Tag Archives: Les Sources de Caudalie

Bordeaux à table!

Often described as a food wine, Bordeaux wine needs good food to show to its best advantage, food and wine matching has become quite the art. Lucky then that the food and restaurant scene in Bordeaux is thriving with new chefs and well established ones opening new restaurants or taking over established names.

But what of the chateaux themselves? Surely they should be show-casing their wines with food? Many chateaux are happy to organise meals for groups with a little advance notice, some like Chateau Phelan Segur will even welcome you into their kitchens for a cooking class first. But should you wish to dine independently amongst the vines it is also possible.

It’s not new, three very well established Bordeaux examples are Château Lynch Bages in Pauillac, with Chateau Cordeillan Bages, Château Smith Haut Lafitte in the Graves with Les Sources de Caudalie, and Hostellerie de Plaisance in Saint Emilion, owned by Chateau Pavie, all of which take wine hospitality to internationally renowned levels with Michelin stars in their respective hotel restaurants.

Chateau Cordeillan Bages in Pauilllac

Chateau Cordeillan Bages in Pauilllac

Saint Emilion on the right bank is a particularly popular destination so it’s no surprise that wineries here welcome guests offering food alongside their wines. Château Troplong Mondot opened Les Belles Perdrix in 2013. Starting off as casual dining for guests staying in the chateau guest rooms, it was awarded a its first Michelin star this year and the views from the terrace are some of the best in the region.

The Terrace of les Belles Perdrix at chateau Troplong Mondot in Saint Emilion

The Terrace of les Belles Perdrix at chateau Troplong Mondot in Saint Emilion

Chateau Angelus, on the other side of the medieval city, decided to go another path. Rather than opening a restaurant at the chateau, they bought the restaurant Le Logis de La Cadene in the heart of the town in 2013, which thanks to the skill of chef Alexandre Baumard, has rapidly gained a excellent reputation.

Delicious and elegant fare at Logis de la Cadene in Saint Emilion

Delicious and elegant fare at Logis de la Cadene in Saint Emilion

So much for fine dining, but for a relaxed lunch with that glass of wine, call in to Château La Dominique on the boundary between Saint Emilion and Pomerol. The chateau joined forces with the Bordeaux Restaurant ‘La Brasserie Bordelaise’ to offer informal fare on the roof of their new Jean Nouvel designed cellar, where the glass red pebbles resembling the open top of a fermenting vat of wine compete for your attention with the views over the famous names of Pomerol. On the foothills of the famous limestone slopes of Saint Emilion, the tiny fairy tale Château de Candale was recently renovated to include a restaurant with a delightful terrace looking across the Dordogne valley.

But if you can’t make it to Bordeaux (although you really should) Bordeaux can come to you.

Previously mentioned, Château Phelan Segur, is owned by the Gardiner family. They are famous for their food and wine hospitality at the beautiful Les Crayeres Hotel and restaurant in Champagne. Having added the Taillevent restaurant in Paris to their portfolio they recreated a bistro version, Les 110 de Taillevent, in both London and in Paris, named after the range of 110 wines offered by the glass, that I have raved about in a previous post.

But the jewel in the crown has to be the restaurant ‘Le Clarence’ opened in Paris at the end of last year by Château Haut Brion.

Le Salon of Le Clarence : all the elegance of Chateau Haut Brion in the heart of Paris.

Le Salon of Le Clarence : all the elegance of Chateau Haut Brion in the heart of Paris.

Chateau Haut Brion is one of the oldest and most respected vineyards in Bordeaux, not surprising then, that when they turned their minds to hospitality they would get it right. Their objective was to re-create in Paris the same chateau atmosphere that visitors enjoy in Bordeaux. Having been fortunate enough to dine at both Château Haut Brion and Chateau La Mission Haut Brion, I can vouch that their signature warm and elegant hospitality is perfectly mirrored in their new venture in Paris.

