Château Lafite Rothschild, Pauillac – France

Earlier this week, I visited Château Lafite Rothschild, in Pauillac, one of Bordeaux’s haute wineries (1st Classified Growth).

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The number of times that I had imagined its interiors, as I peddled through the hillside and sprawling vineyard, or stopped to capture the moment, are countless.

As I feasted my eyes on the scenery, the magic began…

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In the late 1700s, a Frankfurt-based Rothschild banker established a banking business that became international through his five sons living in Europe (arrows symbolizing the five dynasties established by the sons). In 1868, the head of the French branch of the family purchased the Pauillac estate.

The name Lafite comes from “la hite”, meaning hillock in Gascon. It is imagined that vineyards were already apparent in the 17th Century on the property.

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The interior tour started with the definition of the landscape. My first time seeing the soil types by way of a tall glass sculpture. Getting a sense of the terroir.

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We then descended into the cellar. The first of the three vat types was decorative – traditional wood. The family colors instill a personal touch.

The 2015 vintage is currently ageing in French oak barrels (manufactured onsite), in a room of whitewash walls, wood beam ceiling, concrete floor and chilling humidity. Artisanal and authentic.

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The stone staircase (a.k.a. “Stairway to Heaven“) that led us to the house cellar – home to a 1797 vintage – is nearly a monument. The myth was at work. Iron gates and chandeliers. Dim lighting. The wine took over the space.

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And the chateau visit was crowned by a candlelight tasting. Entering the rounded ageing cellar, designed by Catalan architect Ricardo Bofill, I imagined the gastronomic feasts that have perpetuated through conversations.

As I took my first sip of the 2007 vintage at 10AM (best time of the day to taste), at last, I understood how a golfer friend could on occasion prefer a good glass of Bordeaux and steak for breakfast, to baguette with coffee!

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

www.lafite.com

Additional special discoveries in the Medoc include, the annual September marathon, quaterly photo and art exhibits at Château Palmer (Margaux),  strolling the grounds of Château Beychevelle (Saint-Julien), markets or lazing by the water elsewhere.

 

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Le loup, éditions Auzou

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copyright @ Auzou

Notre fils vient de souffler ses quatre bougies et je découvre qu’il adore la collection “Le loup” aux éditions Auzou.

Les dessins sont très mignons et les histoires amusantes à raconter. J’adore autant ces moments pour transmettre des valeurs avec tendresse. En lui offrant cinq grands formats, j’ai quelques secondes hésité …

Et voici comment l’histoire du soir s’est transformée en trois ou quatre. Merci Le loup!

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Sexy Fish – London, UK

Last week, I tried an Art Deco meets Brasserie sort of restaurant in the Mayfair area of London.

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Think GQ-style doormen, voluptuous hostesses with fitted sea-green dresses and heels, loud music, a loveboat line up of barmen shaking exotic cocktails below the Frank Ghery sparkling fish, a Damien Hirst mermaid sculpture on the wall, mobile phones vibrating from “checked-in” likes by each table setting, and a heteroclite crowd – somewhat underdressed for the setting…

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Sexy Fish opened in October and has guests longing for that confirmation of seating, weeks during. We got in with a little help from our concierge and having a two Michelin star chef in our party seemed to speed up the foretold wait. The open kitchen in the back is where the smokin’, grillin’, bakin’, bbq-in’ happens – best seats in the house – and all dishes are meant for sharing, as urbanites do.

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From the pan-Asian menu, we shared the Sexy Fish roll, Octopus Carpaccio, Beef ribs and Chilean sea bass. I remember the spicy marinades that dominated the well-cooked produce.

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Service was friendly, and included a tour by the French sommelier of the downstairs private dining room.

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The room boasts a bar, lavish table wear, and two massive fish tanks – a perfect diversion to cut big deals.

 

And as the grand finale, I had to dodge a young maiden taking selfies alone in the powder room. All the way down to the hardware, the concept was mastered. Ahhh, life in the big city.

