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Day Trip: Chateau La Dominique

When St. Emilion’s acclaimed Château La Dominique, owned by Clément Fayat, was looking to revamp its classic winery, they chose a route that is increasingly but very slowly becoming popular in Bordeaux: contemporary. Fayat asked Pritzker Prize–winning architect Jean Nouvel, who had already worked on Chateau La Coste winery in Provence, and the resulting structure is nothing short of spectacular.

The entire winery is clad in reflective, stainless steel panels, all of which are colored a crimson red, creating a whimsical mirror play with the surrounding landscape. It’s bold and delicate at the same time; standing out in the verdant green surroundings while reflecting them back at the viewer at the same time. Another controversial but successful decision was to outfit the sleek vat room with a massive, floor-to-ceiling window that looks across the vineyard.

A tour starts in the restored 18th-century chateau that serves as the welcoming centerpiece to the property that also includes gardens and the wonderful restaurant La Terrasse Rouge. A tour takes about 30-45 minutes and wine tastings can also be arranged. Do not miss lunch at the congenial restaurant with gorgeous views and ask the staff to point out the famous neighbors, including Cheval Blanc (another modern winery with an eco-inspired roof garden) and Petrus, a modest structure sitting in the distance.

Chateau La Dominique is about a one-hour drive from Bordeaux city.

Written by Simone Girner

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