Château La Patache
The story of Château La Patache can only begin with the pataches, the bone-shaker horse-drawn carriages that were, in the first half of the 19th century, the fastest and most efficient mode of transport from one town to the next not only in France, but across Europe. This would of course soon come to an end, as the railway came to dominate from the mid-19th century onwards, but for a time it was the stage coach ruled.
With stage coaches come coaching inns of course, a place for weary travellers to rest after a long day of being jolted about on poorly maintained roads, and where weary horses could be changed. Two hundred years ago just such an inn stood at the side of the road to the north of Libourne. It was located in what is now the secteur La Patache, at the northern limit of what is now the Pomerol appellation. As you head south on the D1089 here, past Château La Grave à Pomerol on the left, and a few unassuming buildings on your right, there is tiny offshoot of tarmac which heads off north-west, into the vines. This is the Rue da la Patache, and it is surely the location of the old coaching inn. Having said that, of the two stone-built maisons that flank this little road, Château La Croix Taillefer and Château du Castel, neither look sufficiently large to have once served as an inn.
A little further north, on the Chemin de la Combe, lies what is now called Château la Patache, the existence of which dates to at least 1874, when it was listed in that year’s edition of Cocks et Féret in the possession of the Larroucaud family. I’m not convinced this was once an inn either, but whereas I may be uncertain of its history I am certain of one thing; this is a Pomerol estate to watch. That this is so is down to the current proprietor Peter Kwok who has installed a good team here, and who – with his focus on a single plot of vines on the Pomerol plateau – is clearly aiming high.