Bordeaux Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte has started a 'progressive partnership' with one of Burgundy's great producers, Château de Pommard.

The partnership was reported in French weekly Paris-Match as a buyout, but the owners of both properties refute this.

Florence Cathiard, who owns Smith-Haut-Lafitte with her husband Daniel, told decanter.com they had entered into a progressive partnership, which meant gradually taking over the running of the property as full partners of the owners, with a share of the profits.

Château de Pommard (pictured), a magnificent 25ha property whose wines are much prized, is owned by Sorbonne professor Jean-Louis Laplanche and his wife Nadine, who are now in their seventies. They are long-standing friends of the Cathiards (themselves originally from Burgundy).

‘We are not buying Château de Pommard,’ Florence Cathiard said. ‘It’s a partnership in every sense of the word. We will start on a commercial basis and will take over the running of the château only when the Laplanche family feel it is time.’

She added, ‘It is a marvellous château . People have been trying to buy it for years.’

Smith-Haut-Lafitte is one of the Graves’ most spectacular properties, whose wines – including the whites – attract high praise from some of the world’s most exacting critics. Robert Parker described the 2000 as a ‘tour de force’.

Written by Adam Lechmere