Chateau de Tiregand Hotels
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Visit Chateau de Tiregand
The Chateau de Tiregand is in Creysse on the eastern edge of Bergerac.
The Chateau de Tiregand is a wine chateau in the Pécharmant appellation. It is ownned by the Saint-Exupéry family relatives of the famous Antoine de Saint-Exupery who wrote the Petit Prince.
Explore the Chateau de Tiregand
The Chateau de Tiregand is a beautiful private chateau thought to date back to the 13th century. The chateau itself is not open to visits however to visit its 17th century wine cellar you get a closer look at the chateau as you drive past. For those of you who really would like to see more the terrace and gardens are opened during the annual France Heritage days (les jours du patrimoine) or a private visit can be arranged by ringing to make a reservation.
The cellars are a little further along the private road and you can simply turn up during opening times for a free tasting (degustation) and of course the opportunity to buy a bottle or two to take home with you.
However if you wish to see a bit more you can take a guided visit. These are available all year round by appointment or you can turn up for a visit on Tuesdays and Fridays without appointments. In the morning at 10.30 am the visits are in French and in the afternoons at 02.30 pm the visits are in English.
The visits are interesting and begin with a look at the vines. At Chateau de Tiregand the wines are organic. This means that when you look at the vines they are not quite as pristinely tidy as at some chateaus. In order to keep the soil healthy and with a good microbic population, and to attract insects grass is left to grow in between every second row. And since no herbicides are used this also includes weeds.
The guide also tells of the importance of the natural slope, the soil type and even the relationship to the river in describing what grape varieties can be grown and how this compares for example with the wines of Monbazillac on the other side of the Dordogne river.
In brief the Monbazillac vines have mist from the river on them in the morning which leads to the production of a fungus on the grapes. This fungus is a 'good' fungus, often called the 'noble rot' and leads to the production of a very sweet wine. The drier slopes of the Pecharmant area do not have this rot and so dry wines are produces.
The visit then moves on to the area where the grapes are pressed and the fermentation process begins. A room with big steel vats but which is hard to remain in because of the sulphur in the air which irritates the throat.
Later the wine is moved to the lovely oak barrels in its cellars where it is aged for different lengths of time according to the wine.
Finally see the racks of wine all being carefully stored in the cool dark cellar and then back to the entrance room for a tasting of the different wines produced here.
Chateau de Tiregand wines
The crisp white wine produced is a dry white wine produced under the Bergerac appellation controlée. It is a young wine and good value at around 5 euros (2013 prices).
Likewise the rosé is a nice fruity wine and again costs 5 euros.
The reds are the real speciality of Tiregand and these have been winning various awards. It is interesting at the degustation (tasting) to compare the Chateau de Tiregrand 2008 and 2009. Using the same process and the same grape varieties you can taste the difference that 1 years aging and a different harvest make. These sell at 9.75 and 11 euros respectively. Although the 2008 has the benefit of an extra year 2009 was a better harvest.
Pride of place is the Cuvée Grand Millésime which is only produced in years when the conditions were excellent. These spend 12 to 18 months in oak barrels and are best drunk after four years or so. They have a voluptuous, slightly tannic taste. These sell for about 20 euros a bottle.
The Pecharmant appellation only applies to red wines which is why the Tiregand white and rosé wines are AOC Bergerac. Pecharmant, which means charming hill, is a small appellation located on the hills above and to the east of Bergerac. Bergerac wines are reputedly on the up and whilst less well known internationally Pecharmant wines are considered to be superior to many of the Bergerac wines.
Antoine de Saint Exupery
Antoine de Saint-Exupery famous throughout the world for his book 'the Little Prince' was an aviator who was lost at sea during the second world war whilst on a reconnaissance flight. He pioneered the arimail service 'Aeropostale' and had an accident in the desert and these and other experiences are recounted in his books which include 'Terre des Hommes' (Wind, sand and stars) and L'Aviateur (The Aviateur). These books are important works in French culture, indeed 'Terre des Hommes' was one of the books studied by our daughter for her bacculauriat.
Though not direct descendents of Antoine the Saint Exuperys of Chateau de Tiregand are part of the same family and there is some information about him on display at the chateau.
Places to Visit Nearby
The neighbouring town of Bergerac is a beautiful town with an excellent medieval centre. It has a Maison du Vin for wine enthusiasts to visit to find out more about the wines of Bergerac, Pecharmant and Monbazillac.
The Chateau of Monbazillac is not only open for visits to the chateau but also offers wine tastings of its highly regarded sweet white wines.
You can find more local travel ideas in the Aquitaine guide.