fiefdom of a listed, 18th & 19th century chateau, one of the great Pécharmant appellations
Some 1½ hours from Bordeaux, now with 2-hour rail links to Paris courtesy of the high-speed train line; less than an hour from tourist towns such as Sarlat-la-Canéda and Montignac-Lascaux. In the Purple Périgord region, less than ten minutes from the town centre of Bergerac, its capital, labelled as a “Town and region of art and history” (train station, international airport and hospital). This property is an ideal starting point for exploring one of France’s leading tourist regions which, with its particularly temperate climate, is pleasant to live in all year round. These climate conditions, together with a suitable soil, are therefore perfectly favourable for growing the omnipresent vines and producing quality wines with such renowned appellations as Pécharmant and Monbazillac. The magnificent landscapes are, furthermore, enhanced by the ever-popular Dordogne Valley and dotted with superb fortified towns like Eymet, Beaumontois-en-Périgord, Montpazier and Lalinde, a multitude of chateaux as well as picturesque villages.
The original castle first saw the light of day in the 13th century in accordance with the wishes of Edward Tyrgand, a natural son of Henry III of England. It was partially destroyed at the time of the French Revolution. The elegant, stately home as it exists today was above all the 18th century work of Jean-Charles-d’Augeard, chief magistrate of the Bordeaux appeal court, for whom it was a summer residence. Major redesigning works were subsequently undertaken in the 19th century by Count César-Alexandre-de-La-Panouse, a member of parliament in Paris, as of 1826, and then by his son César-Armand-Anatole-de-La-Panouse, around 1850. France-de-Boutray, his great grand-daughter, inherited the property in the 20th century. Through her marriage with Count François-de-Saint-Exupéry in 1941, the property then belonged to the descendants of this very well-known family. Since the redesigning works carried out as of 1850, the main house has been flanked by two impressive pavilions, bearing the coat-of-arms of the La-Panouse family, as well as medallions featuring their initials. The stables and the outbuildings adjoin them on the north side, thus delimiting a courtyard. The west pavilion also adjoins the second, older house dating from the 18th century which follows on longitudinally. Positioned where different buildings meet, the edifice provides a direct link, the floors being reached via an outstanding hanging spiral stairway, without a stairwell wall. Made of wrought wood, it is encircled by marble columns. The chateau’s entrance pavilion is also joined to it, featuring arcades, topped with a zinc roof adorned with fish-scale tiles, and extended by a gallery looking down on to the dry moat bordering the north facade of the second house. Furthermore, some of the many roof dormers are also clad with zinc, these alternating with those still made of local stone, highlighting the desire of the owners at the time to bring a touch of urban modernity to the country. Spanning two levels, three for the pavilions, excluding the mezzanine, cellars and attic space, the buildings are topped with slate roofs, whilst the upper slopes on the Mansard style roofs of the main house, the outbuildings and the stables are covered with interlocking tiles. The interiors span approx. 2,350 m² of living space (excluding the 235 m² of cellars and attic space). This property, still exuding great elegance, is marked by a wonderful patina of time, preserving the authenticity of the premises, and includes a large number of original architectural features still in an excellent state of repair: chevron, strip or ladder pattern parquet flooring, cement floor tiles, French and coffered ceilings, panelling, painted and stucco decoration, indoor shutters, fireplaces with their trumeaux, etc. Although the interiors are pleasant and still bear witness to a simple but refined art of living, it will nevertheless be necessary to schedule major works as regards decoration and comfort in order to preserve the existing and to adapt it to the demands of modern-day living.
