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Château Leognan: De feniks van Philippe en Chantal Miecaze

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Philippe and Chantal Miecaze are the couple who gave second birth to the Château Leognan – both to the 17th century mythical mansion and the exquisite, rich red wine from its vineyards. The Miecaze came to Bordeaux to realize their dream of embodying the legend of Leognan wines – the magic universe depicted on its emblem, with two phoenix drinking from the grail of eternal youth.

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Today, when the charismatic couple welcomes guests to their splendid mansion, one can scarcely imagine the large-scale restoration works that they carried out since 2006, when they acquired the property. “Although superb, the vineyards of the chateau lost their identity and were contributing to the production of the Grand Cru Grave of the other wine house nearby, and the chateau was a total ruin, with water dripping through the roof. The chapel was even in worse condition,”  Philippe Miecaze told EU Reporter. “When we started with rather boring obligatory administrative procedures we couldn’t have thought that there would be a place for magic…”

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The first surprise came with a local architect, who had in his possession drawings of the chapel’s stained glass antique windows – nobody thought that such drawings existed. The second came when the tiles with the emblem of the chateau appeared out of the dust on the floor. “What else should decorate the bottle, if not the symbol of eternal life from the tiles of the château’s Leognan chapel,” asks Miecaze. But to carry such a noble emblem from the ancient chapel on an ordinary wine bottle wasn’t good enough – the Miecaze, always looking for perfection, opted instead for a specially designed bottle.

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The feeling for aesthetic and design is one of the most integral elements of the Miecazes’ success – the chateau has been restored with much taste, combining old and new, as have the visitors’ rooms that overlook the old chapel. And so is the wine production, which is respectful of nature and also uses the most advanced technologies.

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“It was quite an experience for us to enter the market of the most sophisticated Bordeaux wines, and especially with the name of ‘château’ representing half of the appellation’s name,” said Chantal. “It was overwhelming to win three golden medals in a row, right from the start,” she added, with a smile.

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Chateau Leognan came into the limelight as a true star: the ‘Challenge International du Vin’ Gold Medal in 2007, the Gold of the Bordeaux Wine Awards in 2008 and a special prize created for Leognan above and beyond the other gold in Lyon to honour its extraordinary qualities. “They created the Grand Medaille d’Or especially for the Château Leognan, as they didn’t have this prize before,” Miecaze proudly reveals.

Looking like a fairy, Chantal Miecaze lives up to her image – whatever she touches is embellished and achieves longevity. The Renaissance of the mansion represents the couple’s attitude to life and the world, and they share a passion for nature and animals. Next to the old pony which started a new life in the Chateau’s marvelous setting, the true star of the show is the young Boxer dog, Violette.

“People like to stay in touch with us, after they have visited the chateau,” Chantal adds.  “The friends of the Château on Facebook gave the name to a young boxer, who came to join our old Max. We wish we could answer all the admirers of Château Leognan, but it is difficult,” she says, while reminiscing about a triumphant visit to China, where the couple received a special trophy.

Betekent dit dat alle wijnproductie dan richting China gaat? Philippe dringt erop aan van niet, want ondanks hun commerciële succes is verkoop niet het uiteindelijke doel: het paar is binnenkort van plan een restaurant te openen om de rust en poëzie van de plek met bezoekers te delen en, natuurlijk, een glas te heffen van het exquise Château Leognan - het magische drankje van de feniks.

Foto's van Château Leognan, 16 oktober 2013.

Anna van Densky

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