The library dinning room of Le Clarence

The library dinning room of Le Clarence

The ‘Hotel Dillon’ is not a hotel but a ‘town house (‘hotel particulier’ in French), named after the Dillon family who acquired the property in 1935. It is just off the Champs Elysées on avenue Franklin Roosevelt. The 19th century building houses the headquarters of the wine company but also beautiful reception rooms, a bar, the elegant dining room of ‘Le Clarence’ and an underground cellar. The cellar alone is worth a visit, with a vaulted brick ceiling and suitably stocked with not just wines from the family vineyards but other Bordeaux and from further afield.

The cellar, as spectacular as the bottles it contains.

The cellar, as spectacular as the bottles it contains.

The décor is sublime – you are indeed transported to a chateau atmosphere with carefully curated furnishings and art. The food is on a par with the surroundings, seasonal with a twist to traditional dishes. It is the perfect place to show the wines of their vineyards to their best advantage. Once you have tasted this Bordeaux hospitality in Paris, you will inevitably be drawn to come and sample the real thing.






All change in and around Bordeaux in the restaurant line up.

The Michelin star accolades that arrive in February each year are a sign of the times, none more so than in and around Bordeaux, where there were a few surprises this year. So if you plan your wine tourism around places to eat (which sounds like plan to me) here’s a quick update.

It’s been a game of musical chairs in the Bordeaux gastro scene. On the move this spring is the Michelin stared chef Nicolas Frion, who has presided over the kitchens of Le Chapon Fin for the last 11 years. The iconic Chapon Fin is a Bordeaux Institution (and probably still my favourite smart place to dine in Bordeaux city). It first opened its doors in 1825 and has kept its Michelin star in this year’s ratings along with Le Septième Péché, Le Gabriel and Le Pavillon des Boulevards in Bordeaux, and in the oustskirts of Bordeaux, Le Saint-James
in Bouillac, La Cape in Cenon and Jean-Marie Amat
 in Lormont.

Although the restaurant retains his name, Jean-Marie Amat re-opened in March under the young chef Vivien Durant, big shoes to fill but he was hand picked by the maestro so I’m optimistic.

Le Pressoir d’Argent at The Grand Hotel de Bordeaux lost its star with the departure of Pascal Nibaudeau for the Pinasse Café en Cap Ferret. Stéphane Carrade from la Guérinière in Arcachon has taken his place (told you it was musical chairs!) although Stéphane previous held 2 Michelin stars at Chez Ruffet in Jurançon.

Chef Stephane Carrade from Le Pressoir d'Argent at Le Grand Hotel

Chef Stephane Carrade from Le Pressoir d’Argent at Le Grand Hotel

Outside of the city La Grande Vigne Restaurant at Les Sources de Caudalie kept their star and the hotel is adding to their gastro offer this summer with a new ‘epicierie-bar’, alongside 12 new suites all built, Arcachon style, on stilts.

Further south, in Sauternes country, the fourth generation of the Darroze family kept their star at  Claude Darroze in Langon whereas in and around Saint Emilion is also a hotbed of changes. After the departure of Philippe Etchebest from l’Hostellerie de Plaisance, it was no great surprise that they lost both their Michelin stars. Philippe, despite his recent TV stardom, is hopefully not lost to the region as rumour has it he is opening his own restaurant in Bordeaux. After 10 years working with the Perse family, who are also the owners of the recently promoted 1st growth Château Pavie, and gaining 2 stars, he has been replaced by a fellow Basque Cédric Béchade, who was launched onto the Bordeaux scene at the start of this primeur week with a gala dinner at Château Pavie.

Not to be outdone in the gastro stakes, Château Angelus has also announced their purchase of Saint Emilion institution Le Logis de la Cadène. This picturesque restaurant is one of the favourite haunts of locals, despite being on one of the most treacherously slippery slopes of the medieval town. Christophe Gaudi now manages it and the kitchen has been taken over by the young Alexander Baard. Come and test his talents out this summer before they close for a complete renovation of the guests rooms this winter.

On the outskirts of Saint Emilion the little known but increasing popular Cafe Cuisine, on the banks of the Dordogne River in Branne, has renovated their dining room to become a trendy spot for locals. Further upstream, The Auberge Saint Jean in Saint Jean de Blaignac has won its first Michelin star after continued improvement since 2010 when it was taken over by Manuela and Thomas L’Hérisson.

