Writer Zana Wilberforce visits France’s wine region and discovers why Château Cordeillan-Bages is the place to visit
Nestled in two hectares of vineyards in France’s Médoc region, just a 40-minute drive from Bordeaux airport, is the idyllic wine and gourmet retreat of Château Cordeillan-Bages.
The former chartreuse exudes laid-back charm and has an air of prestige about it. The décor hints at refined elegance, and the walls are adorned with contemporary art. Taking a dip in the 25-metre heated outdoor pool is a must, as is dining in their Michelin-star restaurant with views of the vines.
It’s on the doorstep of some of the most prestigious vineyards and with its close links to the fifth growth Grand Crus Classe Château Lynch-Bages. Palpable peace can be enjoyed with a glass or two while relaxing on the large terrace overlooking the scented vineyards.
A soothing earthy palette, pure lines, crisp linen and wooden tones offer an immediate sense of calm.
Each of the 28-bedroom interiors were designed in partnership with Milanese architect Anne-Monique Bonadéi and feature natural touches, including custom-made bookcases, oak cupboards and draped Danish lighting.
The bathroom is a highlight, featuring a transparent glass wall that frosts over for privacy and a palatial shower featuring a large shower head.
Guests visit Cordeillan-Bages exclusively for its cuisine and its links to Chateau Lynch Bages. The gastronomic Michelin star restaurant is overseen by chef Julien Lefebvre who has had a prestigious career working alongside Mathieu Pacaud at the Parisian restaurants Hexagone, Histoires and the recently reopened Le Divellec.
His passion for sourcing local produce, from asparagus to strawberries or oysters, adds an extra je ne sais quoi to his delectable French dishes.
Our eight-course tasting menu featured an array of delights including Laurent Hullot’s asparagus with caramelised morels, followed by line-caught meagre with Noilly Prat sauce.
Chief sommelier Arnaud Le Saux was also on hand to provide expert wine-food pairing advice, and we were treated to the Blanc de Lynch Bages, Château Ormes de Pez and the Château Lynch Bages.
For lunch, pop over to Café Lavinal in the village of Bages for fresh oysters and crevettes. Hearty meals and local wines are enjoyed by locals, and the matured beef Bages burger is not to be missed. Just make sure to leave room for dessert!
What to do
1 Wine tasting
A must for devoted wine lovers, Ormes de Pez winery is just 15 minutes away from Cordeillan-Bages. It was originally bought by Jean-Charles Cazes in 1936 and is now owned and run by Jean-Michel Cazes.
Post-amble through the vineyard, we were treated to a walking tour around the winery and a detailed tasting session outlining the best way to swirl and sip.
2 Explore the vineyards by bike
Some of the world’s most famous vineyards are on your doorstep including Chateau Latour, Mouton Rothschild and Lafite Rothchild, and the best way to get to them is by bike.
The afternoon was spent cycling through scented vineyards and country paths, before heading back to the hotel’s outdoor pool for a slow swim.
3 Luxury picnicking
Outdoorsy types will enjoy this! The hotel will equip you with a high-end gourmet feast that you can indulge in as you stop between chateaux and vineyards or during a cycling trip.
4 Oyster experience
Alongside wine, oyster tasting is another fantastic activity to try in the Médoc region. We explored La Petite Canau farm – the region’s freshest oysters are transported here from Brittany to be cultivated. After the tour, we had a chance to taste the oysters for ourselves.
The Wordrobe Verdict
Contemporary yet classic, Château Cordeillan-Bages is a tempting proposition for those looking to indulge in a weekend of great food and fantastic wine. Its proximity to an array of world-renowned vineyards makes it the perfect harvest retreat.
Start the adventure
Where: Route des Châteaux, 33250 Pauillac, France
Wallet: Rooms from £155 per night, based on two people sharing.
How: Please phone +33(0)5 56 59 24 24 or click here to make a reservation.
Words by Zana Wilberforce