WINE O’CLOCK: Where a glass of wine is good for your art
PADDY McKillen started his business life in Belfast with the family’s motor repair business. He moved to Dublin where he specialised in the supply of car exhausts. He went into property and, later, the hospitality industry.
He is a hotelier with a major reputation world-wide. His son, also Paddy, owns many clubs and pubs across Dublin.
This remarkable Irishman is also an art lover who knows his wine – although he doesn’t drink it. He has combined these interests at Chateau la Coste, a rolling estate of more than 500 acres in the south of France.
It features vineyards, a luxury hotel and some extraordinary works of art. A tour of the estate is like walking through a catalogue of great modern artists.
It starts with Gate (yes, it is a gate) by Tadao Ando and leads past a giant spider installed on a lake by Louise Bourgeois. En route you will find works by Hiroshi Sugimoto, Sean Scully, Michael Stipe, Andy Goldsworthy, Tracey Emin, Paul Matisse and a great many more.
The walking tour takes about two hours – so come prepared, with water, a hat to shield you from the sun and shoes that are made for walking.
At the end you can eat in one of several good restaurants and sample the excellent wines produced there.
If you don’t care for art, you can take a tour of the vineyards. They grow Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino and Chardonnay for their whites; Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache and Syrah for their reds and rosés. There is nothing to beat the rosé of Provence and Chateau la Coste has some of the best.
You’ll need to re-mortgage your house if you plan to stay at the hotel. But a tour of the grounds is not at all expensive. It is family-friendly, with a nice little outdoor café and playground. The art works are very accessible. You can touch them, climb on them, walk into them.
Chateau la Coste is near to Aix-en-Provence, not far from Marseille and Avignon. If you are in that part of the world it is well worth a visit.