Albert Le Brun, in Chalons-en-Champagne, near Reims, is run by five brothers who are third-generation descendants of the original founder. They produce a variety of Champagnes, including their prestige cuvee, Vieille France, as well as a reserve cuvee and a blanc de blancs.
"This company really had no marketing or sales," said Derek Anderson, Plantagenet's senior managing partner. Plantagenet, which takes an active management role in its investments, plans to bring the Le Brun brand into new European and North American markets. Anderson said they hope to capitalize on all the upcoming millennium celebrations and the widely hyped predictions of a Champagne shortage.
Albert Le Brun produces about 40,000 cases a year. U.S. prices have not yet been set, but Anderson estimated that the Vieille France Brut 1993 and brut rosi would retail for $40 to $45, and the non-vintage brut would sell for $25.
The Champagne house's assets also include 860,000 bottles in inventory, about two miles of chalk caves and the exclusive license to use Salvador Dali's artworks on its Champagne labels. Francois Le Brun will remain with the company to oversee production and quality control.
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