Friday, May 8, 2015

Les Sources de Caudalie - A relaxing day at the Spa


Sometimes Moms need rejuvenating!
This post is a combination of photos from last June and from my morning the other day.  Last Mother's Day, my girls asked me what I wanted for a gift.  In the past they have picked out some of my most favorite pieces of jewelry, but last year I asked for a gift certificate for a massage or facial.  To my surprise, they offered me a 1/2 day at Les Sources de Caudalie where I could pick a 50 min. service and also enjoy the spa facilities.  What a wonderful gift - I was so excited to receive it.  Then in June, I along with other local Bordeaux bloggers received a tour of the facility and I couldn't wait to spend some relaxing time there!
Mother's Day in France is the end of May and with starting work last June, then the summer, then moving this Fall and the craziness of the holidays - my special day kept getting postponed...
But last Monday, I finally got to enjoy a super relaxing morning in the Spa including a wonderful facial.  (Probably one of the best facials I have ever received!).  
I went with a friend of mine and we were welcomed warmly when we arrived.  We were given our sandals and escorted into the locker rooms. There are separate locker rooms for men and women. It's very quiet there, super relaxing and also welcoming at the same time.  They speak both French and English, so for anyone who doesn't feel comfortable speaking French, don't worry, you will be fine.  We were shown lockers, how they worked and given a robe.  We were then given a mini-tour of the spa facility being shown the jet pool, sauna room and sitting area.  All decorated in relaxing hues and warm and welcoming at the same time.
The use of the spa is in addition to your spa service and can be used before or after your appointment.  In our case, we arrived 2 hours early, so we had plenty of time to enjoy the spa area.  We started in the sauna, moved to the Jet pool to massage our backs and then relaxed on the lounge chairs looking out into a beautiful garden.  There is also a hot tub located outdoors right next to the spa.  I can't say enough how rejuvenating and relaxing this morning was...Detente - as they say in French
We were each called for our appointments and were escorted upstairs.  I received a 50 min facial, using Caudalie products appropriate for my skin.  It all felt so good, complete with a neck and shoulder massage.  Then when the masque was setting on my face, the specialist offered a hand or foot massage.  I choose my feet - always enjoying that relaxed feeling after a massage.

At the end of the treatment, we were offered a glass of water or tea and were invited to go back downstairs and relax again in the sitting room.  To be pampered, felt so nice!!

After our service, my friend and I decided to enjoy lunch at one of the restaurants, thereby completing our experience. 
There are 2 main restaurants at the resort-we dined at La Table du Lavoir.  This unusual bistro style restaurant is located in a barn-like structure built with 18th century beams from the cellar at Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte.  The menu is seasonal using fresh ingredients.

Our lunch was 3 courses - Entree, plat and Dessert.  We had choices for each within the menu.  I love white asparagus and it's in season now, so was thrilled to have it as an entree.  My main course - the lamb melted in my mouth and I loved the creativity of the dessert.  They took the local delicacy -The Canele and split them in half adding a a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whip cream and then at the table, we got to watch delicious chocolate sauce being drizzled over the top!!  Super delicious!  A wonderful meal to finish our zen-like morning!
Les Sources de Caudalie sit next to Chateau Haut Smith Lafitte.  As you drive up, it's extremely picturesque with the chateau and vineyard on your right, complete with some beautiful outdoor sculptures.
The resort is a combination of a hotel with 40 rooms of varying types, the spa facility itself and several restaurants/bar.  The following are photos of the property from last June, when I was toured around with other local Bordeaux bloggers.  You can see from the photos, that it's a stunningly beautiful place, nestled amidst the vines.


Each building/room is beautifully decorated and gives not only a relaxed feeling but also peaceful and welcoming.  The deco varies with each type of accommodation but overall is warm, elegant and natural.  There are regular rooms, suites and cottages allowing for different accommodations for couples, families or groups.
This is a great getaway from the city, located only about 30 minutes from Bordeaux.
After our tour in June, we were treated to a delicious brunch at the La Table du Lavoir,  very impressed with the fresh ingredients back in June and again this last week!
I loved the tour that I received last June - so fun to get to see the place as a whole and I'm excited to share my photos and after enjoying some special time there, it's truly a hidden gem located so close to Bordeaux!!  
Beautiful views of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte as seen from Les Sources de Caudalie.  A feeling of being away from it all is truly captured at this resort. This post is purely my experiences both from touring last June and from enjoying a wonderful spa treatment this past week.  I do encourage anyone who is living in this area or visiting to check out the resort - it's an unforgettable experience!

