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March, 2014

Bountiful, Bewildering and Beguiling Bordeaux

by Debra Fioritto & Kathy Morton

If you find the region and the wines of Bordeaux bewildering, here is a fascinating way to enhance your knowledge. We can personally attest to an unforgettable experience with Bernard Magrez, who has created a luxurious way to discover the wonderful world of Bordeaux wines. Owner of 28 vineyards around the world, Monsieur Magrez invites you to appreciate the local appellations and the varied terroir of this region...and offers a refined and intimate experience at three of his prestigious properties in the area.

Chateau Pape Clément

Upon your arrival in Bordeaux, your chauffeur is waiting for you with the Rolls Royce Phantom. Marc caters to your every whim - if you have a question he doesn't know, he discreetly makes a phone call until he finds the answer! He takes you to each of the chateaux, where a cellar master awaits to give you a private tour of the vat rooms and cellars. He'll explain the complexities of the Bordeaux appellations and the art of wine making, followed by a tasting of the finest vintages.

You may stay at the chateau of your choice, where a butler welcomes you with an aperitif. Be treated to a dinner of regional specialties prepared for you by Chef Jerome, served on Hermes porcelain. Each course is accompanied by the perfect Bordeaux wine. Ready to get started? Here is a brief description of each of the chateaux.

At the heart of Mr. Magrez' estates is Chateau Pape Clément, his flagship Bordeaux property, located in the Pessac Leognan area. The vineyards, first planted by Pope Clément V, the pope who moved the papacy to Avignon in 1309, produce a Grand Cru Classé de Graves. The ornately decorated chateau, built in 1250, maintains a religious theme with clothing of the pope, a collection of artwork and decorative objects which adorn the rooms.

Chateau Le Tour Carnet

No visit to Bordeaux is complete without discovering St. Emilion. The wine from Mr. Magrez' estate, Chateau Fombrauge, is a St. Emilion Grand Cru Classé. Music is the theme at this former 16th- century monastery, specifically around the personally-owned Stradivarius violin. The chaffeur, Marc will drive you to the village of St. Emilion for a private guided of tour of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Finally, explore the Médoc appellation at Chateau Le Tour Carnet, whose tour or tower dates from 1120. This estate, once owned by the family of French philosopher, Montaigne, is one of the oldest in the area. Literature is the dominant theme at the chateau and the decorations will transport you back into the Middle Ages, with canopied beds and views of the moat from the mullioned windows.

After experiencing one of these exceptional chateaux, you'll come away with a deeper knowledge of Bordeaux wines and understand why so many wine lovers are so passionate about them. For a tailor-made visit, call us 888 345 3005 or email us at to arrange your stay.


Tapas with El Greco

Shady alleyways, quiet squares leading from steep cobbled streets, a historic maze dotted with churches and the remains of mosques and synagogues. This is the old quarter of Toledo, where little has changed since 1577, when the great painter Doménikos Theotokópoulos (El Greco) came to the city where his work would reach new technical and artistic heights. This year is the 400th anniversary of El Greco's death in Toledo, and the city will be hosting numerous exhibitions in his honor.

Toledo's extensive old quarter has many bars to enjoy a gourmet tribute to El Greco. Tasting tapas is a deeply-rooted social custom in the city, and most bars and taverns defend the quality of local produce. One example is Adolfo Coleccion, a restaurant and tapas bar owned by local chef Adolfo Munoz, who offers a perfect combination of traditional recipes presented in a modern style. Don't miss his stewed partridge with baby vegetables and king scallop with Manchego pisto (a fried vegetable and tomato mix) and Manchego cheese are delicious.

We recommend two other establishments for tapas: in Plaza San Nicolás stop in La Abadia to try their grilled venison mini-steak, plus their partridge pâté with Manchego cheese. Alfileritos 24, a restaurant and tapas bar occupying an entire old house and inner courtyard which, like many other houses in Toledo's old quarter, still preserves its original vaulted cellars. Try the creamy boletus croquettes or venison with apple on toast. Email us at for more information.

King scallop with Manchego pisto

For further information and other destinations call us Toll Free on 888 345 3005 or email

We look forward to helping you plan your uncommon epicurean adventure!