We have all dreamt of it at times, even if just for a fleeting moment. To wake up and throw open the shutters, allowing the shafts of sunlight that were already peeking through to fully illuminate the room, permitting entry to the heady scents of lavender and honeysuckle that waft up from below. Out there, before you, aligned in neat rows stretching down to the dirt track at the foot of the estate, is your vineyard, or at least one part of it. It surrounds you, your 18th-century residence standing central within it, proud, perhaps temple-like, at the very least palatial. A walk around the vines is in order, you think to yourself, but only after a hearty breakfast of course.
A visit to Château Gilette (pictured above) does not quite match up with this naive and idealistic image of life on a Bordeaux estate. The Médeville family have had a presence in the Sauternes appellation for many years, but they have no pretty château nestled among the vines. They are located in the very heart of the town of Preignac, down a cramped, dead-end side street; indeed, drive too far and you end up in the “yellowing Garonne” of which Ausonius wrote.Please log in to continue reading: