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Chateau Clinet Sold to Director of Property


Julia Mann, James Suckling
Posted: January 14, 1999

Chateau Clinet, one of the top estates in the Pomerol region of Bordeaux, was sold in late December by Le Gan, the French insurance group, for about $13 million. Jean-Michel Arcaute, who has been director of Clinet since 1985 and whose in-laws owned the property until 1991, bought the estate with Jean-Louis Laborde, his seven-year partner in the Hungarian Tokaj estate of Chateau Pajzos.

'We grew closer through our Hungarian experience; Jean-Louis wanted to go further with wine, not just sweet wines, and was tempted by the adventure of Pomerol,' said Arcaute, who also controls the Bordeaux chateaus Jonqueyres, Beau-Soleil and La Croix du Casse through his wife's family, the Audys.

The Audy family controlled Clinet from early this century until Le Gan took over in 1991. "This is a very personal purchase, as it is a partial return of the property to the family," said Arcaute, who is married to Anne-Marie Audy.

The chateau, situated on a rich gravel plateau above Pomerol, covers 19 acres of vineyards, planted to 80 percent Merlot, 10 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 10 percent Cabernet Franc. The property produces an average of 4,500 cases a year, including its second wine, La Fleur de Clinet. Over the last two decades, Clinet has been one of the best of the "new wave" estates from Pomerol, producing dark-colored, powerfully rich reds in nearly every vintage. Some critics have argued that the wine is too New World-influenced, emphasizing power and new oak rather than finesse and style, but it consistently shows well in Wine Spectator's tastings.

"It is great to be able to share creation with someone you are very close to," said Arcaute of his new partnership with Laborde. "This is a new challenge for both of us. We are not going to compromise at all and are going to strive for an even higher quality at Clinet."

To learn about Arcaute's other projects:

  • October 28, 1998
    Bordeaux WinemakerFocuses on Argentine Malbec

  • August 23, 1997
    BordeauxVintner to Release Rare Hungarian Wine
  • Best Recent Ratings:
    1995 Pomerol
    $120
    95
    Rated: 1/31/98
    Blockbuster. The essence of berry, cherry and tobacco character.Full-bodied and very tannic, yet incredibly opulent. Long aftertaste ofsmoke, game, chocolate and fruit. Best after 2002.

    1994 Pomerol
    $85
    93
    Rated: 1/31/97
    Exotic aromas of violets, berry and toasted oak waft from thisfull-bodied wine. Packed to the brim with fruit and tannins andimpressively long on the finish. Better in 2000.

    1988 Pomerol
    $80
    93
    Rated: 11/30/98
    Rather Port-like, with an impressive concentration of ripe fruit.Full-bodied, with loads of chocolate and berry flavors and long velvetytannins on the finish. Best after 2002.


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