St Émilion, Aquitaine, SW France .. Château Soutard

St Émilion, Aquitaine, SW France .. Château Soutard

Back to France 🙂 …

From Libourne with it’s amazing market … to St Émilion, a charming 8th century village set in vineyards renowned for producing full-bodied, deeply coloured red wines.

“Named after Émilion, a miracle-working Benedictine monk, who lived in a cave here between 750 and 767, it soon became a stop on pilgrimage routes, and the village and it’s vineyards are now UNESCO listed.”

Our group split up here .. hubby and I, and others, went on the excursion to Château Soutard and the rest went on a tour of the village.  It was a toss-up for us, but wine tasting won the battle 🙂   .. we had time afterwards for a brief walk-about anyway and a guided tour in the underground church.  It was raining when we arrived at the Château Soutard – I took these photos below after our tastings when the sky had cleared ..

Originally a bourdieu, a farm with a mill, dating back to 16th century, the success and fame of the Château really began in 1699

The sommelier gave us a brief history of the estate ..

Grapes are harvested by hand in small 10kg baskets by a team of about fifty local pickers.  Fermentation takes place in stainless steal and new French oak vats ..

We were then taken passed this amazing pewter/steel pressed wall (can’t remember what he said) but it was incredible .. the entire wall was intricately patterned ..

.. and then taken down underground in a huge lift (we all fitted in!) to where the ageing process takes place in new French oak barrels …

Mmmm mm .. let the wine tasting begin 🙂  Very very good .. all of them!!  Compared favourably to our South African wines

Wine boxes to sit on if we wished 🙂

Hubby and I preferred wines from this region to the Burgundy wines

Disappointing variety of souvenirs to purchase (our estates have all sorts of wine stuff ie stoppers, pourers, coasters etc) but we bought aprons for all the girls and me !

The gardens outside were interesting – small areas of manicured lawns and the rest is left natural with wild flowers growing everywhere.  Very pretty !

.. including poppies !!  My first sight of real red poppies !!   The real thing!!   Exciting stuff .. for me anyway!!!!!!   I’ve only seen paper ones pinned to lapels on Remembrance Day in November !!

Next stop … St Émilion ..

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Interesting facts .. In our local paper, a few days ago, I spotted this picture and description about the grape harvest in the Unesco Heritage-listed Lavaux vineyard which has 10 000 terraces, and which was started in the 12th century by monks.  Googling Unesco Heritage sites, I discovered that the Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes is a listed site …

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