Everything started in 1990, when Florence and Daniel Cathiard fell in love with Château Smith Haut Lafitte and its charming, 18th-century house, during a flight over the Bordeaux vineyards.
Daniel Cathiard, founder of the Go Sport chain, and Florence Cathiard, Vice-
President of McCann Europe, decided to give up their stressful careers and start a new life by buying Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
Florence and Daniel Cathiard observed that a low-lying area in the vineyard
produced lower-quality grapes than the rest. A water diviner was called in and discovered a natural spring in that spot. Analyses revealed that, 540 metres underground, there was a naturally hot spring with a high concentration of minerals and trace elements. This discovery facilitated the development of the first Vinothérapie® Spa in the world Internationally-renowned Caudalie products are used together with water from the hot spring in a series of treatments devised by Mathilde and Bertrand Thomas.
The sub-standard vineyard was pulled up to make room for a luxury “hotel de charme” alongside the Spa, opened in June 1999: Les Sources de Caudalie.
“Caudalie”, a term borrowed from wine-tasting, describes the persistence of a wine on the palate: the longer a wine’s aftertaste, the higher its “caudalie” rating.
In June 1999, Les Sources de Caudalie had 29 rooms in 4 buildings, each featuring a theme connected with local history:
– La Bastide des Grands Crus has decor featuring all those who share a passion for great wines, from grape growers to wine lovers.
– Le Comptoir des Indes is evocative of the merchant ships which sailed to distant islands, trading Bordeaux wine for spices and other exotic products.
– La Maison du Lièvre was built around two abandoned barns.
– The famous Ile aux Oiseaux is reminiscent of the “cabanes tchanquée”
– fishermen’s houses on stilts – in Arcachon Bay.
Following the success of this 4-star, luxury hotel, La Grange au Bateau, with 20 rooms and suites, was added in 2001. This time, the theme is water, omnipresent in the Bordeaux area.
Florence Cathiard and her daughter, Alice, designed each room individually – no two are alike – to create a unique atmosphere. Special attention has been paid to every detail that contributes to the peaceful, relaxing ambience. Beautifully-restored antique furniture invites guests to travel back in time.
Les Sources de Caudalie invites you to the discovery of « The Art of Vine » through three different packages available all year’ round.
You could choose between 5 different type of luxury rooms and suites:
– Confort rooms
– Prestige rooms
– Junior Suites
– Large Suites
AMENITIES AND SERVICES
– 40 rooms
– 9 suites
– Air conditioning
– DVD player
– Mini bar
– In-room safe
– Hair drier
– Wireless internet access
– Business center
– Credit cards accepted : Visa, MasterCard,American Express, Diners Club.
Restaurant: The Sources de Caudalie lifestyle is also reflected in all the restaurants run by Franck Salein. La Grand’Vigne, inspired by 18th-century glasshouses, overlooks a pond where the incessant ballet of elegant swans contributes to the enchanting atmosphere. Franck Salein offers two completely different types of cuisine, both featuring subtle harmonies:
The “Gourmande” menu is the epitome of sensual pleasure and its lighter counterpart, “Aux Sources de la Minceur”, may be low in calories (under 500 Kcal per meal) but is no less flavourful. La Grand’Vigne is open from Wednesday lunch to Sunday dinner.
La Table du Lavoir, an authentic country inn built with beams from the famous cellars at Château Lafite Rothschild, serves complex, exciting “bistrot” cuisine . Everything is reminiscent of the time when grape-pickers from Martillac used to do their washing in a similar structure, even down to the laundry beaters used to display the menus.
The 15,000-bottle wine cellar invites guests to roam among the world’s greatest vineyard regions. The French Paradox bar, with its polished parquet floor and deep-leather armchairs, is a cosy, charming haven devoted to wine. The French Paradox proves that one or two glasses of red wine per day reduce the frequency of cardiovascular diseases.
Finally, La Tour des Cigares is the last stop on our tour of the gracious vineyard lifestyle. Enjoy the best Havana cigars and old Cognacs in this British-Cuban club overlooking the glorious vineyards of Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
Wine Interest & Activities
Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte History: The estate is located in a single block on a gravelly rise; 55 of the 72 hectares are planted with vines. The soil, consisting of gravel dating from the Gunz (or Nebraskan glacial) period, has two unique features. The first is superb natural drainage which forces the vine roots to sink more than six metres into the soil to seek nourishment in the form of water and mineral salts. The second is the “mirror effect”, of the topsoil, whose pebbles reflect the sun’s rays, helping the grapes to ripen beautifully.
The noble Bosq family started growing grapes here as early as 1365. The property was purchased in the 18th century by Scotsman George Smith, who gave the estate its present name. He also built the manor house and exported his – by now famous – wine to England on his own ships.
Monsieur Duffour-Dubergier, Mayor of Bordeaux and an enthusiastic winegrower, inherited Château Smith Haut Lafitte from his mother in 1842 and brought the wine up to great growth status.
