The Bordeaux wine region is not short of chateaux, but few (any?) combine in a visit a tour of a finely restored building, a wine tasting and chai visit with an encounter with the life and work of an artist who captured the spirit of his age so graphically. A good twenty members, Cambridge alumni and friends took part on this 23rd June – and we enjoyed a good lunch too. Marion and Nigel are due generous thanks for arranging this visit, which was also excellent value for money.
In the gallery below, see the amphora being used experimentally to mature the blend. The chateau produces red, white and rosé, now under the etiquette ‘Toulouse-Lautrec’, as it was the chateau of Henri’s mother, Adèle. See too Henri’s childhood drawing hidden behind a door and a reproduction showing his fondness for red-heads, presented by the chateau’s own redhead.
Our OUS SW France association has made a regular habit of chateau visits, characteristically to chateaux in vineyards. Such was our visit on 9th May to the British-owned Chateau Bauduc, notable as a supplier to top chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Rick Stein and (for those who know North Wales well) Bryan Webb, in whose restaurant members first encountered Bauduc.
It was not the best day for sunning ourselves amongst the vines, but we did note the black vines first planted in 1947 and the netting being tested to protect against the hail which often destroys substantial percentages of the annual production. The chai contains two sections for red and white, generating a substantial volume of production that seemed immense to your correspondant. Shipping to bottling requires an exercise of military precision.
The Chateau has its own website which tells the story of the Quinney’s successful venture and it was Angela who very kindly greeted us in their chateau-home for an extensive degustation of Crémant de Bordeaux, whites and reds.
Sensible planning by Nigel ensured that we were not late for lunch at la Table in Créon where we enjoyed an excellent menu around a single large table, as the photos display (other photos can be found at OUS Bauduc ).
One of the great benefits of our OUS branch is that it gives its members a chance to meet, and then keep up with, many whom we might never otherwise have encountered – and to do so in a friendly and enjoyable manner. At the last AGM it was suggested that individual members might wish to organize informal events in their neighbourhoods : for those living close by, of course, but also for any others who might wish to attend.
It is with this objective in mind that Jeremy James proposes meeting for lunch in the village of Laroque-Timbaut (Lot-et-Garonne), on Friday 26th May.
Last Friday we had the joy of hearing a top orchestra – the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse – at the magnificent Halle aux Grains in Toulouse; with Sibelius and Richard Strauss, two of my favourites, as well. If you haven’t been to an event there, do make an effort to do so = it’s a great venue and the acoustics are surprisingly good for a building which wasn’t purpose built. There’s a designer-type hotel literally next door, Les Bains Douches, on the site of the old Toulouse public baths I believe; it’s a bit bizarre but it has some secure parking and there are plenty of good restaurants close by (and the Irish pub if you like Guinness and boisterous patrons).
Marion writes: At “L’Abricotier” in Saint Macaire, we enjoyed an excellent three course lunch, really home-cooked too, for 23€. Very pleasant surroundings : and a quietly stylish service. The lower dining-room opens onto a pretty garden, and there is a large outside terrace for summer eating under the shade of mulberry trees. The owners-chef have been there for 30 years. Address : 3, Rue François Bergoeing (not a spelling mistake !), 33490 Saint Macaire (just off the main Langon – Cadillac road). It’s a good idea to book : 0556768363. Private car park.
We are delighted to inform clubs and associations that we are now conducting guided visits in English at the Chateau de la Mercerie.
Response from visitors so far is very enthusiastic about this Chateau which is being rescued by the hard work of the local community and a team of volunteers.
There are two guided visits every Tuesday afternoon from April to October, and larger groups are welcome by arrangement seven days a week all year round.
The Chateau is open every afternoon – except Saturday – from Easter to the end of October 2018.
This Chateau is one of the few attractions in Nouvelle Aquitaine to offer guided visits in English.
Please see the leaflet for more details, and do not hesitate to contact us if you require further information.