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

Sexy Fish
Berkeley Square House
Berkeley Square, London W1
(+44) 020 3764 2000
sexyfish.com

 

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Cheerz app – DIY

Si vous aimez la photo, je viens d’essayer cette appli ludique, et leur marketing est frais. On télécharge sa sélection de photos (couleurs vives et citations rendent le mieux), on choisit le format – du Polaroid au marque page en passant par la boîte à souvenirs – et voilà. Quelques jours plus tard, ça arrive soigneusement emballé à la maison. On adore car même les petits en profitent – notre fils en a imaginé un jeu de cartes. Bon weekend!

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If you enjoy photography, this app that I tried is easy and playful – plus their marketing is really sweet. Load your photos (brights and quotes turned out best), select a format from bygone Polaroids to bookmarks or box of souvenirs, and receive them at home carefully packaged. Even our toddler enjoys them as his own selection creating a deck of cards. Enjoy the weekend!

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

www.cheerz.com

 

 

 

 

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Meet the artist: Antoine Vincens de Tapol

Just back from the holidays, we kicked off the Winter season in the Bordeaux winelands with the opening of a new exhibit at Château Palmer (Margaux).

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“Balkans” is a series of photos taken using a Rolleiflex between Montenegro and Albany, by photographer Antoine Vincens de Tapol orginally from Cognac, France. Anthropologist, his quest through this obscure series of photographs was to reflect on a population and on the individual’s imprint within a community, regardless of its territory, by capturing instants of daily living.Worth a visit for photo and wine lovers!

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Portrait of the artist by our 3,5 year old son

De retour des fêtes de fin d’année, nous avons démarré l’hiver médocain par le vernissage hier d’une exposition au Château Palmer (Margaux).

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“Balkans” est une série de photos réalisée entre le Monténégro et l’Albanie au moyen d’un Rolleiflex par le photographe Antoine Vincens de Tapol, né à Cognac, France. Anthropologue de formation, sa volonté à travers ce travail obscur est de sacraliser l’instant afin de montrer la place qu’occupe un individu et la trace qu’il laisse dans son milieu collectif, quelque soit son territoire.

Un joli moment pour amateurs de photo et de grands vins.

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

“Balkans” @ Château Palmer
Jan 09 – April 22, 2016
33460 Margaux – FRANCE
www.antoine-de-tapol.com

 

 

 

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Magasin Général, Bordeaux – France

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Femmes: Troquez les bottines ou talons hauts pour les baskets, la mini pour le jean, et trouvez le juste équilibre masculin féminin relevé d’un joli brillant à lèvres. Hommes: Embarquez le skate et enfilez la chemise de bucheron sans oublier le pull réservé aux weekends à la campagne. Familles: Arrivez à 5 dans une Fiat 500 avec grand-mère au volant. Pour les petits, tables de dessin, ardoises et livres ajoutent un style wild.

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Côté déco : des accords de béton, bois, métal, fibres naturelles, et un mobilier chiné, sur un fond de loft industriel. Un mini souffle de Brooklyn, des Puces, de la Cité de la Mode et de East London.

Pourquoi y aller ? Le brunch est fabriqué main, simple, bon, bio et frais (lentilles, jambon, fromages, cakes, pains et confitures, œufs). Et on en sort convaincus qu’il faut prolonger le plaisir et être éco-responsables – donc on passe au magasin (ouvert le dimanche à partir de 13H) pour faire le plein de légumes de saison, de bières sans gluten, ou de produits de beauté au miel. Dehors, une energie calme donne le ton, mixée au skate park, tags et espaces d’architecte.

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Head to the Magasin Général (ex: Sunday brunch), and explore an unexpected segment of Bordeaux. Not only is it located on the less traveled bank of the Garonne, it is built within an old compound turned sustainable project: co-working spaces, eco-lodge, manufacture, vintage shop, factory-like bistro, skate park and street art.

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Le Magasin Général felt to me like a mini Brooklyn meets East London, plus a tad of Puces and La Cité de la Mode in Paris: anything goes. Moms, pops, kids, hipsters, families, up and coming start-ups… and not many tourists yet. The local and fresh prix-fixe brunch (eggs, soup, bacon, breads, jams, bio teas, home cakes…) is self-service on large wooden tables. The staff is friendly.

