Louis Fournier, director of Domaine de la Passion Haut Brion, died last month leaving a question mark over the future of the property.
Fournier, who was vineyard director of Chateau Dillon in Blanquefort (a teaching establishment) for over 40 years, had taken on the role of managing La Passion Haut Brion in 2007, as 94-year old owner Michel Allary lives full time in Paris.
From 1954 to 1978, the property bottled under its own name, but for the past 30 years, the grapes – located adjacent to the vines of Haut Brion and planted to 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon – have been leased for Haut Brion wines. Following a legal dispute, the vines were once again available for Allery’s sole use.
Fournier had been overseeing the construction of a new winery, that is still some way from completion, as well as taking care of the viticulture and winemaking. He was working alongside consultant Stepane Derenencourt.
A close observer of the situation, who did not wish to be named, told decanter.com, ‘Allery relied on Fournier to keep things going in Bordeaux, and this throws the future into question. The last two years produced very little quantity because of mildew affecting the vines, and now this will be a further set-back.’
Allary’s grandson is understood to live in Bordeaux, but is still studying, and until now had not been working in a full-time capacity at the estate.
Fournier died following a heart attack on August 13, 2009.
Written by Jane Anson