During a number of my more lengthy visits to Bordeaux I have stayed to the east of St Emilion and Castillon where, to be frank, I could find the best-value accommodation. Staying over for a week meant it made financial sense to rent a gite or apartment rather than stay in hotels, and the further you move away from Bordeaux and its more famous appellations, the lower the weekly rental fees seem to go. I would drive in to St Emilion along the back roads, through Belvès-de-Castillon, St-Genès-de-Castillon and St-Christophe-des-Bardes, before arriving at the large roundabout to the north of St Emilion, right next to Clos Fourtet and the ruins of the cathedral, the freestanding wall which stands sentry-like at the edge of the town.
This is a route that would take me past a number of notable properties, not least Château de Pressac; this eye-catching château sits on a limestone outcrop overlooking the valley of the Dordogne, and it is surrounded by terraced vineyards (which are not solely to be found in the Douro). The château has historical as well as viticultural significance, as it was where the English officially surrendered in 1453 following their defeat at Castillon-la-Bataille, bringing an end to the Hundred Years’ War. But there are many lesser-known châteaux also dotted along this road, and just a little more than a kilometre before I would catch sight of Château de Pressac I would drive past the relatively unknown Château Cadet. This was not in the appellation of St Emilion, but just across the boundary in Castillon instead; nevertheless, it still has the same desirable limestone soils.
Then, when passing by the estate just a year or two ago, I noticed that the sign outside this rather understated little château had changed; it seemed this was no longer Château Cadet but Domaine de L’Aurage, a name that seemed somehow familiar. Had I not tasted this wine somewhere? Indeed I had; this, as the sign (above) declared, was the domaine of Caroline and Louis Mitjavile, and I had tasted their wine just a few months earlier when visiting Louis’ father, none other than François Mitjavile, of Château Tertre-Roteboeuf.