Head out even further east into the Dordogne to the beautiful golf and country club, Chateau des Vigiers, where chef Didier Casaguana of Les Fresques Restaurant has just won his first Michelin star too.

The beautiful Chateau des Vigiers

The beautiful Chateau des Vigiers

Now even the most seasoned visitors to the region have plenty of new places and chefs to try this season.



Romance with wine

We all know a little wine can help oil the wheels of romance – so if you need a few tips or ideas for next week – try these.

Planning a Romantic weekend? I’ve mentioned Bordeaux as a destination enough times for you to get the message but here are a few special events lined up for the big day.  The Grand Hotel has special menus in both restaurants and a getaway offer including a welcome cocktail and use of the Nuxe spa.

Chateau Troplong Mondot,  the beautiful First growth of Saint Emilion perched high above the village is offering a special 4 course Valentines menu on the 14th –I suggest you book early to try and spend the night in one of their beautiful rooms either in the guest suites or cottage in the vines.

An Invitation from Troplong Mondot

Further east at Le Chateau des Vigiers, the beautiful golf and country club amongst the vineyards and orchards of Bergerac, is offering two different Saint Valentine’s packages, each of which include a welcome bottle of champagne and access to the spa. Should you be a little behind with your planning you have up until June to celebrate.

A romantic room at Le chateau des Vigiers

Les Sources de Caudalie is a romantic location at the best of times but for the Saint Valentine’s they are offering packages including lunch and diner at both of their 2 restaurants but don’t forget to book into the Spa too. Just in time for the Saint Valentines their land mark suite L’Isle aux Oiseaux has been revamped by the Parisian designer Maxime Simoëns. This could be the perfect time to inaugurate it

The Isle aux Oiseaux suite

In London and you can’t travel to Bordeaux on the 14th? Roux at Parliament Square   is offering a special Five Romantic Cities menu without leaving London. Taking you from Venetian Risotto to Viennese Sache Torte via London Fish and Chips, Parisian Chateaubriand and New York  Waldorf salad all accompanied by an equally exotic wine selection. Do you believe the best way to your loved one’s heart is via their stomach, nip over to Leith’s for the day and prepare a 3 course Valentines menu for two and take it home to serve to your loved one along with the complimentary bottle of Prosecco.

Of course it has to be bubbly for Valentines Day and preferable, pink but if the budget doesn’t run to champagne you can try a few alternatives from around the globe

From Bordeaux, of course, try Château de Sours sparkling rosé in the packaging designed using the artwork of the late John Hoyland from owner Martin Krajewski’s personal collection.

Reserve de Sours in the Hoyland packaging.

Or go further afield to Australia if you want something a little more light hearted, and lighter on alcohol coming in at only 4.5% alcohol, try Wirra Wirra’s Mrs Wigley Sparkling Moscato,

Mrs Wigley’s sparkling rosé

You could also try your luck at winning some bubbly Decanter Magazine are running a competition with Champagne Gosset to win one of a Champagne gift set and have it delivered in time for Valentine’s Day. Each set contains a 75cl bottle of Champagne Gosset Grand Rosé NV, a pair of engraved champagne flutes and a special Gosset champagne stopper, best of luck ??!

Even better if you are feeling really lucky join in Nyetimber’s Facebook competition to win a romantic dinner for two prepared by 2 star Michelin chef Tom Kerridge at the Hand and Flowers accompanied by a bottle of Nyetimber Rosé 2008 – what else ?






International cuisine with a cause

Fine food and wine is a great way for cultures to come together, even better if it’s in a good cause.

Les Sources de Caudalie will host a 4 star dinner on 11th December, that is four one star chefs sharing their talents, to raise money for Japan. Bordeaux has its fair share of Michelin stars now, one of whom, Nicolas Masse, of la Grand Vigne at Les Sources de Caudalie, will welcome Keisuke Matsushima the inspiration behind this event, who holds a Michelin star for his restaurants in both Tokyo and Nice, and his neighbours Pascal Nibaudeau from Le Pressoir d’Argent in Bordeaux and Christophe Giradot from La Table de Montesquieu in the neighbouring village of La Brede. Together on the 11th December they will offer a food and wine dinner where the proceeds will benefit the victims of the Japanese tsunami.

