Christian Seely of AXA Millesimes – owner of Pichon Baron, Petit Village and other major Bordeaux properties – is planning to develop a brand with a difference.
The AXA managing director’s idea is to put together ‘families’ of Bordeaux producers which can combine their strengths to produce and market their wines.
AXA already owns a negociant company, the Compagnie Medocaine Des Grands Crus, which has ‘ten small producers making very good quality Bordeaux,’ Seely told decanter.com.
There is ‘a possiblity of developing brands’ with these estates, he said, adding that in the current climate in France, many producers ‘ are beginning to see they need help on the distribution side.’
At the same time AXA is actively looking for new vineyard land ‘anywhere where there is great terroir, and the possibility of making great wine has not been realised. Our policy is to find underexploited terroir.’
The company is at present scouting for land in Spain. ‘Ribera del Duero has been ruled out,’ Seely said – on the basis that is could not be described as ‘unrealised’.
Rioja, however, might be a possibililty: the region could be due its second renaissance after being supplanted as the most exciting Spanish vineland by such regions as Ribera and Toro. ‘I love Rioja. I think it has fantastic potential,’ Seely said.
All AXA properties are in Europe. They include port house Quinta do Noval, Tokay producer Disznoko, and properties in Languedoc and Bordeaux.
Seely said New World land was not necessarily off the acquisition list, but at present he was concentrating on regions that were most accessible from his headquarters at Pichon Baron the Medoc.
AXA Millesimes properties are Chateau Pichon-Longueville and Pibran in Pauillac, Cantenac-Brown in Margaux, Petit-Village in Pomerol and Suduiraut in Sauternes, Château Belles Eaux in Languedoc, Disznókó in Hungary and Quinta do Noval.
Written by Adam Lechmere