The main entrance is in the west pavilion, forming the link between the two houses. A second entrance is more regularly used, that on the north facade of the main house, accessed from the courtyard. It opens into a bright, long gallery providing east to west access to all the various rooms on this level, including six lounges, a dining room, a ladies’ sitting room, two studies, three bedrooms and two shower rooms. The adjoining lounges and reception rooms are laid out along the south facade, opening on to the parklands and the terraces. The numerous openings let in copious amounts of light, enhancing the elegance of the premises, despite the patina of time. Most of the ceilings go up to a height of more than 4 metres. Three stairways, in addition to that housed in the entrance hall, provide access to the first floor. The west wing is essentially given over to utility purposes: the kitchens and their annexe rooms (pantry, larder, storeroom), as well as a laundry room. With cement and terracotta floor tiles, a stone fireplace, a kitchen range, a set of copper utensils on the wall, the atmosphere of yesteryear is ever present. A little stairway goes down to a series of vaulted cellars in the basement, whilst another goes upstairs. The entrance porch, providing access to the courtyard, as well as a woodshed following on, form the link with the north wing, housing the stables, the harness room and the tack rooms. Modernised offices and garages take up the east wing, where a passageway also provides access to the outbuildings laid out to the rear.
This level is essentially given over to accommodation. The layout of the rooms is similar to that on the floor below. The two houses comprise a total of 14 bedrooms, some of which include a dressing room. Almost all the bedrooms face south, making it possible for residents to appreciate an unobstructed view over the parklands and its terraces. There are five shower rooms. The rooms, all of a good size, are soberly decorated, but the patina of time is more clearly marked here than on the ground floor. The west, east and north wings were previously used for accommodating domestic staff. Although the rooms are smaller and their decoration more sober, they are equally as pleasant and are generally in a good state of repair. Workshops, old storerooms, a place used for drying the laundry as well as an attic complete this level.
Both pavilions flanking the main house have an additional floor which was previously inhabited. These floors comprise several rooms, with sloping ceilings, awaiting restoration and respectively spanning approx. 50 and 85 m², a total of 135 m² of living space. The west pavilion also provides access to the attic space (approx. 140 m²) in the 18th century house.
The chateau's outbuildings
The various outbuildings, to the east of the chateau, delimit a courtyard. They can be accessed via the parklands laid out on the south side, by following a little corridor through the east wing of the house or via the north by means of a covered, high-ceilinged passageway set between the house of the vineyard manager (approx. 104 m², excluding cellars and attic space) and that of the estate manager (approx. 323 m², excluding cellars and attic space). These buildings are completed with the gardener’s house (93 m², excluding the cellar), a large workshop (approx. 60 m²), an orangery (approx. 74 m²), a chapel (approx. 24 m²), utility rooms and storage areas (a total of approx. 207 m²), as well as a recently constructed, refrigerated building, used for storing unlabelled bottles of wine (approx. 79 m²). Apart from the latter, the estate manager’s house is the only one that is in a very good state of repair; the other outbuildings are all in need of rehabilitation work.
The vineyard is set in the midst of an area with Pécharmant appellation, 5 minutes to the east of Bergerac. Created in the 11th century, the Pécharmant vineyards are the oldest and the most well-known in the French department of Dordogne. Granted AOC classification in 1946, they extend over a total surface area of 441 hectares. Destroyed by frost in 1956, these vineyards have been redesigned several times and it was only recently that a balanced method of planting was established, giving the grapes early maturity with better juice concentration.
It was notably corrected as of 1989, with a campaign to pull up the vine stock and to replant it in rows closer together.
The Pécharmant vineyards are mostly composed of south-facing slopes, receiving exceptional amounts of sunlight. The soils are made up of Périgord gravel, sand and clay, rich in iron and manganese, enabling deep rooting (> 2.00 m) and an excellent permeability with a normal level of organic matter. The particularity of these vineyards comes from their “Périgord sand and gravel” soil, the clay and iron of which have been drawn to the subsoil by superficial leaching. This deep, impermeable layer, known as “Tran”, is what gives Pécharmant appellation wines their unique taste.
