The Prisoner of Beychevelle


With some time to kill before the en primeurs start in earnest tomorrow, we visited Chateau Beychevelle in Saint-Julien. At the end of the obligatory cellar tour, competently performed, we were taken past the owner’s private stash which includes vintages going back to 1852 – three years before the estate was declared a fourth growth. When one of our party attempted to pap the dark recesses, our guide shouted “no flash!”

bey 615x486 The Prisoner of Beychevelle

Thanks to the miracle of the ultra-sensitive Canon G15 I was able to unmask the secret of Beychevelle – a prisoner in the private cellar (above). Could this be a mad member of the Suntory or Castel families who own the estate? For the boss, Philippe Blanc confirms the estate is very much family owned.

The estate, a Versailles on the river, runs like clockwork. So much so that the gardener even shouted at Suntory president Shin Torii for walking on the lawn next to the statue to a boat (below) when he visited last year. “We usually shoot people walking on the grass” said Philippe. And I don’t think he was joking. If Shin is locked in the cellar for grass offences, he should be released immediately.

grass The Prisoner of Beychevelle