A grand distance from the road: a heavenly 14th-century château with Provençal towers. Behind: a shuttered 17th-century façade, a courtyard with outbuildings and an avenue lined with young trees. All around, 100 hectares of vines. The de Roquefeuils are an enthusiastic couple, warm, intelligent and good company, working their socks off to make the estate pay (the claret is delicious!). Bedrooms are simple, comfortable and traditional. Floors are carpeted, walls are patterned or plain, bathrooms are functional and up the tower staircase is a furnished landing with videos for early risers. Downstairs are stone flags, rugs, books, paintings, eclectic aristocratic furnishings. Breakfasts, generous and delicious, are served at an octagonal table before the great chimney breast where winter fires blaze. Outside: a swing slung from the trees, a big grassy area for children to enjoy and a sunny pool behind the chai. Take a tour of the cellars (fascinating), then plunge into the wines of Bordeaux and St Emilion.
Chateau de Castelneau Clairet 2012
Loic makes the full range of Bordeaux wines but his clairet – the original claret – really catches the attention. Bordeaux’s take on rosé involves a lot more skin contact during fermentation, resulting in a deeper colour and more substance. This fully dry version hints of raspberries and strawberries and is generous and tongue coating. Outstanding.