For further information about  - click on this link for their web-page - Les Sources de Caudalie

Feel free to read more about France from other bloggers - Click on the following logo.
Lou Messugo

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chateau Bernateau - Saint Emilion - Saint-Etienne de Lisse

Chateau Bernateau
A beautiful spot tucked in on the side of the Saint Emilion Plateau

I still constantly marvel at the social network that's been created by facebook, Twitter, instagram and others.  I have connected with people that I would have never imagined meeting - what initially starts out as a simple follow of someone's posts or pictures turns into a great opportunity and sometimes even new friendships develop. It really opens up one's mind and new doors.

Having an opportunity to visit Chateau Bernateau was one such connection.  We found each other on Twitter, our love of Saint Emilion being the common factor and soon started up a simple conversation that  turned into myself having an opportunity to visit this lovely vineyard and Chateau.

I arrived on a somewhat deary Tuesday afternoon and was greeted by the friendly Karine Lavau. Karine is the wife of the current manager/owner - Pierrick Lavau.  She's delightful and shared with me so much about this wonderful place and the passion her husband, a qualified oneologist and her have about winemaking and this family owned chateau.

Chateau Bernateau has been owned by the Lavau family for at least 8 generations.  It's located in Saint-Etienne de Lisse part of the AOC - Saint Emilion and covers 8 hectaires.  This is one of 2 chateau (or vineyards) owned by the Lavau family.  The other one is Chateau Tour Peyronneau  with vines located closer to Libourne but also part of the AOC Saint Emilion.  

It's was pure delight to walk around their property and see the vats and the chai (barrel aging cellar). She explained that her husband is very picky about the type of barrels that are used - they want them to enhance and deepen the fruit flavor. She further elaborated that they use a variety of barrels to age the wine - enhancing each grape variety.  I could tell how passionate they are about using the unique terrior and blending the grapes to create some wonderful wines.  I was anxious to try them as just her description gave me a sense of the love that this family has to create something special.  I loved how she explained that for the birth years of their children, her husband wanted to create unique blends to remember and honor the births.
They have also chosen to go organgic with their winemaking - further demonstrating the love and respect of the environment from where their grapes grow. 

The grapes of Chateau Bernateau grow in a clay-limestone soil - on hills and the plateaux.  This terrior creates wines that tend to be more concentrated and mineral tasting - almost earthy.  The aromas of the wines I tasted was of red fruit, flowers and a smoky/toasted scent.  The taste a wonderful blend of  flavors that was smooth yet strong, leaving lasting flavors.


The other property belonging to the Lavau family is Chateau Tour Peyronneau.  This chateau has clay and gravely soil plots and is spread out based in three different villages - Saint Etienne de Lisse, Saint Sulpice de Faleyrens and also plots are located in Libourne.  These types of soils provide a spicier or more peppery taste for the wines under this label.  At the same time, these wines have some nice sweetness, are smooth and silky to the taste.  This blend tends to be around 95% Merlot an 5% Cabernet Franc.  Karine explained to me that her husband, Pierrick likes to have fun each year with this wine and adjust the blend to be a little bit different than other wines.
These wines are beginning to be recognized and win excellent reviews and awards.  This is definitely a chateau to not only visit but to also enjoy it's delicious wines.

I felt very welcomed here and it's Karine who is in charge of the wine tourism sector.  They welcome people throughout the year and are open to the genereal public in addition to groups.  She is developing their presence on the web and within the social networks.  This is helping people to understand who they are and their passion for wine making. If you have some preconceived notion about organic wines, I encourage you to try these - they will surprise you! They have a lovely tasting room & boutique along with a recently renovated room for groups to organize lunches or dinners.
I enjoyed tasting the following wines - all were delicious yet different.  Very interesting to compare the same year - but two different terriors.

Château Tour Peyronneau – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – 2009
Château Bernateau – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – 2009
Château Bernateau – Saint-Emilion Grand Cru – 2004


The lovely hostess - Karine Lavau 
Great map of the terrain/terrior of the AOC Saint Emilion - indicating limestone, clay, gravel & sand
Some general facts about the Properties of the family:
Soil of the Chateau Bernateau: clay-limestone hills and limestone plateau (8 hectares)
Soil of the Chateau Tour Peyronneau: sileca gravel, sandy loam and clay loam (12 hectares)
Organic Farming for the whole vineyard

Production: 100,000 bottles - 
Generally: 80% Export Markets-20% France- Chateau Bernateau   
60% Export markets - 40% France - Chateau Tour Peyronneau

3 labels: Château Bernateau (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru), Château Tour Peyronneau (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru), Tertre de Lisse (Saint-Emilion)
Pierrick and Karine Lavau - current managers
Some of their vines are as old as 60-90 years.  


Château Bernateau
33330 Saint-Etienne-de-Lisse
+33 (0)5 57 40 18 19


Anyone, having from basic wine knowledge to more advanced would enjoy visiting this beautiful chateau and would feel welcomed by the Lavau family - in French or in English.

Thank you again to Karine Lavau for this wonderful visit - It was pure delight and I look forward to visiting you again.

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