Stella Puel, Chateau Bardins

With visits in English, German and French, the dynamic pair are passionate about their wines and keen to share their enthusiasm.  Stella Puel has had the helm at the chateau since 1990, whilst Pascale Larroche runs the workshops and the visits.   Annual events include school visits during the harvest, poetry evenings, medieval festival and photographic exhibitions.  Pascale takes visitors for a tour of vineyards - by bike or on foot - and rounds up with a sensory voyage, using aromas which vary with the seasons from fresh herbs or flowers to jams.  The workshops are hands on, designed to take the time to understand the essence of the wine. 

‘The accumulation of taste experiences forms the taster… We have never stopped learning and therein lies the pleasure’ (S. Puel)

We asked Stella a few questions:

Can you tell us about the history of the property?

Chateau Bardens is amongst the oldest chateaux in the Bordeaux region; there’s a mention of a watermill on the site used by monks in a 14c document. The chateau has been in my family Bernardy de Sigoyer for 150 years.

And your personal history?

I’ve followed my father, my grandfather, my great grandfather and my great great grandfather in having the good fortune to look after the chateau. We seek to harmonise nature and agriculture, balancing technique and taste to produce wines that suit customers palates. I love to watch my children growing up in the countryside and we often welcome groups of youngsters to the property to enjoy the freedom of the grounds.

chateau bardins facade  
portrait stella pascale  

What do you offer in terms of wine tourism at the chateau?

Anything is possible at Chateau Bardins! A classic visit or one tailored specially by Pascale Larroche such as a tasting workshop. We also offer bike tours, orientating and tasting sessions for all the family.

Have a look at our website: www.ateliersdebardins.fr

Atelier dégustation bardins  
Atelier rando vélo Bardins  
biscuit bardins  

What for you is the attraction of your region?

We’re in Pessac-Leognan, the cradle of Bordeaux wines, which is extremely easy to get to. The chateaux and their vineyards are magnificent and very varied and we have wines that are recognized the world over. And of course we have the river which runs alongside the whole of the Pessac-Leognan wine route.

What do you recommend to visitors - and what would you advise that people take home with them?

After a visit to our chateau (of course!), I’d suggest visitors have a look at Chateau Malleret for its stunning position on the banks of the Garonne river, and to take a walk around their beautiful white gardens. The interior of the chateau is also very impressive. I’d suggest they take home bottles of Pessac-Leognan to relive the pleasure of their visit.

Jardin Château Malleret  
château malleret intérieur  

When you have friends staying, where do you take them to see? What are your “unmissables”?

After a good meander through the vineyards, we’d go to Bordeaux. Here we’d have a walk around the old quartier of Saint Pierre and then soak in the atmosphere at the bustling market at Capucins where the locals do their shopping. Other places to go are Palais Gallien which is hidden away from the centre of town and then onto the nearby Marché de Lerme. A great walk to do is ‘the two bridges’ a circular walk along the quays on both sides of the Garonne from the Pont de Pierre to the Pont Chaban Delmas and back along the other side of the river - taking in the views from the left and the right banks.

Going farther afield, are there other vineyards you’d like to visit or to recommend?

I’d suggest a visit to valley of Douro and to Sabrosa in Portugal - but only after having read “Vendanges” by Miquel Torga, because, as he says ‘The Universe is a place with no walls’.