Tag Archives: Château Paloumey

More tourism from women in wine.

There was an interesting little historic view of the role of women in wine on the Bordeaux website recently.  It’s a topic I love to champion, as you’ll know if you follow this blog. And whilst on the subject, last week ‘Les Medocaines’ launched their new 2014 wine tourism products. These wine makers from the Medoc have been opening their doors to wine enthusiasts for a hands-on introduction to wines of the region since 2005.


Martine Cazeneuve of Chateau Paloumey and Armelle Cruze of Chateau Le Taillan join forces as Les Medocaines.

This year they are opening on Sundays to allow you to make the most of your weekends in Bordeaux. Start with breakfast at Chateau Paloumey  and a  walk through the vineyards to learn about the agriculture cycle of the vines. Then on to Chateau du Taillan to learn about wine making in the cellar followed by a picnic in the beautiful grounds of the chateau.

Picking at Paloumey

Picking at Paloumey


If you can’t get there in the summer, don’t despair as in the autumn they are running their traditional harvest workshops where you can set to with the secateurs and in the winter running their a blending workshop to see how the wines are made. Details from the Bordeaux Tourist Office.

Just as I started writing this, I learned the sad news that Christine Valette Pariente has left us after a long and brave battle with illness. She was at the head and the heart of Chateau Troplong Mondot, seeing her hard work rewarded with the elevation of the property to a First Classified Growth in 2006. Her sense of hospitality was reflected in the creation of les Belles Perdrix rooms and restaurant at the chateau.  My condolences and wishes go to her family at this difficult time.


Inspiration for your 2014 visit to Bordeaux.

 If you are planning a visit to Bordeaux this year, here are a few ideas I’ll be suggesting to visitors.  

Stay somewhere (very) different. I’m constantly suggesting lovely places to stay in and around Bordeaux on this blog but this year why not stay somewhere (very) different? I previously have posted about staying in tree houses and vats but if that is not cutting edge enough for you, try staying at Chateau La Romaningue in a bubble or even in a gypsy caravan.

Learn to cuisine like a chateau chef. More and more Chateaux are happy to open not just their cellar doors but also their kitchens where you can learn the secrets of Bordelais cuisine and food and wine matches at the source.  Chateau Phelan Segur in Saint Estèphe, Chateau Gruaud Larose in Saint Julien  and Chateau La Pointe in Pomerol all offer cooking classes and workshops followed by lunch to sample your success with a glass or two of the chateau wine. Lunch or dinner at Chateau La Lagune in their sumptuous kitchen is an opportunity to see Chef Catherine Negre at work. Check out some of the recipes here to whet your appetite or start practicing at home.

A table in the kitchens of Chateau La Lagune.

A table in the kitchens of Chateau La Lagune.

Shop ‘til you drop. More and more Chateaux have great shops, selling  not just wine and vinous paraphernalia but other cool gifts. In the Entre deux Mers, call in at Chateau Lestrille in Saint Germain du Puch to see owner Estelle Roumage’s eclectic selection of gifts and French specialities.

Shop at Chateau Lestrille

Shop at Chateau Lestrille

Just down the road in Grezillac at Chateau Ferret Lambert, Valerie Lambert has created a wonderful space showing various collectables and renovated French country furniture and bric à brac.

Look for treasures at Chateau Feret Lambert

Look for treasures at Chateau Feret Lambert

You if like you can even stay for lunch, dinner or even overnight in one of her guest rooms. Chateau Biac is opening its new tasting room this year on a unique oriental theme as befits the Lebanese owner Youmna Asseily.

Get off the beaten track. Have you noticed that a lot of the above recommendations are in the Entre deux Mers? That leads me to my next suggestion. Yes the classified growths of the Medoc, Saint Emilion and Graves will always be on visitors wish lists but try and find the time to visit the lesser known appellations of Bordeaux: the Saint Emilion Satellites, the Côtes and the Entre deux Mers. Here you will find the smaller family owned properties where the owners and wine makers will be on hand, often with bed and breakfast and table d’hôtes to add to the welcome.

A cellar lunch at Domaine de Claouset in the Entre deux Mers

A cellar lunch at Domaine de Claouset in the Entre deux Mers

Be a culture vulture. Bordeaux has some great museums and art galleries. If contemporary art is your thing, do not to miss the amazing Institut Culturel Bernard Magrez  created by the Chateau owner in the centre of Bordeaux. Many chateaux use the summer months to not just show their wines to visitors but also to show-case up and coming artists. Chateau Kirwan, Chateau Palmer, Chateau d’Arsac, Chateau Paloumey, La Tour Bessan and Lynch Bages are some of the properties that welcome artists to their cellars each year.

