eighteenth century barony, the enclosed vineyard is the smallest of the Sauternes classified first growths. 12 hectares, of which one borders the Château d’Yquem vines. Martine Langlais-Pauly has been brought up in the ways of the vine and viticulture since early childhood by her parents. She keeps that passion alive and combines it with her love for the country. A trained psychiatrist, she studied oenology and took over the running of the estate in 2002, helped by eminent advisors. A vineyard for which she has great expectations. Martine gives a new drive to the Bommes fine wines that come from the hill tops. Her AOC Sauternes is written up in the professional wine press as “a dense wine, long and pure, of the utmost modernity, with a noble rot of anthology”. Visits in the company of the cellar master and wine tasting that can be accompanied by a meal upon request. Tel.: +33 5 56 76 61 53. www.closhautpeyraguey.com
Château La Tour Blanche. In the dawn of the twentieth century, Daniel Iffia, the then owner of this prestigious domain “First of the First growths in Sauternes appellation” decided to leave the estate to the state under the condition that it was turned into a school of wine and vinification. In 1909, the Ministry for Agriculture became the owner of the estate and built the school of Viticulture and oenology called the White Tower (La Tour Blanche). The school is equipped with ultra modern equipment whilst maintaining its traditional character. It is run by a team of highly qualified professionals whose aim is to make great vintages over a range of four blends in both red and white wine. Guided tours all year round, including the vineyards, wine store and tastings. An educational trail round the Sauternes region is also available. Tel.: +33 5 57 98 02 73 www.tour-blanche.com
Château de Malle. This seventeenth century manor house is made up of a double façade both classical and renaissance, of Florentine gardens, a rock garden theatre and terraced gardens, which descend sharply to the vineyards and the river Ciron below. Built at the beginning of the seventeenth century by Jacques de Malle, classified historical monument, the estate has remained in the same family ever since. An estate, which straddles two appellations, that of AOC Graves and Sauternes. The syrupy wines of Malle were giving Imperial ranking in 1855. The last descendant, Pierre de Bourmazel remains a well-known figure in Bordeaux wine circles. He was president of the ‘Crus Classés’ association and, in 1959, he created the Order of Bontemps of Sauternes and Barsac. His widow, Countess de Bourmazel continues his work with her two sons. The château produces three good wines: the Château de Malle Sauternes Grand Cru, the Château de Cardaillan, a red Grave wine, and the M de Malle a dry white Graves wine. The château, wine store and gardens are open to visitors. Tel.: +33 5 40 16 32 30 www.chateau-de-malle.fr
Château Suduiraut. The wine from this château is a classified Sauternes First Growth. In the seventeenth century, Count Blaise de Suduiraut rebuilt the estate, which had been devastated by the Frondes wars and added a garden designed by Le Nôtre. The estate, the château with its outbuildings and a 90 hectare vineyard today belong to the insurance company AXA. The vine plant that is king here is the Semillon, which is easily attacked by the necessary spore, blended with a small quantity of sauvignon to elaborate the wines typical of the estate. The grapes, harvested in November, produce sweet, thoroughbred, coarse wines with golden robes and violet aromas. www.suduiraut.com
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
Château Lamothe Despujols. A family-run business of only seven hectares, the origins and foundations of which go back to the Merovingian times. Built in the sixteenth century this fortress is in the shape of a huge rectangle, which takes its form from huge dikes ordered as battlements and lined by tall cedars and fir trees. On the crest of a hill, the vineyards dominate the Ciron valley. Vigorous old vines planted with rustic sémillon, property of Guy and Marie France Despujols. Tel.: +33 5 56 76 67 89 www.lamothe-despujols.com
