That’s me, on Tuesday morning, leaning on the terrace at Chateau Gaby in Fronsac in Bordeaux. Note that the sun is shining.
This is Dave Curl. He used to be a swimmer – he was almost selected to swim butterfly for Canada in the Olympics. Then he went into the City and worked in private equities. Then, in 2006, he went on holiday to Bordeaux, thought Chateau Gaby looked pretty nice (it is, see below) and bought it for, he says, “The same price as a 3-bedroom house in Dublin was going for at the time.” This seems extraordinary. But I bet the upkeep is more expensive….
Yes, it really is lovely. Actually, the whole of Fronsac is lovely: quieter, gentler and prettier than the Big Name Bordeaux areas. It’s stuffed with rambling roses, hollyhocks and gorgeous small chateaux (200 years ago Fronsac wine was more expensive than St Emilion, hence the nice architecture; now everyone’s forgotten about it so it’s blissfully unspoilt.) I was there to taste and am determined to go back – ideally on holiday. The place has all the makings of a great short break. It’s incredibly easy to get to: you just take a cheap flight to Bordeaux and drive for 45 minutes. You could stay at Chateau de la Riviere, another wine producer (check out the vivid, sharp white) and you could add a day or two to hike over the enormous sand dunes to the beach at Arcachon or Cap Ferret, 45minutes’ drive from Bordeaux airport, in the opposite direction to Fronsac. Good wine. Beautiful places. Sun.