“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, land the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.” — John Muir
It was mid-point on our tour of Bordeaux, during an unseasonal and spectacularly beautiful Indian summer on the last day of September, I awoke after a night of travelers’ sleep, a mix of exhaustion, anxiety and excitement combined to create a disjointed and disorienting slumber. The amber morning light bathed the room in light as I struggled to remember where I was. A quick restorative shower and down to breakfast to greet half of our group. The breakfast at Les Galantes was delightful, with an amazing assortment of homemade pastries, and delicious and much needed espresso. There are three rooms at Les Galantes, my room overlooked the local lycée and had a large private patio. The other rooms had their own charms, one had a fireplace, and the other a private salon. Each of us thought we had the best room — hostelry happiness achieved. Our driver, André arrived, our gear was packed into the Mercedes and we ventured forth to our first appointment of the day, meeting the rest of the party at Château Tire Pé.
Château Tire Pé is located atop a steep hillside overlooking the Garonne River, 90 yards below. The chateau is named after the hillside, La Côte de Tire Pé, which in turn is named after field animals farting (tirant le pet) as they exerted themselves as they climbed the steep hill. Yes, scatological farm humor. And even before lunch too. No worries. At least we got that out of our system.
The estate is bucolic in its rustic splendor, from the saffron colored château to the golden vineyards sloping into the dark river below, a picture of pastoral radiance. Hélène and David Barrault have owned Château Tire Pé since 1997, neither of them had any experience or family history in viticulture. No matter. Winemaking isn’t in the blood, it’s in the heart. And the wines of Château Tire Pé have heart. And character. Fredric Koeppel describes the wines as beautiful and glamorous. I’m going to say delicious. I’m also going to say value. All of the Château Tire Pé wines are worthy of your love, but my favorite was the Château Tire Pé Diem, with a retro-cool label designed by Hélène, the merlot is unoaked and with fresh flavors of blackberries and blueberries, it could be your everyday wine, especially with the price at under $10 USD. For the low-down on all the wines we tasted, read the Château Tire Pé article at Bigger Than Your Head. The Barrault’s believe in sustainable agriculture, using no herbicides or chemical fertilizers on their land, as it’s their duty to be good stewards of the land for the next generation. The wines are imported by Jenny & François in the United States.
Château Tire Pé offers more than delicious wine, you can stay in one of the three rooms (as half our group did), have lunches, dinners, receptions and cooking classes, as well as pony riding lessons for the children.
The Wine Harlots pony lessons were part of a press tour sponsored by Planet Bordeaux.
photo credit: EatonAlive ©2011