French film star and keen vigneron Gérard Depardieu is investing in a Bordeaux vineyard.

The bear-like actor – best-known for his title rôle in Cyrano de Bergerac, and as the indomitable Obelix in the Asterix movies (another one is due this year) – is already a respected winemaker.

In 1982 he bought Château de Tigné in Anjou in the Loire, which he has built up to a highly-rated property, noticed by the world’s most powerful wine critic, Robert Parker himself.

Last October he said, ‘I started with 25ha and now I have 80… and Parker has given my wine 94 out of 100. Not bad, eh?’

Now Bordeaux newspaper Sud-Ouest reports Depardieu (pictured with his partner, French actress Carole Bouquet) is taking a share in Château Gadet, a new property with 2ha of vines in the Médoc village of Saint-Seurin-de-Cadourne, just north of St-Estèphe.

It’s understood that Depardieu is investing in the property along with the William Pitters Group, a multinational which owns vineyards in Bordeaux, Cahors, Rhône and Fitou in France, Rioja in Spain, Italy, Morocco and China. CEO Bernard Magrez is an old friend.

The property, reports the paper, ‘is neither a palace nor a great domaine, but what matters is having a foothold in the Médoc.’

And locals need not worry that their new neighbour is a dilettante. The former mayor of Depardieu’s Loire commune said, ‘Depardieu is not afraid of getting his hands dirty. When he decided to invest in the Loire he kept a low profile. He’s a good winemaker, a great professional, a charming and agreeable man with the true spirit of the land.’

Written by Adam Lechmere4 March 2002