Château Élan: A Charming Getaway

IMG_5776Early December marked my boyfriend and my five year anniversary, and so for a special surprise, David arranged a trip up to Château Élan, a charming, French-inspired winery and resort. I’m embarassed to say that despite being from Northern California, I haven’t actually been to Napa, and have only been to Sonoma once. By no means am I any sort of connisseur of wines or vintages—but I do enjoy tastings, tours, and the general atmosphere of each individual winery.

Château Élan was no exception. Here’s the rundown of our quick little get-away:

1. Explore the Property

Make no mistake, Château Élan is gorgeous. Even in the dead of winter, with their vines all pulled up for replanting, the property was a refreshing taste of France. Whether you choose to stroll through their many paths, or take a jog, or bring your bikes, definitely take advantage of the landscaped estate and go exploring. We enjoy a good cycle, so both of us brought along our bikes. Full disclosure, I ride a vintage Schwinn and David has a single speed, so we couldn’t go on the full bike loop due to terrain and tire issues. But we tooled around the paved areas and it felt just like being in Europe again.

2. Winery Tour and Tasting

This is an obvious one. Château Élan’s winery tour was highly informative and detailed, providing a nice introduction to both the winery and the process—especially for a tour novice. The tour, which was $10/person,  concluded with a tasting of five of their wines. Because we’re in the South, Château Élan’s wines are made with muscadine grapes, and they’ve created a really delicious, sweet “Muscadry” variant—The Local Palate has a great write-up of the wines and their backstory here.

The tour was an eclectic group—plenty of Atlantans, Georgians, and visiting Americans, but also a large number of international tourists. David and I hit it off with a couple from Prague, and wound up staying on for an extended wine tasting ($6/person) to chat and compare travel stories.

3. EAT

Château Élan’s got seven restaurants to choose from, and from the rave reviews, you really can’t go wrong. David and I chose to do a casual dinner at Paddy’s, the authentic Irish pub on the premises. (Literally authentic—it was built in Dublin, then taken apart and shipped here to GA). The food was delicious—warm, hearty, and served in front of a roaring fire. I got the bangers and mash, and David went with fish and chips. Yum! We finished that night with a slice of cheesecake from Versailles, which was the perfect endcap.

Our package included a breakfast buffet at Versailles, so the next morning we found ourselves seated in the great room of the Château Élan. It’s modeled after the Gare du Nord in Paris, with soaring glass ceilings. The breakfast buffet was as far from your average hotel continental as you can imagine: made to order omelettes, sausage biscuits, pastries, shrimp and grits…I had to stop myself from going back for thirds.

In conclusion…

If you’re looking for a quick getaway in the Atlanta Metro area, treat yourself and head out to Château Élan. Your senses will thank you.

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