A Tale of Two Vineyards

Articles, Blog article

A bottle of Three Feathers Estate Pinot Noir perched on a vineyard wall with the town Saint-Emilion in the background, Bordeaux region, Gironde, France.

The adventure started with a neighborly “getting to know you” over coffee in our Normand vacation home, English Channel in the distance.  A dear girlfriend wished to introduce me to two childhood friends of hers, sisters, living in Normandy and vacationing in Bordeaux: “They make wine and so do you, so it should be fun to meetup!” she said, and without further ado, we did.  In our small home in the Shire (as we have nicknamed our seaside village next to Cherbourg), two worlds connected in coincidental ways; American and French, Bordeaux and Burgundy….  We met Agnès and Cécile Corre, sisters and partners in the family-owned domain of Château Pavie-Macquin in Saint-Emilion and they brought over an extraordinary bottle of their 2006 Château Pavie-Macquin 1er Grand Cru Classé as a hostess gift for dinner.  Mutual plans were laid to sally forth and explore unknown lands with this bunch of merry women. In the summer of 2017, Agnès traveled to Oregon with her children to visit family in Eugene and made a long detour to Three Feathers on Chehalem Mountains.  Agnès was impressed with our endeavors at Three Feathers, called them “pioneering”, and said our story was reminiscent of her grandparent’s … Read More

A Garden Party at Brécy Castle

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Garden Party during Patrimony Day 2018 to commemorate Barbara Wirth at Brécy Castle Gardens, Saint Gabriel Brécy, France.

A Garden Party at Brécy Castle Patrimony Day in France happens once a year and enables curious visitors to see and experience treasures of French patrimony that are not typically open to the public.  This year, I had the pleasure of experiencing several special places dressed for the occasion under beautiful blue sky of mid-September all in one weekend.  The first and foremost is Brécy Castle Gardens, which I had already photographed in 2012 with a large format film camera. This year, a private invitation was launched to commemorate the fifth year of the passing of Barbara Wirth.  Gardener extraordinaire, she and her husband Didier orchestrated the restoration of the gardens of Brécy from their purchase of the château in 1992. We learn, in reading the marvelous and freshly published Florilegium of Brécy Garden by Béatrice Saalburg and Catherine Watters, that the key to the elegance of this garden is a striking harmony of “just enough” in Barbara’s selection of plants.  To complement graphically dominant yew, hornbeam and boxwood topiary, of which an intricate parterre de broderie on the ground level sets the stage for the terraces, Barbara added a savvy selection of roses, clematis, hellebore, lily and iris.  She … Read More

Cross-Cultural Fairy Tales, or A Yarn Well-Spun

Articles, Blog article

Entrance to the Château de Maulmont, Saint-Priest-Bramefant, France.

Cross-Cultural Fairy Tales, or A Yarn Well-Spun One fine Saturday in June the stage was set for a celebration of Love and Life at the historical Château de Maulmont located in the Auvergne region of France.  Having fallen in love with France first, and her husband-to-be second, my girlfriend discovered this quintessentially French hunting lodge not far from her fiancé’s native town of Vichy and planned a fabulous wedding party where their guests could lodge on premises. In a miniature re-enactment of a French Court assembly, she booked the entire château including rooms for family and friends traveling from afar, local friends with small children and couples who would enjoy partaking of a true Château experience. A little history about this charming location: Originally a Templar’s stronghold in the 13th century built by Renaud de Vichy after returning home from the crusades, the château was acquired by Guillaume de Maulmont in an exchange with Phillipe Le Bel (then King of France).  In 1829 it became the property of Princess Adelaïde Louise d’Orléans, sister of King Louis Philippe d’Orléans, who also owned the royal estate in Randan.  Princess Adelaïde demolished old Templar ruins and commissioned the construction a hunting lodge by … Read More