Premier grand cru classe Château Ausone owner Helyett Dubois-Challon died on Saturday, aged 84, after a long battle with cancer.

Ms Dubois-Challon inherited half of the prestigious St Emilion property following the death of her husband Jean Dubois-Challon. She shared ownership with her nephew Alain Vauthier until the mid 1990s.

She also inherited the full rights to neighbouring St Emilion premier grand cru classe Château Belair, Château La Tour du Pas Saint-Georges in the satellite commune of Saint-Georges-Saint-Emilion, and Château Dubois-Challon in the Entre-deux-Mers region.

After years of conflict with her nephew over the management of Ausone, she decided to sell her share of the château to François Pinault, who had recently acquired Château Latour and wanted to expand his interests into St Emilion.

But Vauthier exercised his right of pre-emption to prevent Ausone from leaving the family, and bought back the Dubois-Challon share from Pinault – reuniting Ausone under single ownership.

The funeral took place in Saint-Emilion today.

Written by Alan Spencer11 February 2003