The little Versailles of Médoc
Château Beychevelle in Saint Julien
Entrance for your visit at Château Beychevelle. You start in the shop. We were welcomed by Maud who gave us a very interesting tour (count about 1 hour for it, including wine tasting of course).
Back into history
Bêcha vêla !
Imagine the château at the beginning of the 17th century… The first Duke of Épernon has just become its owner. The reputation of this great French admiral was such that as boats passed in front of his estate, they would lower their sails to show their allegiance. This deep mark of respect gave rise to the château’s emblem, a ship with a griffon-shaped prow; its name in Gascon, Bêcha vêla, meaning “baisse voile” (“lower the sails”), later became Beychevelle.
Men of Power, Women of Taste
An interactive visit in this lovely room. Follow step by step the history of Château Beychevelle, from the Dukes of Épernon to Armand Heine and his American wife Marie-Amélie Kohn (from Louisiana) up to the very beloved couple Pierre- François Guestier and Anna Johnston.
Today, Château Beychevelle belongs to Grands Millésimes de France, which is part of the Castel and Suntory groups, represented by M. Nobuhiro TORII.
Château Beychevelle’s new winery has been custom-made to suit the vineyard, with every vine having a place in a plot-by-plot vinification process, that enables each terroir to express its full complexity and depth. More spacious, and with an improved layout, the new facilities also permit a gentle transfer of the grapes by gravity, very precise temperature control, and extractions adjusted to the characteristics of each VAT.
Combining innovation and tradition, the winery is a perfect reflection of Château Beychevelle’s “haute-couture” expertise.
To get clear explanations about the vineyard, it is always better to get closer. Maud took us in the heart of these vines and it is beautiful to see grapes still ripening..
Some just really want to learn about wine and listened to explanations carefully, others want to be “matchy-matchy” grape & dress, and I only wanted a souvenir picture !
Château Beychevelle has 250 hectares of land, about 90 of which are planted with vines.
The rest consists of grassland where Limousin cows graze, and of pine forests, poplar, ash and walnut trees.
The vineyard is planted with the Médoc’s four traditional grape varieties: 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The vines have an average age of 30 years and are closely planted, with densities of 8,300 to 10,000 vines per hectare.
The vines have an average age of 30 years and are closely planted, with densities of 8,300 to 10,000 vines per hectare; they have developed substantial root systems, enabling them to draw nutrients from deep in the soil, and to cope with the sometimes difficult weather conditions, such as when there are droughts in the summer.
Such a pleasant wine tasting
I am a princess and I know it ! I cannot drink wine like Mummy and my friend but I love spinning around with my dress in the French gardens !
Near the entrance to the château, in the middle of the main courtyard, a huge cedar tree flourishes. It has become increasingly venerable and majestic in its old age. Legend has it that this giant conifer has been standing proudly at Beychevelle for more than 200 years, a symbol of wisdom that, year after year, watches over the property’s precious vines, and the beautiful gardens which surround it, where visitors like to stroll.
This Château is a playgroung for children, a great spot for a shooting… I think mummy will love all these beautiful pictures ! A child’s smile is one of life’s greatest blessings… Don’t you agree ? I can’t wait to take my nephew to a Château for his first wine experience !
After this lovely visit we decided to go to the lake in Hourtin. It took us about 30min driving (not including our necessary break…)