An art installation in the cellars of Chateau Kirwan

An art installation in the cellars of Chateau Kirwan

Learn how Bordeaux works. There’s more to Bordeaux than just the Chateaux,. To understand how the wine gets to Market, visit a negociant. Cordier, and Millesima both offer great visits to discover how the ‘Place de Bordeaux’ works and on the banks of the Dordogne, a visit to Le Chai au Quai can show you a hands on wine making experience.

Le Chai au Quai on the banks of the Dordogne

Le Chai au Quai on the banks of the Dordogne

See you there soon.


Come join the harvest

The Bordeaux harvest is under way, the dry whites are in and the reds are starting with the more precocious merlot. It is possible to join in the fun of the harvest in Bordeaux, even if you’re not feeling up to all the backbreaking work. For several years ‘Les Medocaines’ a group of 4 women wine makers have organised harvest days at their properties; Château Paloumey and du Taillan in the Haut Medoc, Château La Tour de Bessan in Margaux and Château Loudenne in Médoc .
Just sign up at the Bordeaux tourist office for one of their scheduled days and you will be whisked away to pick and sort in the morning and, after joining the harvesters for lunch, it’s off to learning how to make and blend the wine in the afternoon.

Grape selection at Château Paloumey

If you are happier observing from a safe distance but still want the atmosphere, from the 10-12 September Château Gruaud Larose, classified growth of Saint Julien, is also offering the possibility to join in the fun with their Harvest workshop days. These include a tasting of the different grape varieties during a visit of the property, a harvest lunch alongside the pickers and a tasting of the fermenting must in the afternoon. Along with the lunch at wine, that’s a start to finish tasting experience.
Or you can just turn up for a harvest lunch along side the real workers. Chateau Troplong Mondot, first growth of Saint Emilion, offers a wonderful harvest menu in the dining room next to the cellars along with 4 different wines from the property, as does Château Phelan Segur in Saint Estephe. Squeezed between top classified growths Cos d’Estournel and Montrose this family vineyard has one of the post spectacular locations overlooking the Gironde Estuary.

If you can’t decide and want someone to organise all the details for you, Decanter Tours is offering personalised Harvest tours to suit your mood. Book now before it’s all over.

Colours of wine and shades of beauty

You will know by now that ‘Women in Wine’ is one of my favourite themes – and there are more and more women making wine that really appeals to a wider audience. One of the dynamic groups of women wine makers in Bordeaux, and one of the first to launch joint wine tourism products, is ‘Les Medocaines’, a group of 4 wine makers and owners from the Medoc : Armelle Falcy-Cruze from Château Le Taillan, Martine Caseneuve from Château Paloumey, Marie-Laure Lurton from La Tour Besson and Florence Lafragette from Château Loudenne.

They organise regular joint events including days participating in the harvest, food and wine tastings, blending workshops, etc. As they work closely with the Bordeaux tourist office you can just hop on a bus and go explore their Medoc properties without giving a thought to driving home afterwards.
Two of them, Martine and Armelle, have now taken the feminine theme a step further with Palmoumey and Le Taillan organising wine and beauty workshops with local makeup artist Annie Lay. While sipping a glass of rosé guests will enjoy a make up class and then off to the cellars to discover the beauty of wine making with tasting from different terroirs of the properties and finally the beauty of serving wine with a special tasting about decanting and presenting wines.

Men are allowed but will be ushered off to the cellars for a blending workshop whilst the ladies sip their rosé.

Let’s hope Annie shares the secrets for disguising the damage the morning after !

Unusual vineyard pests

You may have heard of the oedemis butterflys that damage the vines and grapes but rabbits?

As we have had such a dry summer the rabbits are hungry and thirsty and in areas where the soils are light with sandy and gravel, such as the Southern Medoc, they are helping themselves to the harvest

Here’s the proof in the vines at Château Paloumey, Cru Bourgeois from Haut Medoc
And if you don’t believe it’s rabbits – well here’s more proof.

We can control oedemis by sexual confusion, anyone got any great ideas for the rabbits?

Visits with a difference or how to avoid barrel fatigue.

It has been said that after the third or forth château visit some visitors may suffer from barrel fatigue – after the same description of wine making and barrel ageing in each Château – but do not despair properties in Bordeaux have caught on and are offering visits with a difference.
One of the first to cotton on were ’Les Medocaines’ four women wine makers who have joined forces to offer visitors a different insight to the châteaux. They organise joint visits between the four properties of Château Paloumey, Château La Tour Bessan, Château La Loudenne and Château du Taillan. Themes vary from blending to food and wine workshops and even participating in the harvest for a day.
Four more women wine makers from Margaux (are we picking up a theme here?) have also got together again to ensure that they all offer visitors a different experience. The themes at each vary from Château Prieuré Lichine where you explore the history of the 1855 classification, Château Rauzan Gassies understanding the Margaux terroir, Château La Tour de Bessan grape varieties and blending and Château Kirwan the commercial organisation of Bordeaux.
All these tours can de booked through the Bordeaux Tourist board who will lay on the transport too so you can taste in peace.
Château Gruaud Larose is another of the many classified growths of the Medoc open to visitors and they offer specific visits for this season, on certain days either the cellar master M. Carmagnac or the agricultural manger M. Frederique will accompany visitors each explaining their expertise and role at the property. For more information contact Maisa Mansion at maisa.mansion@gruaud-larose.com
Make sure you book ahead.

