Chateau du Tertre, Margaux-France

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.

www.chateaudutertre.fr

 

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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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