This chateau currently spans a planted surface area of 40.5598 hectares. The vine varieties used for red wines are traditional to Pécharmant: a majority of Merlot (54%), Cabernet Sauvignon (23%), Cabernet Franc (18%), Malbec (5%) and Sauvignon Blanc. Intense fruitiness and roundness from the Merlot, finesse and bouquet from the Cabernet Franc, body and structure from the Cabernet Sauvignon, violet and mild spices from the Malbec. The wines produced from blending them, full and rich in tannin, give clear indications of their quality: a beautiful rich, dark colour as well as elegant and very delicate aromas. The chateau vineyard also has 1.65 hectares growing white wine varieties with 90% Sauvignon and 10% Sémillon: enabling the estate to produce a very pleasant Bergerac Blanc Sec, with notes of lemon, almonds and white peaches.
The vineyard is run in accordance with integrated farming methods and a great deal of investment has been made. Maturity is encouraged in the vines through hard pruning, nipping off buds, green harvesting and leaf stripping. The property has been awarded the French “High Environmental Value” (Haute Valeur environnementale) classification for its cultural practices respectful of the environment.
Pécharmant, Bergerac Blanc, Rosette.
Red: Merlot (55.87%), Cabernet Sauvignon (26.42%), Cabernet Franc (10.09%), Cot (07.62%).
White: Sauvignon Blanc (87.09%), Semillon (12.97%).
Rosette: Semillon (100%).
Age moyen des vignes
Red: 10 years old (28.14%), 25 years old (42.36%), 35 years old (09.51%), older (19.98%).
White: 25 years old (100%).
Rosette: 10 years old (100%).
Nombre de pieds à l'hectare
Red: 2,380 stock per hectare (0.70%), 4,000 stock per hectare (21.80%), 5,700 stock per hectare (56.60%), 6,349 stock per hectare (16.30%).
White: 5,700 stock per hectare (100%).
Rosette: 6,349 stock per hectare (100%).
Most of the production is sold to restaurants (41%). Wine is also sold directly to private customers from the shop in the wine storehouse (34%). The rest is exported (8%).
The top of the range sells for €22 per bottle. The “premier vin” or next in line sells for €13 per bottle and the “second vin” sells for €8 per bottle. All prices are inclusive of VAT.
Numerous awards have been won from competitions such as the “Concours Général Agricole” in Paris”, the “Concours des Grands Vins de France” in Macon and the “Concours de Bordeaux - Vins d’Aquitaine”.
The chateau is also featured in various guidebooks “Hachette”, “Bettane & Desseauve”, “Wine Enthusiast, etc.
The wine-making activity is predominantly installed in the chateau’s outbuildings on the site known as the “Old Castle”. It comprises several buildings:
- A first wine storehouse housing the wine-making facilities with a total capacity of 3,017 hectolitres, with different types of temperature-controlled vats. This building is used for receiving the harvest, fermenting and bottling. All the required equipment is on site: a sorting table, a stalk separator and crusher, a must pump, five wine pumps, a tubular exchanger, a plate filter, a bottling plant, a heat and cold generator as well as a horizontal wine-press.
- A second building (with French Historic Monument listing) is used for ageing the wines in casks, labelling bottles, preparing orders and selling to private customers. It notably houses: five cask storehouses, a total of 480 casks, a bottle storage room, a dry product storage room as well as a salesroom with a wine cabinet, a dishwasher, reception tables and presentation counters.
- Unlabelled bottles are stored in a separate building on the “Sans Pareil” farm and in an outbuilding adjoining the east wing of the chateau.
The horse-riding centre
On the north-west side of the chateau, this horse-riding centre spans a surface area of approx. 3 hectares. It comprises bridle paths, a covered riding arena, a schooling arena, 35 horse loose boxes and administrative buildings. A commercial lease is ongoing.
“The Old Castle”
These outbuildings partially comprise the vestiges of the primitive medieval castle, dating from the 13th century (with French Historic Monument listing). They currently house the wine storehouse and its facilities. The presence of a wine storehouse on this site has been referenced since 1668. Its structure is composed of wood from Bergerac’s old bridge. These premises, spanning more than approx. 2,200 m², comprise:
A storehouse for ageing in casks (6 rooms), spanning a surface area of approx. 1,638 m²; a house, spanning approx. 115 m² (rental lease ongoing); a house, spanning approx. 50 m² and currently undergoing restoration; an old chapel, spanning approx. 49 m²; a 44 m² farm shed with columns, housing a well and a bread oven; a fermenting room, dating from 1976 and spanning approx. 300 m².
