Exploring the five senses in the Médoc

Spending a night in a French château may be the stuff of childhood dreams, but a stay at the Michelin Guide – recommended Les Cinq Sens du Château Mayne Lalande is a truly grown-up escape.

Quality wine is at the heart of this 19th-century maison d’hôtes (guest-house), located deep in the vineyard of Listrac-Médoc, less than one hour’s drive from Bordeaux, France.

The signature package is the Grands Crus, which includes two nights in the largest of the bright bedrooms (five bedrooms, five senses), and a winery tour by owner and passionate winemaker Bernard Lartigue.

This includes an explanation of the entire process – including cold maceration at eight degrees Celsius in 60 hectolitre stills, and cask maturation for 12 to 15 months. The tour ends with a tasting session, of both the pre-harvest grapes and the wine itself, in the 420-barrels cellar. Each choice is selected personally, for what Lartigue calls an « oenological trip around the Médoc ». « My priority is to open the region to the outside, and to make great wine », explains Lartigue. « That keeps me going ».

There’s more : guests are given the key to the cellar, and are free to taste whatever they like from the impressive 7,000-bottle collection. This might mean savouring a glass of wine paired with dishes made by on-site private chef Albert. Well-known in France, he cooks to order, and brings years of training in Michelin-star restaurants to an ever-changing menu of fresh and local ingredients. Guests also have access to a heated jacuzzi and sauna, and can book a massage for an added literal touch of luxury.

« We aim to wake up all five senses », explains Lartigue, in reference to the site’s evocative name; and it’s clear : with wine, gastronomy, luxury, and stunning countryside, this peaceful haven does just that.

Hannah Jane Thompson