“Robert Parker spent an entire day here,” says the charming matriarch Annick Saturny, whose husband bought and created Château Tayac many decades ago. So far, this is the first Château I have visited that actually looks like the American ideal of what a Château should look like.
First, notice the imposing gates and long driveway that lead up to a spectacular mansion a few centuries old. The vineyard here, overlooking the junction between the Gironde and the Dordogne, dates back to Gallo-Roman times.
Château Tayac’s romantic history begs you to pour yourself a glass of the Chateau’s wine, sit near a fireplace, and absorb its incredible history. According to the 17th Edition of Charles Cocks’ book, Bordeaux and Its Wines (first published in 1845, and now edited under the direction of Bruno Boidron, with contributions by several authors), in 1356, the Black Prince (eldest son of Edward III of England) annexed Bourg and converted the noble houses into fortresses. Six years later, Edward III had them razed, including a structure where Château Tayac now stands.
In 1415, Charles VII gave the lands to the house of Dreux and a feudal castle was built. In the 19th century, the Château was demolished and the present day version, built in the Renaissance style, was built in its place. In 1920, the Château fell into the hands of M. Boyer, who made a success of his vineyard before falling ill in 1940.
Pierre Saturney, Madame’s husband, bought the property, renovated the vineyard using the Massale method of selection, restored and modernized the winemaking facilities, and made wines from this Château world famous.
As Madame Saturny gives me an extensive tour of the property, we are trailed by her friendly dogs. I meet Madame’s attractive young granddaughter. Despite the worldwide reputation of these fine wines, and the almost intimidating splendor of the castle-like living quarters of the Château, this is very much a down-to-earth, family run operation that takes great pride in its product.
In the tasting room we try the Prestige ‘98, well balanced and rich with black fruit, very likely to age for another ten years. The 2006 “Black Prince” is marked by the aroma and taste of candied violets, and is both smooth and highly concentrated. It is an intensely rich, well-balanced wine with good structure and nicely integrated tannins.
Next is the Reserve 2003, a personal favorite. This wine has it all – spice, full black fruit, and casis, nearly opaque in color and intensity.
Château Tayac, like virtually all the Châteaux in Bourg, is available to visitors by appointment. Most have their email information on their web sites. As Robert Parker said, visit soon – Bourg is a hot new region.