I love visiting French chateau! Refined homes rather than military fortifications is how they seem to me, and of course they are mostly still in one piece rather than their British counterparts thanks to there having been no French equivalent of Oliver Cromwell. The Loire Valley is full of them, many with water filled moats and those pointy turrets that make them all look like the castles in fairytales.
Two of our favourites are Chateau de Saumur dating back to the 10th Century, and Chateau de Coudray Montpensier near Chinon which is now a hotel. Both have been welcome reliefs from PTSD “pickled tongue stress disorder” caused by an over indulgence in Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc as we drank our way around the area!
Chateau de La Rochepot is in Burgundy and the classic image of a Bourgogne Chateau often used as being symbolic of the region and its wines. Strangely I had never paid a visit over 30 years of trips to this region, but after two weeks of PTSD it seemed like a good idea.
We left Meursault mid morning with our Cumbrian friends, Janice and Don who had arrived a week earlier in their two seater Audi Quattro TT, meaning I was close to buying a bus conductors cap and a ticket machine for entry to my larger Jaguar XF! A sunny day and a route taking us via the wine villages of Puligny Montrachet and St Aubin meant lots of stops for photos and constant marvelling at the diligence of lone vignerons toiling in row after row of vines. Apparently it takes two vines worth of grapes to create one bottle of wine here!
Approaching Rochepot the views of the Chateau are really spectacular as it nestles in the hillside above the village and a few minutes later we have parked at the top of the hill alongside the chateau entrance. Entry fee was a very reasonable €8 and a free guide booklet was provided in English which as usual I didn’t look at until we got back to Meursault! Why do I keep doing that?
Chateau de La Rochepot was built in the Middle Ages in 1180 but was soon abandoned due to a lack of water! It was developed further a century later and took on a greater prominence in the 15th Century when it was bought by Regnier Pot who was the Chamberlain of Duke Philip The Bold. This was a time when Burgundy was ruled as a dukedom by Philip The Good, Charles The Bold and others served by the Knights of The Golden Fleece. Wonderful names, maybe we should do the same with our Prime Ministers! Suggestions? Theresa the …? Dave the …..? Tony the ….?
Because the Chateau was derelict and restored in the 19th Century the room furnishings and artefacts are from that period rather than medieval, but the kitchen and main hall are fascinating and well preserved. The main interest though is in the layout and architecture, clearly a fortress but also a place to be lived in comfortably. I’ll let the photos take it from here.
A tasting of six wines at the Caveau de Puligny Montrachet and a late lunch at Estaminet in the village of Puligny rounded off the day nicely.