A group of investors from New York, led by sommelier and wine consultant Robert Bohr, recently concluded a deal to buy Domaine René Manuel in Burgundy from Cottin Frères, owners of Labouré-Roi. The price was approximately $16.5 million.
The agreement, which will be finalized in January 2011, includes 17.3 acres of vineyards in Meursault, a recently renovated 19th-century château, cellars and a winery facility. The vines have been leased to Meursault growers Dominique Lafon of Domaines des Comtes Lafon and Jean-Marc Roulot of Domaine Roulot.
“Jean-Marc and Dominique called me in September and said there was an estate for sale and rather than compete for it, they would work together and bid for it,” said Bohr. “It’s not a money-making investment [for the investors] but a rare opportunity to get involved with two great growers from Burgundy. That was the motivation for us,” he added. The investors wish to remain anonymous.
Bohr negotiated 18-year leases with Lafon and Roulot. Roulot will vinify the premier cru Clos des Bouchères in its entirety and 50 percent of the 6-acre villages lieu-dit Clos de la Baronne, retaining the vineyard designation. Lafon will vinify the other half, adding it to his Meursault villages, the portion of the Bouchères vines outside the clos and the premier cru Poruzots, adding another significant Meursault premier cru to his Charmes, Genevrières and Perrières.
“It was a very sought-after deal,” recounted Bohr. “In the first round there were a lot of bidders.”