In my profile of Château Doisy-Daëne I draw some parallels between the division of the Doisy vineyard, which happened some time during the first few decades of the 19th century, and more famously cleaved left-bank estates such as Château Pichon-Baron and Château Pichon-Lalande, as well as the Léoville trio, Château Léoville-Las-Cases, Château Léoville-Poyferré and Château Léoville-Barton. In such cases it is not unusual to find the offspring devoid of a grand château (although certainly the rule is not unbreakable – it is certainly true in the case of the Léovilles, but not the Pichons!), and indeed it seems true with the Doisy estates as well.
There is certainly no such grandeur to be found at Château Doisy-Daëne, and searching for the château of Château Doisy-Védrines some years ago I concluded the same was true here. Having located the estate – the large sign at the side of the road is something of a clue – I circled it in the hunt for the château, the existence of which I thought inevitable. But my investigation drew a blank. Perhaps, I thought to myself, the property had never been blessed with any such residence? I had passed along the wall at the front, and found no grand gateway or driveway. I then walked along the wall at the side, eventually coming across a small open gateway, beyond which were a few outbuildings surrounded by all the scattered paraphernalia of winemaking, including bottles, barrels, and the obligatory fierce-looking dog. And behind me was the vineyard. I was clearly in the right place. But no château, it seemed. The fruitlessness of my search left me feeling somewhat dejected; I departed, and the sound of the baying dog soon faded into the distance.
Of course, if I had only thought to look over the wall, I would have caught sight of the attractive residence and 16th-century tower that is Château Doisy-Védrines (pictured above), one of the leading estates of Barsac. Sometimes, there’s just no accounting for stupidity….