Known to produce some of the finest wines in the world, the wine region of the Medoc in Bordeaux is one top vineyard and stately chateau after another. It is here where you’ll find some of the world’s most prestiges wine villages, such as Pauillac, Margaux and Saint-Julien. The chateaux we past – such as Chateau Lafitte and Latour – produce some of the most expensive wines in the world.
This is the perfect place for a wine-filled weekend break. Combine a day of sightseeing in the city of Bordeaux (blog to follow soon), with a couple of days in the peaceful green Medoc countryside. Less than an hour north from Bordeaux airport, I was taken aback by how many beautiful chateaux and vineyard we drove past. Flights to Bordeaux are affordable if booked in advance (our BA flights booked in February were £100) and there are numerous chateaux you can stay at, as well as plenty of fantastic restaurants to try. A wine and foodie heaven.
CHATEAU ORMES DE PEZ, in the hamlet of Pez, is a complete delight. It is a little quiet haven; grand and beautiful while homely and warm at the same time. Owned by the Cazes family, who also own the Relais & Chateaux Cordeillan Bages and one of Bordeaux’s top vineyards Lynch Bages, this idyllic five bedroom chateau truly represents what the French do so well.
Beautiful, intricate wall paper cover the well-sized bedrooms, the beds – all white crisp sheets and marshmallow duvets – ensure you have the best sleep, large French windows let in plenty of light and allow views of the local vineyard and the garden. Charming Gilles – the concierge/chef/general manager all in one, is welcoming and helpful – recommending where to eat in the area and booking wine tasting for us. During the afternoon he conjures up amazing cakes in the kitchen, smells of which waft through the chateau.
The hotel’s black and white bushy tailed cat is constantly doing the rounds – enjoying human contact enough to follow us around, even joining us for breakfast, but making it quite clear he is not there to be cuddled or picked up. The garden is huge, with pear trees and romantic benches scattered around. The pool is tucked away in a sunny corner behind a hedge, where we relax in the sun and read our books. Breakfast is served until 11, with fresh breads and croissants, Giles’ cakes and buttery scrambled eggs. Grab a table outside on the terrace and have the most languid breakfast in the cool morning sun. This is a place to forget your busy life and just enjoy the best of France. Rooms from £90 per night.
Grab one of the bikes at Ormes de Pez and cycle from vineyard to vineyard (the countryside is relatively flat), admiring the 17th and 18th Century chateaux as you wiz by. A stay at either Ormes de Pez or Cordeillan Bages allows you a complimentary visit to the Lynch Bages vineyard, with wine tasting of course. Definitely take them up on that offer, our guide was theatrical and extremely knowledgeable and tasting the Lynch Bages wine (the 2007 in our case) is not something quickly forgotten. The village of Bages is also very picturesque. Or for those super fit and active, there is the Medoc Marathon through the vineyards – a stunning region to run those 26.5 miles!
Ormes de Pez is just a B&B so venture out to the riverside town of Pauillac for lunch or dinner. If you want something super close, the Chateau Pomys offers dinner on their terrace. The food is very French, the portions large and opt for their three course menu for 30 Euros. The food is far from Michelin starred but their chocolate gateaux was absolutely delicious. Or, for better food, drive a little further to the village of St Julien, for simple but excellent home cooking at Chez Meme.
For a real blow out meal, the two Michelin star Cordeillan Bages is where you have to be. Possibly the most refined and wonderful lunch I have ever had. A blog about this hotel & restaurant will follow.