Monday, October 21, 2013

Portes ouvertes en Graves

On Saturday we were invited to join Den Nation, her husband, her sister and her sister's boyfriend to check out Les Portes Ouvertes en Graves, an open house weekend in les Graves, a wine-producing region south of Bordeaux.  Most of the châteaux in the region were open for visits and tours of their chais (wine storehouses) as well as free wine tastings of a selection of the wines they produce.  And we were very lucky with the weather and Saturday ended up being an absolutely gorgeous day.

We met up with them in the early afternoon and visited three different châteaux in the northern part of the AOC Graves.  First stop was Château de Portets where their American neighbor is Maître de Chais.  She was kind enough to give us an English language tour as some people in our group didn't speak French, and then it was off to the tasting complete with magic tricks based on the château's wines.

Les chais at the Château de Portets
Château de Portets
Our next stop was the Château de Castres, which ended up being the château that impressed us the most.  The grounds and structures were beautiful and the wine was excellent.  Our group walked away with quite a few bottles in the end.  I wish I had taken more pictures, but I was too busy enjoying their wines! 
the vineyards in front of the Château de Castres
wine tanks at the Château de Castres
Château de Castres
The last château we visited was Château la Perrucade, a much smaller operation.  Unfortunately, they didn't offer any tours, just a wine tasting, and as a result I didn't take any pictures.  But they had some very interesting wines that were very different from what we had tasted at the other châteaux.
After all that wine tasting we decided to end the day by visiting the nearby Château de la Brède, not a wine château this time, but a 14th-century château where Montesquieu was born.  Unfortunately we arrived too late to visit the interior, but we were able to visit the park.  The château is absolutely beautiful and very interesting architecturally.  It's also surrounded by water which makes for some incredible photographs.
Château de la Brède and the grounds
visiting the château
Château de la Brède
Understandably, after all the wine-tasting and château-visiting we were all quite hungry so Lionel and I invited everyone over to our house for a barbeque (and more wine, naturally!).  The perfect end to a perfect day!


  1. Awww I wanna be there!! There are no (good) wineries in Florida, and definitely no chateaux!

  2. It really was a great day. Thanks for loading these pictures and writing a post about our day out.

    I remember going to Château de Castres a few years back and tasting their wines, but according to my memory the wines were good but not earth-shattering. I was really blown away this time! I had my doubts when we were welcomed at the door by the father, but once we got into the visit he turned out to be all right and the visit was the best one of the day.

    I'm also glad that we visited Château de la Brède at the end of the day, that we did something not wine related. I have to say, it was really romantic around the château. I could totally see myself having a picnic there with F.

    You should look around for other Portes Ouvertes. There's probably some in the month of November, maybe Pessac Léognan or Sauternes for Lionel.

    1. No problem! Happy to have something to post about! I was really impressed by Chateau de Castres as well. I really enjoyed pretty much everything we tasted there!

      I was also very glad to stop by Chateau de la Brede. I love visiting historic chateaux and this one was really beautiful. I want to go back sometime to visit the interior as well!