|A to Z Challenge HERE
The Domaine de Baboulet is one of many vineyards that doesn’t per se have a “labeled” wine, but instead contributes to many a “table” or “blended” wine. It is a going concern and has been for many years. Owned by family members, the old “chateau” is unique in its construction directly upon and facing the Canal du Midi and has been around for well over a century. We are friends with one of the owners and he graciously gave us a tour one day, proud of not only the product they produce, but also of the heritage with which the place is imbued.
|In the hallway of the chateau
As we ventured through the chateau, our friend regaled us with stories of his youth and how he and his cousins slept in these rooms here or played “cache cache” (hide and seek) there. Bunk beds still line some of the third story rooms. He has a lot of cousins!
|Plantanes lining the road on the way...
Walking through not only the chateau itself, we were also treated to the barns and workshop buildings. As I moved through these great rooms, some dark and dusty, some still in use, I imagined it all turned into a working museum. I would pay to see how the grapes were processed on a grand scale back when over 40 people lived or worked on the estate during the harvest. Pullies for moving the baskets are still in place, as are the baskets themselves, once filled by pickers harvesting among the vines. I could almost hear the noise, the feisty workers moving the empty baskets from their hooks, to be returned outside for more grapes. Along walls downstairs great ginormous casks line up like fat soldiers, ready to be filled with heavenly juice, which our friend and his cousins used to be tasked with cleaning. They had to climb inside! Peering down into an underground storage cavern 12 feet deep (4 meters) under the casks, now dark and empty as it is no longer used, one has a sense of a lost time.
|The great casks used to store the wine in a bygone era
|On the wall to the left, pulleys used to move the filled baskets
|The baskets used to harvest the grapes
In my imagination, this museum is peopled by everyone dressed in period costume, a gift shop, a wine tasting room and a restaurant where lunch is served. The last elder generation living there has now passed on, and so the chateau is empty, but it has updated rooms.
|A statue in the extensive gardens
|The Canal du Midi and their landing in front of the chateau
|The "Front" of the chateau that faces the Canal
|The "side" of the chateau
|A view of the "side" garden of the chateau
The family recently held a wedding for their new generation upon the grounds with the bride transported from the church in town by boat up the Canal du Midi flowing a stone’s throw from the chateau, because in the “olden days” they transported their wine by barge, hence, they have their own landing.
|Part of the vineyard with the chateau behind the canal
|All the land surrounding the chateau is Baboulet vineyards
Beautiful and still useful and loved, this 173 acre terrain is a reminder of how life was once lived and might be a window into that life again if the dream I have of it becoming a working museum could ever come to fruition. Sigh.
Missed some of my A to Z 2019 posts? Well look no further...
All photos by Buie-Collard