Thursday, 22 May 2008

Bordeaux Châteaux – Pichon Lalande

Château Pichon Lalande is the sister château to Château Pichon Baron and its full name is Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. The château takes its name from Virginie Comtesse de Lalande whose strong personality and passion for her vines have left her mark on the estate to this day.

Virginie anticipated the dynastic split which was to separate the estate into the 2 châteaux and married Count Henri de Lalande, which gave her a title, independence and ultimately control over the domaine. She ordered the Bordeaux architect, Duphot, to design the château inspired by the Hôtel de Lalande in Bordeaux where her husband had spent his childhood. The Château itself is stunningly beautiful – as is its sibling Pichon Baron – and its wines are famously sought after.

The château has been devoted to culture ever since the 17th century. In the early 19th century, Sophie de Pichon Longueville, student of the painter Gérard (who was Napoleon's official painter), decorated the family home with paintings. Today the château's current owner May-Eliane de Lencquesaing has a superb glass collection which she accumulated over 20 years on display in the Orangerie.

She feels that there is a similarity between the modesty of the origins of glass and those of wine: glass is made from the humble raw material, sand, and wine from a wild creeper, the vine. Both are utterly transformed by human intelligence and expertise to create something which is not merely a product, but a work of art.

Some of the of elegant antique glassware is over 3000 years old. There are wine glasses and goblets as well as Greek, Roman, and Syrian carafes. There are incredibly old Afghani and Chinese glass displayed alongside glasses from Venice and Bohemia, as well as French and English glasses from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries including blue opaline, and Bohemian red glassware. The crystal and vermeil Fabergé ewer made in Moscow in 1894 is one of the collection's finest pieces.

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