An unknown St-Emilion grand cru, Château Badette, is to be offered for public auction by the commune of St-Emilion on 23 January 2008.
The means of sale is relatively rare, the last transaction of this kind being the purchase of Château Tertre Daugay by the Comte de Malet Roquefort, also owner of St-Emilion premier grand cru classé Château La Gaffelière, in 1978.
The auction will be conducted in traditional manner ‘a la bougie’ (literally, ‘by candle’) at the Mairie de St-Emilion. A candle is lit to mark the beginning of the sale and replaced by others during the bidding. The extinction of two candles without further offer announces the last and successful bidder.
Eight hectare Château Badette was willed to the commune of St-Emilion in the absence of a direct heir.
The property, which also includes functioning cellars and outbuildings, is in the sector of St Christophe des Bardes.
The wines to date have been of mediocre quality but the clay-limestone soils offer the potential for improvement. Neighbouring estates include Clos de Sarpe and grand cru classé Château Haut Sarpe.
The minimum reserve at the auction is €3.7m but with the de Boüard family of Château Angélus recently paying €10m for three hectares of undoubtedly better terroir at Château Bellevue, the wine world is watching with a great deal of interest to see what value will be put on this estate.
Written by James Lawther in Bordeaux