Châteaux in the legendary Médoc wine-growing area are not renowned for their accessibility, but one establishment which is seeking to reverse that trend is Château d’Agassac in Ludon-Médoc. As well as being arguably one of the prettiest châteaux on the Médoc circuit, it is also capitalising on its rich history to draw in visitors… and has recently opened a restaurant which provides a good excuse to stay that little bit longer.
Historically, the château’s roots date back to the 13th century. At the time a wooden fortress stood here, erected by local dignitary Gaillard de Gassac to protect the city of Bordeaux from the enemy (i.e. the French, as the area was under British rule at the time). It is said that the fortress was destroyed and rebuilt as a stone castle, and that the land was given to Gaillard de Gassac as a reward for his efforts, his title becoming Seigneur d’Agassac (agasse being the Gascon word for magpie; Médoc lords were frequently given the names of birds).
The lineage of the original Seigneur d’Agassac died out after a second generation, and the château and its lands were sold on to the d’Albret family, and in the late 16th century to the Pommiers (or Pomies) family. The subsequent period proved pivotal, with the addition of an upper level to the castle, completing the transformation of the fortified castle into a mansion house. A bridge over the 3-metre-deep moat was also added, substantially improving the building’s accessibility! And, importantly, the surrounding marshland was dried out and vines were planted.
|The upper level linking up two towers.|
|Remnants of the fortified castle and (below) signs of differing construction techniques from different eras.|
|Outside and inside views of the pigeonnier!|
|Gravelly ground near the château, also planted with barley for added azote.|
|The former sheepfold where wine is now produced.|
|A peek behind the scenes in the restaurant kitchen.|
Leaving the château, you can’t help thinking that D’Agassac has struck the right balance between history, wine, gastronomy and making the place as welcoming and accessible as possible to the general public. And now they can celebrate the ultimate accolade: the Invisible Bordeaux seal of approval.
- Find it on the Invisible Bordeaux map:
- Château d'Agassac, Ludon-Médoc
- Official websites: www.agassac.com & http://tabledagassac.com
- Big thanks to Kevin for the guided tour and to Julia for setting up the visit!
- Cet article est également disponible en français !