Bordeaux: Barrel-Making & Spiderwebs At Chateau Haut-Brion.

We began our third full day in Bordeaux with a visit to the Pessac region, and a tour of Chateau Haut-Brion.



The chateau has a lengthy history which is fascinating... And is ran by a prince from Luxembourg. The grounds of the estate are beautiful. But the first thing I found charming about the place was the cooper who makes every single barrel used for the wine.


This is him.  He makes, I'm told, about five barrels a day. And we got to watch him work for a little while.


These are the French oak slabs, already shaped, that are used. He counts them out, organizing what he needs, and then starts to form them inside of a barrel ring.


He then places two other rings over one end, and uses a hammer to tighten them down over the oak.


No glue is used. It's a matter of shaping and fitting the wood, and then tightly adjusting it.

At some point, the oak is "toasted" to enhance it so that it may flavor the wine...


A true craft. I hope he paid in wine.

Speaking of wine...


We tasted two vintages. I can't recall what the other one was... But I only tasted them. I could imagine how wonderful they'd be with a little bit of "lying down" for a few years. So the wine only "entertained" me.

No, what charmed and delighted me were the grounds of the chateau. (Just like at Chateau d'Yquem.)


The fragrance of an entire wall bathed in jasmine was heavenly. I love the smell of jasmine.

We ventured over to the other side of Haut-Brion, to their "Mission" side of the estate. On those grounds was a small chapel...


... Though I don't think it is used as such anymore. We weren't allowed inside.

And the decorative elements throughout the garden were whimsical...


Yet, the most whimsical thing decorating the grounds (for me) was definitely this...


A gorgeous and massive spider web. I saw so many spider webs throughout my visit in Bordeaux. I love them. They add a "charming age" to places.

So much great craftsmanship of all kinds at Chateau Haut-Brion. Indeed!