I don’t think I was quite prepared for my first sight of Château Haut-Bergey. I did know its wines quite well, having tasted them in a selection of different vintages. The proprietors, the Garcin-Lévêque family, own a number of other domaines dotted around Bordeaux and there is an identifiable house style. The wines were certainly as expected, showing a typically rich character, one that features advanced maturity at harvest. In that regard, then, there was no suggestion of anything out of the ordinary.
Catching a glimpse of the château for the first time, however, certainly did provide a surprise. It occupies a position very close to the centre of Léognan, on the Cours Gambetta, not far from Château Malartic-Lagravière. The château is set back a little from the road, surrounded on all sides by vineyard and parkland, while around the periphery are the suburbs of Léognan and patches of woodland. Even so, not even the many mature trees that encircle it can hide the charm of this building, compact yet so ornate. Its elegant facades are framed by turrets both octagonal and round, one topped off with faux Medieval castellations, others with tiled, pointed roofs.
The château thus seems to ooze history from its walls, but this miniature Villandry is in fact a 19th-century creation, built in a mix of styles. It is, I suppose, something of a folly. That it was built so recently perhaps reflects the unusual history of the domaine, which is worth exploring.