The View from Château du Taillan – a taste of visits to come.

On the wings of a Dove.

Château Paloumey a cru bourgeois in the Haut Medoc that rare thing in Bordeaux, a property that has been completely reinvented.
Well established in the early 19th century Paloumey was a victim of Phyloxera and the economic crisis that led to it being uprooted and disappearing in the 1950s.
Never one to be afraid of a challenge , Martine Cazeneuve, purchased the house and land in 1989 and started from scratch; no vines, no cellars, no nothing!
The property is now over 30 ha in size all under sustainable agriculture and the signature dove can be found on the labels or capsules. Why a dove? A Palombe is the wild dove that migrates through the region to and from Spain and a Paloumey is the route the doves follow. Hence the name of the second wine ‘ Les Ailes de Paloumey’ the wings of a Dove.

Can you spot the dove?

Les Medocaines in WIT

Les Medocaines; Martine Cazeneuve (Château Paloumey), Marie-Laure Lurton (Château La Tour de Bessan), Armelle Falcy Cruse (Château du Taillan) and Florence Lafragette (Château Loudenne) have always been one step ahead with their idea of 4 different châteaux, all run by women, working together to promote not only their wines but wine tourism. They have created joint wine tastings, workshops and food and wine programmes that take enthusiasts from one property to another discovering everything from pruning to blending to food and wine matching with local specialties.
Once Again they have innovated but this time in packaging and selling their wines. Already available as a mixed case the wines are now presented as ‘WIT’. Wine in a tube. The test tube of wine, containing just enough for a generous glass is sealed with a screw cap to prevent oxidation. The gift set of the 4 wines is a perfect stocking filler.

Bordeaux women welcome the Napa women in Wine

Last January Napa Women in Wine invited their Bordeaux counterparts to discover the Napa Vineyard. This year was the return match.

From the 11th to 15th January, The 16 ladies from Napa travelled the length and breadth of Bordeaux from Pomerol to the Medoc, Saint Emilion to Sauternes and Pessac Leognan visint gproperties where women plys a major role either as wine makers, owners or managers. Included on the itinerary were Château La Lagune, Château la Tour Bessan, Château Margaux, Château kirwan, Château Paloumey, Château Franc Mayne, Château Teyssier, Château Troplong Mondot, Château Sigalas Rabaud, Château Yquem, Château Haut Bailly and Château de Seuil.
It was not just tourism; several conferences on themes including marketing, understanding Bordeaux, a presentation on the role of the negociant by Paz Espero and ‘Tasting Terroir’ by Nicole Croft.

The participants from both sides of the Atlantic were

From California 
Jane Ballentine – William Cole
Pavi Lawson – Pavi Wines
Heidi Barrett – La Sirena
Cherie Melka – Melka Wines
Sandy Blecher – Arns Family Winery Beth Milliken – Spottswood
Carissa Chappellet – Chappellet Winery
Mary Novak – Spottswood
Carolyn Duryea Smith – Hourglass Suzanne Pavitt – Phifer Pavitt Wines
Ursula Hermacinski – Screaming Eagle
Pam Starr – Crocker & Starr
Sharon Harris – AmiCellars
Pierette Titus – Titus Vineyards,
Erin Lail – LailVineyard
Michele Torres – Trincharo Family Vineyards

And from Bordeaux 
Sandrine Garbay, Wine Maker – Château d’Yquem- AOC Sauternes.
Laure Compeyrot, propriétaire – Château Sigalas Rabaud – AOC Sauternes.
Myriam Ruer, négociant propriétaire de Vinprod
Nicola Allison, propriétaire – Château du Seuil – AOC Graves
Griet Laviale, propriétaire & Laurence Ters, Wine Maker : Château Franc Mayne, AOC saint Emilion Château de Lussac, AOC Lussac Saint Emilion – Château Vieux Mallet – AOC Pomerol
Caroline Frey, propriétaire – Château La Lagune , AOC Haut-Médoc
Sophie Thierry, propriétaire – Château Kirwan, AOC Margaux
Martine Cazeneuve propriétaire & Babara Engerer, RP Château Paloumey, AOC Haut-Médoc
Marie-Laure Lurton, propriétaire – Château de Villegeorge , AOC Haut-Médoc- Château Duplessis, AOC Moulis – Château La Tour Bessan, AOC Margaux.
Lyn Maltus, propriétaire Château Teyssier, AOC Saint Emilion Grand cru
and my good self !