Bordeaux and its surrounding vineyards in southwest France, is a dreamland for me. It sacrifices nothing: the most revered wine, stellar cuisine, chateaux in droves, and French sensibility. For 36 hours one June weekend, we feasted with our eyes and tastebuds through vast vineyards and Michelin-starred restaurants. I loved every minute exploring the cobbled and sloped walkways in our small town, St. Emilion, and savored evenings on the terrace at the lovely Hostellerie de Plaisance. Our adopted home was full of charm with historic substance and the best service we’ve ever experienced in Europe. We didn’t have a lot of time to visit multiple vineyards, as each appointment is typically over an hour long, complete with a personal tour and tasting. We chose strategically, experiencing two vineyards, each with its own distinct personalities. First was Chateau Grand Mayne, a beautiful boutique winery in St. Emilion, and the second one, much larger, folds out into a beautiful story.
Nestled in rolling vineyards atop a gentle slope is the family-run Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte, a producer of superb red and white wines whose history dates back to 1365. The vineyard takes exquisite care of each step of the wine-producing process, from honed techniques of nearly all-organic growing processes to having their own barrel maker who works with tasters to cater each piece of wood to a desired taste of wine. The estate hosts a luxury inn, two restaurants including the decadent and delicious La Grand’Vigne which has the distinction of two Michelin stars, and a spa. The beauty brand Caudalie is part of what makes the chateau so special as it utilizes the rich resources of grape by-products in production of the line. Even the name ties into the equation, the word Caudalie is derived from the word caudal (tail), this is the unit used to measure the the persistence of a wine’s finish, with one caudalie representing one second.
Caudalie’s story started over two decades ago by Mathilde Cathiard-Thomas and Bertrand Thomas when they were informed by a professor at Pharmacy Faculty of Bordeaux that at the vineyard, they were throwing away gold- the grape seeds, skins, and stems! These products of carefully grown vines reap the benefits of use of natural grass and organic compost, promoting a balanced vineyard ecosystem. In particular, the grapevine stalks contain Resveratrol, which fights aging by halting cell degeneration and encourages firm skin. It is patented for use by Caudalie, and it takes 200 kg of vine stalks to produce just 50g of pure Resveratrol!
Premier Cru Crème la Riche absolutely lives up to its name; it feels like a luxury cream as soon as it glides onto skin. There is no question that this is an intensive treatment for dry skin in need of rich moisture. The creme works diligently as it binds to skin and reinvigorates it with Resveratrol. As we head into cooler weather, skin needs more moisture to retain its youth and keep skin conditioned under makeup. The Crème la Riche is ideal for smoothing lines and enhancing a radiant visage while doing some heavy lifting as an anti-aging crème. I absolutely love the unbelievable silky feeling after application as red spots disappear, and I only need a small amount to achieve maximum effectiveness. I apply it to my face, neck, and decolletage using gentle upward strokes, since those areas show age as well.
Another great addition to my fall beauty regimen is the 100% natural Contouring Concentrate, a carefully sourced combination of natural essential oils to stimulate circulation, therefore smoothing dimpled skin. I love the smell, it reminds me of spa treatments with a slight herbal scent with the freshness of lemon. Grape Seed Oil is the main component which is effective for moisturizing, and oil from Juniper Berries, Geranium, and Rosemary tones. Lemon and lemongrass promote drainage, and Cypress oils stimulate circulation. This combination improves problem area such as hips, thighs, and bottom. I used it on my tummy for stretch marks before and after pregnancy, and it’s made a huge difference in smoothing the appearance of skin, and I love the relaxing and luxurious feeling I get while applying! I also use it on my legs when I’m wearing a skirt or shorts as it makes skin look healthy and flawlessly radiant.