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One walks out feeling good, eco-inspired, and heads to the adjoining gourmet market  (open Sunday starting 1PM) to stock up on seasonal goods, gluten-free beer and beauty products made from honey. Outside, a calming energy sets the tone, mixed with street art, skate park and architectural blocks.

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

Le Magasin Général
DARWIN CASERNE NIEL
87 quai des Queyries – 33000 BORDEAUX
magasingeneral.camp

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La Terrasse Rouge, Château La Dominique – Saint Emilion, France

Last Sunday, we drove to the Right Bank of the Estuary, to see Pomerol and to dine at La Terrasse Rouge in Saint-Emilion, which opened 18 months ago and seems to attract a growing number of devotees.

We arrived at La Dominique. The first impression was that I loved the garnet glossy wall. I was eager to explore. The exterior stairs leading to the terrace reminded me Château Lacoste in Provence. Bingo, I soon learned that the architect Jean Nouvel had also designed this space.

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Left of the entrance, a MOMA-style wine shop showcased eye-catching photographs. The interior staircase led to a large eatery bathed by nature, with a long metallic bar, open kitchen, and modern wooden tables taken by international design and wine lovers.

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The room opened onto an atypical terrace. The experience was grand. A good blend of location, style, details, friendliness, design, views… We had found an alternative to La Co(o)rniche in the vineyard. Our 3,5 year old was instantly drawn by the ocean of red glass pebbles – the centerpiece. “No throwing stones, Eliott” – we were in for a challenge. That was before we realized that this aesthetic place was kiddy friendly. It was time for Champagne!

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IPAD mini wine list, short menu of surf-n-turf dishes, a knife-cut burger for kids that had parents craving, and classic desserts – by name only. The only disappointment was the fries really. We were invited to stay as long as we wanted. This clearly was beyond a restaurant, it was a destination. I imagined a lounge chair to read a book, walking trails, art exhibits, cinema in the park, al fresco dinner under the stars… Living the dream in a corner of nature.

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Dimanche dernier, nous sommes partis Rive Droite pour découvrir Pomerol et pour déjeuner à La Terrasse Rouge de Saint-Emilion, qui a ouvert il y a 18 mois. On m’en parle souvent, il fallait que j’aille voir.

Nous arrivons à La Dominique. A ma première impression, j’ai adoré le mur brillant couleur garance. J’ai commencé à scruter le décor. A droite, l’escalier extérieur qui mène à la terrasse me rappelle aussitôt Château Lacoste en Provence. J’ai appris que l’architecte Jean Nouvel avait également construit cet endroit. A gauche de l’entrée, une boutique-cave à vins façon MOMA me donne envie de zieuter à travers ses photos. L’escalier intérieur mène à une grande salle lumineuse, animée d’un bar à zinc, d’une cuisine ouverte, et de tables d’hôtes rapprochant amoureux du design et du vin venus des quatre coins du monde.

IMG_9242 FullSizeRender3Cette salle se prolonge d’une terrasse atypique dominant la vigne. L’impression est géniale. Quel mélange de location, style, détails, atmosphère, design, vues… Une variété de La Co(o)rniche côté vignoble. Notre fils de 3,5 ans est aussitôt attiré par cette plage de petits galets rouges – telle une oeuvre d’art. “Ne lance pas les galets, Eliott” – nous ne sommes pas sortis de l’auberge! Me voilà rapidement rassurée, la maison aime les enfants. Champagne!

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IPAD mini pour la carte des vins, choix limité de plats entre terre et mer, un burger coupé au couteau pour enfants, et des desserts classiques – de nom uniquement (photo de droite est un vacherin!). La seule deception était les frites.

Nous étions hyper à l’aise et libres de profiter. Quel bonheur. La Terrasse Rouge n’était plus pour moi un restaurant, mais une destination. Un instant, j’ai imaginé des chaises longues, des circuits pédestres dans les vignes, des expos, un cinéma en plein air, dîner sous les étoiles… Bref, un grand moment dans un petit coin de verdure.

Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.

La Terrasse Rouge – Château La Dominique
Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux – France
www.laterrasserouge.com

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