Now that I have lured you with photographs of Chateau Fourcas Hosten, I must confess to a little misrepresentation. Chateau Fourcas Hosten is not open to the public. You may not stay there unless invited.
The Listrac estate in the Médoc (north of Moulis and south of Saint-Julien) is owned by brothers Laurent and Renaud Mommeja, shareholders of Hermes of Paris, arguably the most admired fashion brand in the world of luxury.
The Mommejas prefer for people not to associate Chateau Fourcas Hosten with Hermes. That, though, is hard to avoid. They wish for the work and wines of Fourcas Hosten to be acknowledged for their own worth. Fourcas Hosten belongs to the brothers personally, not the fashion house, which shares are traded on the Paris Bourse.
I have stayed in many chateaux in Bordeaux but have not come across one which interior is carried out to such exacting, miniscule detail. Every square millimetre seems to have been thought out and laboured over to microscopic precision. After Laurent and Renaud Mommeja purchased Fourcas Hosten in 2006, the entire chateau was renovated. Room by room.
The devotion is akin to the handmade skills and expertise required to produce a Hermes Birkin. The queue to acquire the world’s most desirable handbag is in months. Sometimes, you can’t even line up but must bid at auctions for special editions. On 31 May 2017, an 18-karat white gold and diamond crocodile Hermes Birkin sold for US$380,000 at a Christie’s auction in Hong Kong.
Hermes also stands apart from other luxury brands in that it does not employ movie and pop stars to endorse its products. You don’t need to do that when your products are the stars. Actually, movie and rock stars fall over each other to try and buy them. The company does not do discounts.
In 2018, Forbes magazine put the market capialisation of Hermes at US$72.7 billion.
Chateau Fourcas Hosten is hidden from the narrow Listrac country road but is just next to it. The village Romanesque church is in front the rear of the chateau. When you stay at Fourcas Hosten, god and the traffic are your neighbours.
Fortunately, we don’t hear from either of them. A 3-hectare park has handsome trees, some of which are more than a hundred years old. It’s an unnervingly special moment to sit with, and be surrounded by, Nature.
Chateau Fourcas Hosten has cast a spell on me.