Many years ago, we lived in a house nestled amongst the grapevines on the aptly named Chemin des Vignerons (Winemaker's Road) in Switzerland. After driving our children to school in the pre-dawn light, I would stand at the living room window watching the winemaker tend his vines as I drank my coffee. It was my daily ritual. Even though we never spoke, I felt a certain quiet complicity with him. We were both nurturers. While I ensured that our children ate a healthy breakfast in the morning and did their homework in the evening, my stoic companion inspected the grape leaves for pests and carefully pruned his vines. Whether the sun was warming his back or the rain was falling on his head, he was a constant presence in the vineyards. His job, like mine, seemed to be endless, particularly right before the annual harvest when migrant workers would arrive to help pick the grapes. Suddenly, the fields were filled with joyous noise as the workers made their way up and down the steep slope of the hill toting baskets filled to the brim with plump grapes. And then, all too suddenly it seemed, his work for that year's harvest was finished. The fruits of his labor was bottled and stored in a cellar to be savored at a later date. Whenever I open a bottle of wine, I pause for a moment to think of my winemaker and pay homage to his hard work.
Living on the 5th floor of an apartment block in Paris, I occasionally miss the feeling of being connected to the earth and the changing of the seasons, which is why I proposed that we go to the winemaking region of Bordeaux, France when Stéphane asked where I wanted to spend the 4-day Toussaint weekend. Thanks to a chance meeting with winemakers Philippe and Véronique Jean while dining at Chez L'Ami Jean last Thanksgiving, we even knew exactly which domaine we wanted to visit first.
Located on a plateau that dominates the Dordogne Valley, Chateau Châdenne is one of the oldest vineyards in Fronsac. It belonged to the family of French pioneer cinematographer Max Linder until the middle of last century. Philippe and Véronique acquired the estate in 1999 when they decided to realize their dream of owning a vineyard. A native of the Champagne region of France and passionate about wine, Véronique told us about the longstanding law that prohibits winemakers from watering their vineyards in Bordeaux so that the roots of the vines penetrate depth into the earth. The composition of the soil, the microclimate of Fronsac and the Jean's move to organic production results in an exceptionally fine mid-priced Bordeaux wine.
Rather than being "out and about" this morning, I'm at home waiting for our delivery of Château Chadenne wine. From the first vintage in 2000, it has received many awards and distinctions. U.S. leading wine critic Robert Parker described the Millesime 2009 as "dense, full-bodied, and at the same time, elegant, pure, and very impressive", while Le Figaro said that it was "superbe". When Stéphane and I open our first bottle, I'm sure that we'll savor the taste and remember the time that we spent visiting Chateau Châdenne with Véronique and learning more about the fine art of making wine.
Please click here to visit Château Chadenne's website. SmartBox also offers special wine experiences at Château Chadenne that include accommodation and wine tasting. Please click here for more information.
|The description of Chateau Chadenne in Smartbox.|