Impressed by Smith Haut Lafitte’s excellent quality, the Louis Eschenauer company distributed the wine all over the world as of the early 20th century, deciding to buy the estate in 1958. Since the Eschenaueur period came to an end, a great deal of money has been invested in the estate, notably in the construction of a superb underground cellar holding over 2,000 barrels.
In 1990, Daniel Cathiard fell in love with the property and joined the list of prestigious owners, firmly intending to further enhance Smith Haut Lafitte’s tradition of excellence. He combined the most modern winemaking techniques and age-old traditional methods: organic compost, return to small wooden vats, ageing on the lees in barrel, etc.
Famous around the world for its wonderfully elegant red wine and the sophisticated bouquet of its white, Smith Haut Lafitte undoubtedly deserves the special care that is lavished on it.
THE RED WINE CELLAR
This large underground cellar (5 metres underground) holds 1,300 barrels on one level. Before barrel-ageing, the red wines spend approximately three weeks in malolactic fermentation at 20°C. This temperature is carefully maintained in a part of the cellar separated by plastic curtains.
The wine is barrel-aged for 18 months – it rarely needs fining or filtration.
Smith Haut Lafitte
Les Haunts de Smith
Caudalie Vinotherapie: The Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa is located just next to the Sources de Caudalie hotel-restaurant in the middle of the Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, vineyards, near Bordeaux. The Spa offers an exclusive programme of treatments in a setting of unusual beauty.
These treatments are absolutely unique. They combine the virtues of naturally warm spring water taken from a depth of 540 meters underground, rich in minerals and oligo-elements, with vine and grape extracts. That latter have a high concentration of polyphenols, which help fight against free radicals, what are 80% responsible for ageing. Furthermore, these extracts strengthen blood vessels and enhance micro-circulation.
For each treatment, we use a Caudalie beauty care product containing grape polyphenols. Created in conjunction with Professor Vercauteren and his research team at the Bordeaux Faculty of Pharmacy, these products have been acclaimed by doctors and surgeons around the world thanks to their outstanding qualities.
Our treatments are administered by expert hands, and you will be prescribed just thouse treatments that suit you. A medical team is also available, on request, for our costumers.
There is an impressive choice of activities from which to choose: other than Vinotherapie treatment, you can visit neighbouring great growth chateaux by bicycle or limousine, as well as estates in the Medoc, Sauternes, Pomerol or Saint-Emilion regions.
Chateaux Tours: Our reception staff will be happy to open the doors of top châteaux so you can tour their cellars and taste their wines. We are proud to have excellent contacts with estates that make the best wines in their appellations and are ready to give you an appointment (sometimes even on short notice!). Find out how grapes are slowly and carefully transformed into a precious elixir.
The Graves vineyards are some of the oldest in Bordeaux. This superb vineyard region along the Garonne River between Sauternes and the Médoc continues to produce excellent red and white wines.
Château Smith Haut Lafitte, Grand Cru Classé de Graves, is open for guided tours every day, by appointment. Invitations are available from reception and a guide will meet you at the Château (200 meters from the hotel). The textbook elegance, balance, and full-bodied structure of red and white Château Smith Haut Lafitte are the result of Daniel and Florence Cathiard’s insistence on absolute quality. They will be happy to share their passion for fine wine with you during your visit.
Saint-Emilion is as famous for its fine wines as it is for the beauty of the medieval village itself. Château Clos Fourtet, Premier Grand Cru Classé, is in an enviable location, on the outskirts of the village. The spectacular, underground barrel-ageing cellars have been dug out of solid limestone rock. Please contact reception to arrange an appointment for you.
The Médoc is the flagship region for fine Bordeaux wines, including prestigious appellations such as Margaux, Pauillac, St Estèphe, and St Julien. Château Giscours is an extraordinary 300-hectare in the Margaux appellation, with 83 hectares under vine. Today, Château Giscours, ranked a 3rd Great Growth Margaux in 1855, continues to make every effort to enhance the reputation of its wine, which expresses all the finesse and elegance of the greatest Margaux.
The golden wines of Bordeaux… Château Suduiraut, Premier Grand Cru Classé de Sauternes is located in the heart of the Ciron Valley. The Château’s privileged position fosters, from the month of September onwards, the growth of botrytis cinerea (the famous “noble rot”) on the grapes. Château Suduiraut is a perfect example of 18th century architecture: noble, stately and full of light. The Château is surrounded by magnificent gardens designed by le Notre, which make the estate even more attractive.
Wine Tasting Courses: Adapted to connoisseurs as well as beginners, meet the Head Wine-Waiter of Les Sources de Caudalie for an interactive wine-tasting class around a Smith Haut Lafitte’s wines selection each Saturday morning from 10:00 am at La Tour des Cigares.
During one and a half hour, he shows you how to recognise the aromas of the different grape varietes, how to serve your wines and at which temperature and what the tricks to follow are for the best match between wine and food.
Martillac, near Bordeaux. 15 minutes from Bordeaux International Airport and Bordeaux centre by car.
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