France’s Wine-Producing Châteaux

Lauren Hill

Senior Contributor

Combine an idyllic château stay in the French countryside with tours of the vineyards, wine-inspired gastronomy and an immersion into the winemaking process.

Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey

Set within Bordeaux’s undulating Sauternes appellation, Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey pairs winemaking tradition and the estate’s history with the luxury hospitality and lavish design of French lifestyle brand Lalique. 2018 marked the 400th anniversary of the prestigious winery on this 89-acre estate dating back to the 13th century. This was also the year that the first growth estate opened as a luxury hotel following a complete renovation by Lalique designers Tina Green and Pietro Mingarelli with modern glass extension built by architect Mario Botta to house the fine dining restaurant. Crystal decoration and artwork feature throughout, including a Damien Hirst artwork, which hangs in the estate’s original chapel. Stay here to tour the vineyards, taste the estate’s own Sauternes in the onsite winery and see inside the four underground cellars holding around 350,000 bottles. Wines from this cellar are paired with the Sauternes-inspired dishes of chef Jérôme Schilling in the restaurant that earned its first Michelin star shortly after opening.

Château de Mercuès

This historic winemaking property tucked into the lush Lot valley of southwest France is a fine example of the French art de vivre. Origins as a 13th-century castle used as a residence for the bishops of Cahors provide the turreted property with centuries of stories, which the château’s interiors reflect through original design features. The vineyards and château-produced wine are naturally two of the property’s biggest draws. Get a taste of this by touring the estate’s winery and cellar before sampling some of the property’s vintages. The hotel’s restaurants celebrate the fine Malbec produced here, along with the region’s other delicacies, saffron and truffles. Dine at Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant Le Duèze, experience the exclusive chef’s table of Julien Poisot’s kitchen and come summer, lunch in courtyard of the classic bistro. Four kilometres of running and hiking trails wind through the estate’s woodland and there’s an outdoor pool, plus tennis courts, for the warmer months.

Château de Berne

This picturesque estate in Provence has been producing wine for almost three centuries, with grapes being cultivated on this land as far back as Roman times. The château sits on an elevated plateau of vineyards and olive groves, with the shelter of 500 hectares of forest adding to the precise conditions utilised for producing around 750,000 bottles of Provencal rosé each year. The boutique sells these estate-made wines along with honey, truffles and olive oil made from the olives grown on the property. The five-star hotel here provides a classic Provencal escape of shaded courtyards, lush gardens and an outdoor pool surrounded by woodland and vineyards. The 18th-century domain has just 27 rooms, many with their own terrace, along with the chic Cinq Mondes Spa featuring indoor pool, Jacuzzis, sauna, steam room, solarium and relaxation area, and three dining experiences — Le Jardin de Benjamin gourmet restaurant, Le Bistrot and La Table du Chef — as well as the Château de Berne cooking school.

Château St Pierre de Serjac

A vine-growing estate covering 200 acres, this 19th-century property introduces you to the charms of Languedoc-Roussillon, from its landscape and history to its winemaking and gastronomy. The 19th-century château has been stylishly renovated to combine its classic architecture with a fresh modern feel. Dine in the restaurant celebrating home grown and locally sourced produce and sample the estate’s own wine and cocktails in the speakeasy-style bar. The Mediterranean-inspired spa comes with a light-filled solarium featuring glass walls that slide open to connect it with the outdoors and a 12-metre indoor pool accompanied by hot tub, aromatherapy spa and hammam. You can relax in the tranquil, tree-shaded spa garden, run and cycle along the surrounding landscape’s trails and take morning yoga classes. The winery benefits from a recent renovation, which you can see by joining a tour and wine-tasting session. 

Château Cordeillan-Bages

Château Cordeillan-Bages sits alongside the prestigious Château Lynch-Bages winery known for producing award-winning wines. The appeal of being positioned here is then added to by Michelin-starred dining at the Cordeillan-Bages restaurant, with a wine-list of 1,800 bottles, and the luxury Relais & Chateâux hotel decorated with the furnishings of designers such as Frank Gehry, Andrée Putman and Achille Castiglioni, featuring facilities like an outdoor heated pool and sauna. You can arrange to arrive by helicopter, landing in the vineyards. To see more of the area, join tastings and tours of the neighbouring vineyards. While Château Lynch-Bages undergoes it current renovations, tours are instead being led to Château Ormes de Pez in Saint-Estèphe. Bespoke wine tours with personalised wine tasting, cooking classes and contemporary art exhibitions are all a part of the experience when you’re staying here.

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