As our Messina Hof VIP group traveled through the countryside of Pauillac on a beautiful Sunday in June, massive stone Chateaux rose from the sea of green grapevine leaves on each side of the road like luxurious miniature fortresses. They stood silent and seemingly lifeless. On Sundays very few wineries/Chateaux are open. If you plan to visit the area, be sure to investigate the operating hours of the properties that you want to tour. Medoc Destination Vignobles En Medoc Tourist Guide is very helpful. It contains all of the Chateaux with pricing and hours of operation.
Messina Hof VIPs at Chateau Kirwan
The Chateaux we visited on this trip were Chateau Giscours and Chateau Kirwan. Chateau Giscours began in 1552 with beautiful Chateau, stables for the horses which helped in the farming operation and winery processing area. Stables are now retail tasting area and over night accommodation. Other out buildings now provide beautiful venues for weddings and private parties. There is a public park and it hosts cricket matches in the summer months. Giscours boasts the only Chateau cricket team in France.
Messina Hof VIPs at Chateau Giscours
Wine production is very modern. This winery harvests from 300 acres in Margaux and Haut Medoc appellations. The wines were rich and very flavorful and wonderful blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and some vintages contained Petit Verdot. Vintages 2003, 2004, and 2010 were served on this visit. All were excellent.
Nathalie Schyler, owner of Chateau Kirwan, with Paul & Merrill Bonarrigo
Our tour continued with a dinner at Chateau Kirwan. Owner Nathalie Schyler greeted our group. Her Chateau seats 200 for dinner. During the dinner which was catered by the Viking chef and staff, Nathalie shared stories about each wine. She poetically described each wine and shared that she was 8th generation in the Bordeaux wine business. Chateau Kirwan was listed as the first of the third growths in 1855. It farms 80 acres including 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Petit Verdot. This night she shared reds from 2009, 2004, and 1981. It was an honor to taste this 1981 vintage which was mellow and delicately rich. It was like an elder, full of wisdom and stories to be told, and we need only be patient and listen to what it has to say.
Menu from Chateau Kirwan, signed by Messina Hof VIPs
Messina Hof VIPs in Bordeaux
Outside Chateau Margaux
VIPs posing for photo outside beautiful Chateau Pichon-Longueville