Each chef will produce a course combining the best of France and Japan accompanied by wines from Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, of course, but also Laurent Perrier and Château Gazin. Book now to avoid disapointment.

La Grande Vigne Restaurant

Get wed with wine

Just back from England I can confirm that the country is indeed awash with wedding fever. However if you want to get away from the royals why not come to Bordeaux. We might not have castles but we have châteaux instead. Some of which will be happy to open their doors to receive newly weds and their guests, not just in elegant reception rooms but many properties now have guest rooms too

The wine bill will also be considerably more affordable ‘sur place’ than in the UK and it is so much more romantic sipping the wines overlooking the vines where they were grown.

To the north of Bordeaux city in the Médoc. Between the estuary and the ocean it is famed for its vineyards and the stunning châteaux, which are perfect examples of the extravagant architecture of the 18th and 19th Century. In the village of Saint Yzan de Médoc on the banks of the Gironde Estuary is Château Loudenne , the ‘Pink Château’ owned by the Lafragette family. As well as the lavish receptions rooms there is a terrace with an amazing view across the water. It also has many guest rooms and can be accessed by boat as well as the road.
However, if it is luxury and gastronomy you are after, head south to Château Cordeillan Bages, which boasts a Relais & Châteaux hotel belonging to the Cazes family of Château Lynch Bages fame. It comes complete with a Michelin 2-star restaurant where young chef Jean-Luc Rocha has recently taken over and is making his name known (see Bordeaux blonde http://bordeauxblonde.wordpress.com/201 … lan-bages/)
If you prefer something more low key, the same winemaking family also owns Château Les Ormes de Pez, which is run as a guest house and you can take over the entire house with its pool for your event.
Château du Taillan has spectacular old cellars and can accommodate over 100 guests within good proximity to the city and the airport. The venue is not far from modern rooms and a spa at the Hotel du Golf (www.hotelgolfdumedoc.com).
Further south towards Bordeaux city in the village of Margaux, the recently renovated Château Marojallia has a terrace overlooking the vines and can accommodate a large group, with extra rooms at the neighbouring hotel.
Similarly Château Giscours has rooms with the option to stay at its sister property, Château du Tertre, which has an open air pool.

The Orangerie dining room at Château du Tertre

Still on the Left Bank, but south of the city, you can explore the Graves and Sauternes areas.
Classified growths Château Pape Clement and Smith Haut Lafitte both offer sumptuous accommodation. Les Sources de Caudalie in the grounds of Smith Haut Lafitte is a fabulous hotel and wine spa with two restaurants including the Michelin starred Grand Vigne. Not only is it a wonderful way for a bride to be pampered in preparation for her big day, but Smith Haut Lafitte has a reception room that can cater for several hundred guests for a sit down wedding breakfast. Caudalie builds packages on request.
Château Pape Clement in Talence, which is the oldest wine estate in Bordeaux, has a restored glasshouse in the garden designed by Gustave Eiffel (whose significant work includes the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty). For a smaller group they offer wine tourism packages including Rolls Royce rides or helicopter flights should the bride or groom wish to arrive in style.
For the French, Sauternes is a celebratory wine served at weddings, christenings and confirmations. Classified growth Château d’Arche has been transformed into a hotel with views overlooking the vines of Château Yquem.
The Côtes region is not far off the motorway north of Bordeaux with hillside vineyards surrounded by beautiful countryside. Visit Château Pitray, a glorious family property built in 1868 with a working vineyard and set in a park. The family will be delighted to show you around the cellars and taste their wines, which are available in the UK though Majestic.
At Château Biac, Youmna and Toni Asseily will welcome you to one of the three self catering cottages on the hillside vineyard with stunning views over the Garonne River where they make both red and sweet white Cadillac wines.

The wonderful view from Chateau Biac
Saint Emilion is probably the most famous wine village in the Bordeaux region and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1999 and is ideal as a romantic setting.
The Hostellerie de Plaisance Relais et Château, where Philippe Etchebest‟s cuisine has been awarded two Michelin stars, is in the centre and overlooks the whole village.
There also a few rooms at Château Pavie Decesse, owned by the Perse family, who own other Châteaux making top Saint Emilion wines.
At Château Franc Mayne, a working winery, is a small hotel whose rooms each have opulent and different décor. A natural swimming pool runs down the limestone slopes under which enormous centuries-old quarries are now used for barrel ageing the wines. The terrace overlooks the slopes down towards Pomerol.

