The AXA Millésimes group, which owns Château Pichon-Longueville-Baron in Bordeaux and renowned Port producer Quinta do Noval, recently purchased about 220 acres in France's Languedoc region in the hopes of making a world-class red.
"We're convinced of the quality of the terroir," said Christian Seely, the group's managing director.
In late December, the company finalized its acquisition of Château Belles Eaux, an estate in the Coteaux du Languedoc with 148 acres of vineyards, a winery and a château. That will be combined with the neighboring 74-acre Château St. Helene, which AXA Millésimes bought this past summer. The purchase prices were not disclosed.
The acquisitions are located in a region northwest of the market town of Pezenas, where wine quality has been on the upswing. The area is home to top-quality estates such as Domaine de Nizas and Prieuré de Saint-Jean de Bébian.
Under AXA Millésimes' direction, the estate will primarily produce blends of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre -- the varieties to which its vineyards are already planted. In addition, there are two parcels of old-vine Carignane. The first wines will come from the 2002 vintage at St. Helene.
While Seely said he was pleased with the initial results, the company will be renovating the winemaking facilities and making improvements to the vineyards to boost the wine quality.
AXA Millésimes also owns Bordeaux châteaus Pibran, Cantenac-Brown and Petit-Village, along with a well-regarded Sauternes estate, Château Suduiraut. In Hungary, the company owns Disznókö, which produces Tokay.
Read more about the Languedoc region:
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