The “Sans Pareil” farm
This farm, at the north end of the chateau’s acacia tree-lined driveway, owes its name to a lack of rivals throughout the region: no other farm at the time was as well designed with the most innovative farming equipment.
These premises include:
a building used for storing wine and a garage, spanning a total surface area of approx. 364 m²; old pigsties; a house, spanning approx. 120 m² and awaiting restoration; a house spanning approx. 196 m² (residential lease ongoing); an old house, spanning approx. 108 m² and awaiting restoration; a farm shed for storing equipment, spanning approx. 740 m²; a farm shed with columns, spanning approx. 267 m²; an area reserved for receiving employees.
The “Montalbanie” farm
These premises, in the midst of the chateau’s vines, comprise:
a single-storey house, spanning approx. 312 m²; a dovecote, spanning approx. 10 m²; a 3-storey house, spanning a total surface area of approx. 423 m².
Residential lease ongoing.
The “Cantalouette” farm
These premises, spanning approx. 744 m², comprise:
a house, spanning approx. 318 m²; a cowshed, spanning approx. 188 m²; a farm shed with columns, spanning approx. 238 m².
Residential lease ongoing.
The “Carpe” farm
These premises, spanning a total surface area of approx. 816 m², include:
a house and a workshop, spanning a total surface area of approx. 406 m²; a woodshed, spanning approx. 20 m²; a garage-cowshed, spanning approx. 164 m²; old pigsties, spanning approx. 103 m²; a wooden farm shed, spanning approx. 116 m².
Residential lease ongoing.
The “Pelette” farm
These premises comprise:
a single-storey house, spanning approx. 150 m² and awaiting restoration throughout; a wooden farm shed, spanning approx. 50 m².
The “Galinoux” farm
These premises, spanning approx. 348 m², comprise:
a house, spanning approx. 161 m², and a barn, spanning approx. 187 m² (transformation into a house made possible by the PLU (Plan Local d’Urbanisme / Local Planning Programme).
Residential lease ongoing.
The “Métairie Neuve” farm
These premises, spanning approx. 1,294 m², include:
a fully restored house, spanning approx. 230 m²; old pigsties, spanning approx. 42 m²; a shed, spanning approx. 36 m²; a garage, spanning approx. 25 m², an integral part of an old tobacco shed, currently used for storing wood, spanning approx. 170 m².
Residential lease ongoing.
This vast estate has proudly preserved all of its farming and leisure features since the 17th century. Its chateau is set in an excellent position, looking down on the river Dordogne in the midst of a region of France, much appreciated for its heritage and the quality of its surroundings. This edifice stands out courtesy of its bold architecture, predominantly paying homage to the 19th century. A stately home, it is now looking for a new lease on life, creating a unique opportunity for new owners to take possession of a property, made extremely interesting by its apparent suitability for a wide variety of projects. This property has a strong identity, renowned not only for the quality of its wines, but also for the names associated with it. In the words of Antoine-de-Saint-Exupéry “Your task is not to foresee the future, but to enable it”.
|Land registry surface area||305 ha 42 a 2 ca|
|Main building surface area||2770 m2|
|Outbuilding surface area||8700 m2|
|Surface of the vines||40 ha 55 a 98 ca|
|Number of bedrooms||+20|
Dordogne, Lot et Corrèze
Ilan Libert +33 1 42 84 80 85
NB: The above information is not only the result of our visit to the property; it is also based on information provided by the current owner. It is by no means comprehensive or strictly accurate especially where surface areas and construction dates are concerned. We cannot, therefore, be held liable for any misrepresentation.