Lovely boutique style new french Manor-house property, Villa d’O, in the heart of the wine region of Bordeaux Right Bank (think St. Emilion, think Merlot and Cabernet Franc, think hilly terrain with small patchy vineyards, think super-expensive!). This changes the game plan, shaking up the classic with a generous dose of the kitsch and contemporary. Each room is done up differently and mostly themed around a painting hung in the room, which then becomes the central piece of focus. The colours and patterns reflect the scene depicted, or mood, which then becomes like the ripples in the water which has just been woken from its slumber by the ‘plunk’-ing sound of a little stone.
The name Villa d’O has quite a few inspirations. the first erotic film in France (no it wasn’t shot back in 2BC, contrary to how kinky we all imagine the French to be) was called Histoire d’O (the big “O” methinks, and if you haven’t got one yet, change your partner, now!) and the idea was to create a sense of intimacy and warmth here, hence the allusion.
Although Philippe Starck does make furniture which evokes a certain sensibility that seems to often be cavorting with the carnal – think boudoir-kitsch but not in every sense for in certain areas the aura created is more nubile and pure – the place still has a sense of personalisation and warmth and yet professionalism. The owners are suavely clad subtle rock stars of the aesthetic and the contemporary and know exactly how to make you feel at your own home, one that may exist in a different parallel reality.
It is very affordable and worth what you will get and beyond what you will expect. The only problem is that given that there are only eight rooms, you better reserve in advance.
I barely managed a full day here and got around using little of their facilities: from the heated outdoor pool to the pool table, the gym and spa to the general leisurely walks that their property can afford in the surrounding stretches of green verdant. I did get in some cycling, and may I remind again, St. Emilion is hilly!
We tasted a very special wine; one which has made the eyes pop out on many a blind jury (yes, I get how that is weirdly impossible) for it’s rated higher than many of the other otherwise noble wines of Bordeaux. They do have a caste system here in Bordeaux and, believe it or not, it is reserved for wines and new wines often find it hard (even impossible) to break into this circle of the elite. For what it’s worth, here are my tasting notes:
Reignac Blanc: Very elegant nose, soft crushed spice and some terracotta, mineral-citrus. A blend of Semillon + Sauvignon Blanc and a hint of Muscadelle which only makes its way into the wine once every five years or so and yet brings some splendid mouthfeel and flavour to the blend. Super Palate. There was complexity and yet lovely vibrant fruity clarity. Most unlike the new Bordeaux where a pure Sauvignon Blanc wine suffices to be labelled a Bordeaux Blanc. Semillon adds some great mouthfeel and grip while the Muscadelle is doing something utterly unusually and previously unfelt un this wine.
Reignac Rouge: Strength, definition, and subtlety. Really liked this, too. Worth a revisit in another few years as the flavours go all waxy and oily. The red was the one which was judged ahead of all other Bordeaux greats in a blind tasting, 2nd in fact, after Angelus. Youthful even after 7 years as we tasted a 2004, and later, a 2005. Soft oak, underwood hints, fruit and spice too…alcohol seems to show a bit but I don’t know if it’s just me, as I find myself rather sensitive to such. Else, very tightly restrained, shy, as if it’s almost fighting back expression. Hint aniseed finish. Still young in its appeal. Will open up (more) in time. I wouldn’t comment on where it falls or should fall on any rating chart but I do admit that between the two wines they do have quite an awesome package and anybody with a bottle of the either the white or the red will have no problem impressing someone withit. Now, to go find out the price…