French-Swiss real-estate investor Jacky Lorenzetti has purchased Bordeaux's Château Lafon-Rochet from the Tesseron family for an undisclosed sum. The St.-Estèphe fourth-growth is Lorenzetti's fourth classified growth in Bordeaux's Médoc region. "When you have already invested in St.-Estèphe and Pauillac, and a bank offers you an opportunity to buy an estate like Lafon-Rochet, you don't say 'no,'" said Emmanuel Cruse, the general manager of Lorenzetti's estates and co-owner of Château d'Issan with his siblings and Lorenzetti.
Lorenzetti is chairman of his family's holding company, Ovalto, and has a personal fortune estimated at €1.7 billion. He built much of that in real estate with his firm Foncia. He also owns the Paris rugby club Racing 92. His Bordeaux wineries include Château Pedesclaux in Pauillac and Lilian Ladouys in St.-Estèphe.
Lafon-Rochet neighbors Lilian Ladouys. “It’s certainly among the greatest terroirs of St.-Estéphe,” said Cruse. The vineyards are mainly located around the château in a large contiguous plot, not far from Cos-d’Estournel, Cos Labory and, across the stream in Pauillac, Lafite-Rothschild.
The Tesseron family bought Lafon-Rochet in 1960. Basile Tesseron was the most recent director of the 111-acre estate. The family recently decided to sell and, via a bank, approached potential buyers including Lorenzetti. The deal was finalized the first week of September. Cruse will manage the estate, and talks are underway regarding the organization of the technical team. Basile Tesseron and his current team will handle the 2021 harvest.
Cruse said the focus is now on building on the work already done by the Tesserons. "The quality has already improved recently with Basile and his team," said Cruse. "It's always exciting to try to do better if we can. Lorenzetti always has the goal of making the best wine possible."
Any more acquisitions underway? "Nothing official, but Mr. Lorenzetti is always listening to any options he might have. And it wouldn't necessarily be in Bordeaux. It could be in Provence or Côtes du Rhône or Burgundy—anywhere," said Cruse.
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