The appellations known as the Saint Emilion Satellites are on the other side of the small Barbanne River from Saint Emilion. Puisseguin, Saint Georges, Lussac and Montagne Saint Emilion are on a series of undulating limestone hills that enjoy lovely views with hospitable properties open for tastings and accommodation.
Château de Môle won the 2010 Best of Wine Tourism award. It has idyllic bridal suits with ‘spa rooms’ in this renovated working Château in Puisseguin Saint Emilion. Of the five rooms, three have their own private sauna and jacuzzi in the en suite bathrooms. You can visit the cellars under the Château to learn more about their winemaking.
Château la Dauphine is right on the river-bank of the Dordogne and has a room specifically created to cater for weddings. The proprietors know all the local specialists to help with your day. The lawns with views down to the water are perfect for wedding pictures.

Inspired ? Well even if you not not planning to tie the knot you can always come for the romance without the ceremony !

Lunching with the stars

In this years crop 2 of the 4 new stars awarded by Michelin in and around Bordeaux are in Pessac Leognan. La Grand Vigne at les Sources de Caudalie and la Table de Montesquieu both won their awarded their first star this year.
Could this be the start of something new – close enough to Bordeaux city for the locals but in the heart of the vines for visitors – perfect.
Les Sources de Caudalie needs no introduction, the hotel and Spa must be everyone‘s list by now. However La Table de Montesquieu needs a little more finding. In the centre of the village of Labrede in the old school house the ultra modern décor is reflected the very innovative take on local produce. See the original ‘duck architecture’ below.

Highly influenced by Asian cuisine, impressively presented, the menu works perfectly with wines from Pessac Leognan but also those famous sweet wines from down the road. The excellent and bilingual service and a very eclectic wine list with a good selection by the glass (of not only Bordeaux we drank both Corsican and Rhone whites by the glass before the house Graves)
Not cheap at over € 50 a head for lunch with wine and coffee but worth every penny – a hidden treasure.

Discover Bordeaux this summer – lesser known Bordeaux !

Stay in the south of the left bank in the heart of the sweet white wine area. Château d’Arche is a lovely Château hotel and a working vineyard on a hillside next to Yquem. Unsure of which foods to serve with sweet white they will organize a cooking class or food and wine dinner for you and all will be revealed. Contact Nicole Hampton: n.hampson@chateaudarche-sauternes.com

Pessac Leognan
Château Smith Haut Lafitte is the ultimate wine resort. The Château opens for visits and has a fabulous hotel with 2 excellent restaurants in the grounds. It is also home to ‘Les Sources de Caudalie’ the original wine spa. Drink the wine and bath in it!
Contact the owner, Florence Cathiard: f.cathiard@smith-haut-lafitte.com

Cotes Region
Blaye – Chateau La Rose Bellevue, 5 Les Mourriers, 33820 Saint-Palais. Secret garden offering food and wine matching and picnics and in 2008 there were tastings on a boat. 2009 winner of Best of Wine Tourism Awards, service.commercial@chateau-larosebellevue.com www.greatwinecapitals.com

Entre Deux Mers.

Cycle through the vines on the old railroad track that leads from almost down town Bordeaux out into the lovely countryside of this region past Abbeys and Châteaux. Rent a bicycle from Creon http://creonstationvelos.free.fr especially on a Wednesday when the arcaded centre of this old medieval town is taken over by a farmers market where you can stock up for a picnic along the way. Bicycles as of € 15 a day.

Stay in one of the guest apartments at Château de Sours a beautiful working vineyard
Contact Martin Krajewski martin@chateaudesours.com

How to get around
You don’t fancy driving so you can enjoy the tastings – a wise move

See what the Bordeaux tourist office has to offer as arranged wine tours for the day leaving from down town to visit different parts of the region and the vineyards :
www.bordeaux-tourisme.com contact : otb@bordeauxtourisme.com