Château La Grace Dieu des Prieurs
It’s highly unusual to encounter Chardonnay in St-Emilion amid the Merlot. ‘We wanted to do something different,’ says estate director Laurent Prosperi with a smile – and disruption seems to be the name of the game at this unique property owned since 2013 by Russian businessman and chess fanatic Andreï Filatov. The provocative architecture is by Jean Nouvel. Only the historic Girondine château was kept (though renovated), and the idea was to recreate a classic farmyard. The circular cuvier is encased in an aluminium print depicting the life of a wine estate; inside, the floor depicts a colourful image of Yuri Gagarin, endlessly reflected in the stainless steel tanks. Art is important here – Filatov is founder of the Art Russe foundation and each vintage bottling has 12 alternative labels featuring different artworks from the collection. The strains of Rachmaninov echo through the facility as well as the circular barrel chai and the quarry-like tunnels below: maturation by music.