I've just learned that the owner of Bordeaux first growth Château Latour, fashion magnate François Pinault, signed an agreement last week to buy close to 16 acres of prime Burgundy vineyards, planted to Pinot Noir and all near the town of Vosne-Romanée. The purchase price was not disclosed, but it is estimated at about $10 million to $12 million.
One of France’s leading businessmen, Pinault bought the land from the Engel family, who until 2004 produced wines under the Domaine Engel label. The wines included: Grands Echézeaux, Echézeaux, Clos Vougeot, the premier cru Vosne-Romanée Les Brûlées, and Vosne-Romanée village.
Pinault apparently had been looking for property in Burgundy for some time. He also owns the auction house of Christie’s, which conducted last year’s annual Hospices de Beaune charity auction in Burgundy. Pinault bought a barrel of 2005 Corton-Charlemagne, among other lots, at that event.
This isn’t the first Bordeaux connection in Burgundy. AXA, the large French insurance company that owns Pichon-Baron and Suduiraut, among other Bordeaux estates, also owns the Burgundy estate of Domaine de L’Arlot.
The deal's not done yet, so Pinault's exact plans have yet to be revealed. Whether he can push his team of winemakers to fine-tune the vineyards in Burgundy as well as in Bordeaux to make world-class wines remains to be seen. Pinot Noir is a finicky grape compared to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. But he seems to have the will as well as the money – particularly after sales of Latour's 2005 futures!
Another plus for him is that the president of Latour, Frédéric Engerer, is a huge Burgundy fan. In fact, his personal cellar is full of excellent bottles of Burgundy. This shouldn't hurt Pinault's quest to make great reds in Burgundy.
Errol R Kovitch — Michigan — July 10, 2006 12:52pm ET
David A Zajac — July 10, 2006 3:00pm ET
Dan Jaworek — Chicago — July 11, 2006 1:35pm ET
David A Zajac — July 11, 2006 3:02pm ET
Errol R Kovitch — Michigan — July 11, 2006 3:09pm ET
Dan Jaworek — Chicago — July 13, 2006 11:39am ET
Lucia Sanjust — mercatale valdarno,italy — July 18, 2006 7:02am ET
James Suckling — — July 18, 2006 8:39am ET
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