We’re in Graves, another change of scene. Graves means “gravel” and it’s no surprise where the name comes from when you see the region’s soil and pebbles! We reach Château de Cérons at midday in time for a local picnic! We get a warm welcome from the owners Xavier and Caroline… and their dogs! The couple give us a tour of the winery. An impressive 17th century charterhouse built on a terrace overlooking the Garonne. As we wander through the vines, Xavier tells us about the importance of the soil and origin of Graves. “Graves are little pebbles that come from the Pyrenees and washed up here when the river flooded. They lock in heat then pass it onto the vines which makes Graves wine so characteristic.” “The picnic’s ready, we’ve set you up with a picnic blanket in the grounds but just let us know if you’d prefer a table. Take your time and stay as long as you like, you’re at home here.” It’s time to continue our journey by the Garonne via Podensac (and its famous Lillet) and lastly, Portets…
We’re in the prestigious Pessac-Léognan appellation. We can almost touch the atmosphere of the city and our destination: Bordeaux. But first of all we’re making the most of our break to experience château life one last time! “Let’s stop at Château de la Brède, Charles-Louis de Secondat’s castle! “ – “Whose castle?” – “Montesquieu” – “… Monty’s queue? I’m joking! We stroll the grounds and gaze at the château that’s reflected by the moats as we try to remember our history lessons! For our last stop, we decide to visit Château Smith Haut Lafitte. We’re greeted by a fabulous giant bronze rabbit leaping through the air! Behind it lie the vines and famous château. I’d heard it was beautiful but I must admit I was blown away by the stunning and sprawling partly-buried cellar with its row of barrels and the château seal on the wall! We visit the Forêt des 5 Sens, a contemporary land art trail showcasing work by the Cathiard family who own the estate. We end in the “tisanerie” where our guide tells us the vineyard is converting to biodynamic farming, a completely natural way of growing vines. “The tisanerie is simply where we store plants that we’ll use to make 100% natural treatment products.”
Now we’re back where we started, Bordeaux. The two week break has been exactly what we needed: peace and quiet, beautiful surroundings, great people and amazing wine. Noémie is sorting through her photos and drawings. The doorbell rings, it’s the wine we bought from the châteaux. A great way to start off my wine collection. I think we’re going to be happy here.
Did you miss the start? Say it isn’t so! EPISODE 3 / EPISODES 1 AND 2
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