JC in France May - June 2018 | Day 7
An early start this morning as we have a 1h30 drive to reach the top of the Medoc in the village of St Estephe. We are all expected at one of the superstar Chateau of the Appellation – Château Calon Ségur (3eme Cru). Sold recently to an insurance Group (Suravenir Assurances), they are in the final stages of renovated the entire property (from vineyard to winery to finish with the Chateau and its surroundings). This is truly a beautiful site and in keeping with the Medoc grand scale prestige.
We tasted the range of Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend style wines from the ever so popular Chateau Capbern to the 'grand vin' Chateau Calon Segur (a heart remains on the wine's label). They are generous, powerful and tannic when young and then develop a beautiful harmonious mouthfeel with a bit of time. The state of the art winery made all of us completely overwhelmed, a must see!
From there we drove South to the Appellation of Margaux - we did so by the 'Route des Chateaux" passing by in our mini van in the front of the biggest names of the Medoc, Chateau Cos d'Estournel, Lafite Rothschild, Mouton Rothschild, Pichon Baron Longueville, Pichon Lalande and Palmer (and many more) before we arrived at our destination - Château du Tertre/Giscours (5eme and 3eme Cru). This is one of my favourite places because it’s beautiful and underrated but also because they are wonderful people (privately owned)! We had a long tasting (different vintages of both Chateaux from 2017 to 2001) after the visit and just before we ate lunch with Laure (the communication manager) in the 'orangerie' of Chateau du Tertre. We were treated like royalty! A beautiful and very exclusive venue (check out the photos), great food and stunning wines! An experience to remember for ever!
It was very hard to move on from such luxury and comfort! I had to move the troupes out of here before they start to get seriously into the cellar! The rest of the afternoon was spent to look around especially on the banks of the Gironde Estuary which is very impressive and pretty mighty.
As we had just finished our digestion of the lunch, we arrived at another Appellation of the Medoc – St Julien (also called 'the perfect gentleman claret'!). We were invited to Château Branaire-Ducru (also privately owned) for a visit followed by a tasting and then again and exclusive dinner in the Chateau! Are we lucky or what? Everything was just was just amazing - the range of wines (watch out for their second label Duluc de Branaire, not as expensive as the Grand Vin but still offering a good and honest reflection of the Appellation). We were invited by Jean-Dominique Videau (the Chateau's manager) inside the Chateau where we started in the salon with a flute of Champagne and canapés, then moved to the grand dining room for a full on dinner with wines dating back to the vintage 2003 (surprisingly fresh!). Our host made sure that the atmosphere was relaxed and fun. Again it had the WOW factor on us all. Although the drive was long and late back to our 'own' Chateau, no one was sleepy and plenty and plenty of laughs were had. A Armagnac Delord was served before going to bed – this was just for digestion and set us up for the following day! - JC
Lunch at Chateau du Tertre
Chateau Branaire Ducru