On a recent September morning, I drove along the picturesque and rolling Route des Châteaux from Pauillac to Margaux in the Bordeaux wine country, to reach Château du Tertre.
This estate of 52 unbroken hectares of vine has since 1997 belonged to a Dutch businessman, who has turned the 1855 classified winery into his personal home and noble B&B. “Tertre” in French apparently refers to the hillock where it is nested. With a history dating back to 1143, du Tertre is one of the oldest properties in the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
I drove up a long path bordered by vines and through a tall gate, to park in a cobbled-stone courtyard. My host Mark opened my car door to greet me before I had realized he was in sight. La vie de château!
The moment he led the way through the breakfast room, my curiosity was sparked with delight. Tuscan meets Flemish country style. A lady standing behind the tall counter by the window smiled and welcomed us while Mark introduced the breakfast ritual. As I browsed the decor in detail and listened, I fully imagined myself sharing talks of life at the guest table in the morning, over fresh breads and tea.
In the next room, as he greeted his colleague in Dutch, I spotted the sheep sculpture and terracotta tiles. Mark then led me through the technical facilities and cellars, pointing out the three types of vats (oak, concrete, cement) – the cement egg is supposed to add minerality to the wine.
In the tasting room, I first noticed on the marble table a series of jars filled with raw ingredients such as rose, leather, chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, wood. The library stood out with its historic pharmaceutical shelves that line the walls, and its leather club chairs.
The large living room for groups evokes again a private home. Tall ceilings, fireplace, welcoming sofas, large coffee table, and a long dining table with chairs. It looks unto the back terrace plus vineyard – the visible owner’s helicopter confirmed that he was home. I immediately had the urge to settle in the comfortable sofas with a book and enjoy a talk over a glass of wine.
We then headed to the garden. The “orangerie” and atmosphere reminded me of a Hampton home from the US – one could easily imagine the spirit and elegance. The alley of trees to the left recalled the Palais Royal gardens of Paris. In the middle stood a beautiful tall sculpture of a couple, work of an artist who lives in Monaco.
And the best part of it all, after a day of tasting the local art of living, one can stay a night or more amid this setting!
This curated home felt inviting and true to the local laid back culture – much like the Ormes de Pez winery in Saint-Estèphe. The five rooms with a stone chimney, Provence style furnishings, wood floors, and views of the vineyard stretching afar were charming, combining understated elegance, authenticity and simplicity.
Thank you Mark for this great visit!
Tried it. Loved it. Shared it.