LOS ANGELES – I had dinner last night at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant Chinoise on Main for a vertical tasting of Trimbach Clos Ste.-Hune and Cuvée Frederic Emile. As good as the wines were, the most impressive part of the tasting was a short conversation I had with Jean-Michel Cazes of Château Lynch-Bages. (He is hosting a vertical tasting of three dozen vintages of Lynch in an hour.)
We both agreed how it was a shame that some of the biggest names in Bordeaux are no longer family owned – primarily Château Montrose and Château Pichon-Longueville-Lalande. The former was sold a couple of weeks ago for about $170 million to a private group led by Martin and Olivier Bouygues, of the mega French construction group Bouygues SA. The latter was bought by shareholders of the Hermes group for a reported $200 million to $230 million a few days ago.
I have not confirmed any of this with the châteaus themselves, but my sources are impeccable. And the Montrose sale has been reported in the international press. The Pichon-Lalande sale apparently is not for the complete ownership of the château but the majority of the shares. And Hermes has the option to buy the remainder over an undisclosed period.
One other interesting point to all this is that the former technical director of Haut-Brion and La Mission-Haut-Brion, Jean Delmas, is being brought out of retirement to oversee the winemaking at Montrose. His son, Jean-Philippe Delmas, who is technical director at HB and LM, says his father is very excited to be back in action. Can’t wait to see what happens at Montrose. Delmas is one of the greatest winemakers ever in Bordeaux, and the second growth needs a push in quality.
David A Zajac — May 9, 2006 3:53pm ET
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