An explosive new book on Bordeaux has been pulled from the shelves after a lawsuit from the former head of Chateau d’Yquem halted distribution.
Count Alexandre de Lur Saluces, who in May this year was compulsorily retired by LVMH, the owners of the illustrious Sauternes chateau, last week issued a lawsuit against the author and publishers of Noble Rot: A Bordeaux Wine Revolution to stop distribution of the book in France.
The title, a wide-ranging investigation into the current state of the Bordeaux wine establishment, has already been published in the USA. The lawsuit only applies to France, but publishers Norton have decided not to go ahead with distribution in the UK.
In his suit Lur Saluces objects to five specific passages in the book describing his relationship with his cousin Baron Louis Hainguerlot, and covering the vicious internecine feuds that have raged in the Hainguerlot and Lur Saluces families over ownership and management of the chateau.
The Lur Saluces dynasty had been in charge at the estate since the end of the 18th century. Since 1991 the family has been embroiled in disputes which climaxed in 1996 when Alexandre’s brother and other relatives sold their 55% share in the company to LVMH.
In May this year LVMH brought in a compulsory retirement age of 70 and replaced Lur Saluces – on his 70th birthday – with Pierre Lurton of Chateau Cheval-Blanc.
Author William Echikson, who today cancelled the London launch party for the book, said Lur Saluces has objected at every stage to publication of his story – which takes up a good 20 pages of the narrative.
‘He just didn’t want anyone writing about what went on,’ he told decanter.com. ‘He refused to cooperate all the way.’
Echikson said he had ‘bent over backwards’ to ensure there was no intent to defame anyone. He added, ‘My main aim is to get it distributed, though it could take years. There is no question of it being stopped in the US.’
Lur Saluces is asking for €60,000 damages. He and his lawyer are unavailable for comment.
Written by Adam Lechmere