Sip and Sleep

Robb Report (USA) - - Time Well Spent -

WHEN IN BORDEAUX, a château stay is a must. More in­ti­mate than ho­tels, these fam­ily-run es­tates of­fer an in-depth ex­pe­ri­ence among the vines—not to men­tion a chance to

sam­ple the new­est vin­tages.


Perched on a hill­top in the heart of the Sauternes re­gion, this 400-year-old es­tate re­cently re­opened un­der the aus­pices of Swiss en­tre­pre­neur Sil­vio Denz with 13 rooms and suites and a gourmet restau­rant. The house grand crus are es­pe­cially palat­able thanks to Denz’s house col­lec­tion of Lalique glass­ware. lafau­rie peyraguey­ NAPA VAL­LEY THIS IS NOT. Though Bordeaux’s Borde leg­endary châteaux are in­creas­ingly rolling ro out the wel­come mat for vis­i­tors, many of o the re­gion’s most highly re­garded la­bels only open their doors for a se­lect few. En­ter Mary M Dar­denne, whose De­canter Tours (de­canter­ (de­can holds the key to tast­ings at elu­sive elus winer­ies like Châteaux La­tour and Lafite Roth­schild. Here, she takes us in­side Bordeaux’s Borde best.

How d do you de­ci­pher the dif­fer­ent crus? There are huge con­trasts in Bordeaux. Most vis­i­tors don’t re­al­ize that only five per­cent of the thou­sands of prop­er­ties in the re­gion are clas­si­fied as premium châteaux. The rest are at­tain­able, af­ford­able, and ac­ces­si­ble. Vis­i­tors


This coun­try­side château set among the cru vine­yards of the Smith Haut Lafitte wine es­tate is a beloved re­treat as much for its Caudalie spa (where you can soak in a grape­in­fused bar­rel bath) as for its Miche­lin two-star La Grand’Vigne (fea­tur­ing one of Bordeaux’s most ex­ten­sive wine lists).


The pri­vate res­i­dence of Cos d’Estournel is Bordeaux’s most ex­clu­sive rental prop­erty. De­signed by Jac­ques Gar­cia, it comes with six bed­rooms, two suites, a pri­vate ham­mam, a gym, in­door and out­door pools, and, of course, the best se­lec­tion of Cos d’Estournel vin­tages. of­ten re­mark that they are sur­prised at the di­ver­sity in Bordeaux—not only of the soils and grape va­ri­eties, but also of the wine styles, types of peo­ple, and châteaux.

What’s the best strat­egy for ex­pe­ri­enc­ing that large di­ver­sity?

We try to plan a mix of bling châteaux—like Pavie or Mou­ton [Roth­schild]—and fam­i­ly­owned châteaux. We also sug­gest vis­its [that] are ex­cep­tional and sur­pris­ing, like Lamothe Berg­eron, a château that most peo­ple may not have heard of but that of­fers a unique tour.

How do we get into the grand crus?

We have ac­cess to all the most fa­mous winer­ies, but I would cau­tion a word of ad­vice: Plan at least six months in ad­vance. Most of the top prop­er­ties are not in the tourism busi­ness and


This wel­com­ing 17th­cen­tury char­ter­house near Château Lynch-Bages in Pauil­lac has 28 sim­ple rooms over­look­ing its fa­mous vine­yards. Chef Julien Le­feb­vre runs the prop­erty’s Miche­lin-starred restau­rant, where the con­tem­po­rary cui­sine is de­signed to be en­joyed with the re­gion’s most fa­mous grand crus. re­lais­

Sun­set at Château LaFau­rie-Peyraguey

gen­er­ally only of­fer one or two vis­its per day.

Which winery is a must-see right now? Château Si­galas Rabaud, the small­est first clas­si­fied growth in Sauternes. It has a new ter­race where you can en­joy an aper­i­tif with views over the vines, and you’ll likely be wel­comed per­son­ally by a mem­ber of the fam­ily—per­haps even the Count of Si­galas him­self.

What are the best châteaux for a meal?

In the Me­doc, I like to have lunch at

Château Pi­chon Longueville Baron; it’s very ex­clu­sive and just what one ex­pects of a château ex­pe­ri­ence. We also of­fer a pic­nic on Satur­days at Château La Croizille in Saint-Émil­ion for a more in­for­mal ex­pe­ri­ence. The château is lo­cated on a hill­side with plung­ing views, and we have a pic­nic ta­ble amongst the vines.

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