Wednesday/Thursday: Saint-Emilion

Our castle room is fantastic! What a lucky find on Airbnb.

Our hosts, Annick and Pierre, run the vineyard here and it has been in the family for four generations – five now that their son is out of college and actively working in the business.

We enjoyed a tour of their impressive wine-making operation where wine is still made traditionally – quite a tedious process from what we observed. Some of their equipment, like the numbered vats where the wine ferments – were made in the late 1800s. They produce about 45,000 bottles of wine annually. We tried some from 2016, 15, and 14, and liked it a lot. Yes, of course we got a few bottles to take with us.

Our small room in the castle is almost unbelievable, with ancient stone walls and very old solid wood furniture. It is much warmer here than in Ireland but the castle is probably naturally cool all the time. (It does not have wifi or television, and electrical outlets are scarce.)

Annick dropped off a fresh baguette and her own jam this morning and I met up with her after my run into town. (I thought I had woken up just before 7am, but with the time change it was actually an hour later. I guess I was tired after our long drive yesterday.) She is a schoolteacher and told me kids have school from 8-5 just four days a week, off on Wednesday.

We explored Saint-Emilion, full of many wine shops, cheese shops, and plenty of restaurants. The streets are very narrow and ancient, and sometimes tricky to walk on with their sharp, jutting rocks. It is beautiful and charming to walk around and very interesting to drive around. Grapes are harvested this time of year and workers are in the vineyards getting the job done.

photos: above – the door to our castle room.

below – wine vats from the 1800s, still used

bottles of wine produced by the vineyard