Château L’Église-Clinet Retrospective, 2015

It is perhaps ironic that it was when I was standing on the limestone ridge above the town of Castillon-la-Bataille when the realisation dawned that – unless I departed immediately – I was going to be late. Here I was on the edge of the vineyard of Château Montlandrie, Denis Durantou’s viticultural outpost in Castillon, when on checking my watch I suddenly recognised it was time head out to the Petit Versailles of the Périgord, otherwise known as Château des Vigiers. And who should I be due to meet, in Périgord, in 35 minutes time, but none other than Denis Durantou (pictured below) himself. Hopping into my hire car tout suite I punched a few instructions into the sat-nav unit and, with a spit of gravel from under the front tyres, I was off to my first major tasting of this brief visit to Bordeaux.

After about five hundred metres I disengaged the gearstick, and engaged my brain. Satellite navigation can be invaluable – having rejected it in luddite fashion many years ago, I now use it regularly when travelling in Europe – but like many technologies the information it provides has to be viewed with a healthy degree of scepticism. And I had quickly realised that instead of heading east, as expected, I was being taken south and west, and I appeared to be about to cross the Dordogne, onto the Entre-Deux-Mers, and then back to Bordeaux. I don’t know which Vigiers I was being directed to, but it certainly wasn’t the right one. There is a town of the same name, I note, down by Montelimar, so perhaps that was it. That would have been quite a drive! Coming back to the matter at hand though, I needed to locate the correct Château des Vigiers, and my time was already tight.

Château L'Église-Clinet

Swinging the car around I backtracked and headed east, following my nose, the sat-nav now objecting to my disobedience at every junction. Fortunately I spent a very enjoyable holiday in Bergerac a few years ago, soaking up the sun (and making the best of some very affordable accommodation) and driving up to Pomerol and St Emilion when the fancy took me, and so I knew the roads out past Sainte Foy-le-Grande reasonably well. I confess I made one wrong turn in Pineuilh, taking a right one roundabout too soon, but otherwise the drive went without a hitch. I rolled up at Château des Vigiers more-or-less on time.

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