The Moulin family of Galeries Lafayette Group has formed a partnership with Florence and Daniel Cathiard of Chateau Smith Haut-Lafitte to buy four properties across Pomerol, Sauternes and Graves.
Among the acquisitions is Chateau Beauregard in Pomerol, a 17ha estate that has been producing wine since the 12th century.
Also included in the purchase is 8ha property Pavillon de Beauregard in Pomerol, second growth estate Chateau Bastor Lamontagne in Sauternes with 52ha of vines and 30ha of parkland, and Chateau St Robert in Graves with 33ha of vines.
The properties were sold by BPCE Group, the second largest banking and insurance group in France, with the Moulin family taking the majority shareholding in what is their first viticultural acquisition.
The Cathiards will be minority shareholders, but will oversee all winemaking and estate management, alongside the existing chateaux teams.
‘We have been friends with Christiane [Moulin] and Philippe [Houzé] for over 35 years,’ Florence Cathiard told decanter.com, ‘and we would not be doing this with anyone else.
‘It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to find properties on both the Left and Right Bank – and to secure a 17ha estate in Pomerol is really exceptional. We are thrilled because Daniel is a great lover of Sauternes, and I am a great lover of Pomerol’, she said.
Cathiard confirmed that they will not be turning the entire Sauternes production to dry white wine, but will look to develop a lighter style of Sauternes alongside the traditional Bastor Lamontagne. ‘The Moulin family has a great belief in the appellation, as do we’.
Although the price of the transaction has not been disclosed, land values in Pomerol are between €1m and €2m per ha, depending on location.
Vineyard prices in Graves are closer to €30,000 per ha, and in Sauternes around €50,000 (a steep drop from €174,000 per ha in Sauternes in 1991, according to 2012 figures from French land agency SAFER).
Written by Jane Anson