Château Filhot. Built in 1709 by Romain de Filhot, this important magistrate from Bordeaux imposed the use of the term Sauternes as opposed to the former ‘wine from Langon’ for the liqueur wines in the region. The line of descendants – the Lur-Saluces family – remodeled the château according to the taste of the eighteenth century, in neo-classical style surrounded by a magnificent English style park. The present owner, last in the line of this illustrious family, Count Henry de Vaucelles has run the wine making estate since 1974. 62 hectares planted in traditional Semillon, with a smaller plot set aside for sauvignon and muscadelle for blending. Aligning tradition and modernity, Henri de Vaucelles commissioned the fashion designer Kenzo to create a new haute couture label for his 2005 vintage. A limited edition, light and golden, like his wine, is presented in a gift box. Visits from Monday to Friday. Tel.: +33 5 56 76 61 09 www.filhot.com
Château Roquetaillade. Between Langon and Bazas, the château is classified historical monument as soon as the twelfth and fourteenth centuries. It is a unique example of feudal architecture. The Emperor Charlemagne, on his way to the Pyrenees mountains, in the company of his faithful Roland,undertook the construction of the initial fortifications. In 1306, the Cardinal de la Mothe added a second military fortress and Seigneurial residence. During the Renaissance, behind its austere façade, the château is adorned in true Renaissance style. Restored in the eighteenth century by Viollet le Duc, the interior design is very rich. It remains in private ownership and has done so for 700 years, but is open to the public who can view. Not just an agricultural farm and viticulture business, the estate also contains a metairie, wine store, twelfth century dovecot and the Chapel of Saint-Michael, as well as a very well presented museum, which is dedicated to rural activity and lordship life in Bazas. The château has served as a backdrop for many films, for instance Fantômas starring Jean Marais and Louis de Funès and The Pact of Wolves starring Vincent Cassel and Jean Yanne. The visit takes about one hour. Tel.: +33 5 56 76 14 16 www.chateauroquetaillade.free.fr
Claude Darroze Restaurant. A name, which carries a lot of weight in the world of gastronomy, Darroze’s restaurant was set up in a former post house to celebrate local cooking. Dishes which firmly show the chef’s gascon heritage but which Claude brings up to date depending on the products available and his own inspiration. A well stocked cellar with Bordeaux wines and Armagnac. In between a visit to a Grand Cru Pessac-Léognan châteaux and Langon itself, his restaurant is THE gastronomic stop to make in the area. 95, cour du general Leclerc. Tel.: +33 5 56 63 00 48 www.darroze.com
On the route to Compostella and that of the cruisaders to Aigues-Mortes, the gascon city is over 25 centuries old and mixes the temporal and the religious. A former Episcopal seat, the cathedral Saint Jean-Baptiste is a classified World Heritage site by UNESCO – a splendid gothic fourteenth century monument. The Bishops of Bazas succeed one another from the fifth century up until the Revolution. In 1096, Pope Urbain II on his way to Toulouse stops at Bazas to preach the first crusade. Behind the chapter, at Gisquet’s Gate, the high battlements scroll around terraced gardens of which the Sultan’s and the Rose.
Cathedral square. A vast square lined with arcades, behind which sit town houses and nobles homes, which has not changed much since the thirteenth century.
A market takes place on the square every Saturday morning. Very lively with local producers and craftsmen.
Bazas beef. An institution, the Bazas breed, with its beautiful grey/silver coat, is considered one of the tastiest meats. Every year, in March, there is a “Fat Beef” festival, with weighing, displays of livestock across the City, competitions, evening events and meals. High in colour and in taste.
Bazas Tourism Office: www.ville-bazas.fr
Les Remparts. An ideal spot near the cathedral to rest at the edge of the battlements and take in the magnificent view over the valley. David Chassagne’s food is a tribute to local produce. He has worked in Monaco, then at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz, Laurent in Paris and Darroze in Langon, and has now come back to his home town, Bazas, to show off and share his talent. He serves Bazas beef red label, white asparagus from Lagardère, lamprey from the Garonne, sheep’s cheese from the shepherd in Cameillac – only the best will do ! 49, place de la Cathédrale Tel.: +33 5 56 25 95 24