AXA Millésimes has expanded its footprint in California by purchasing Platt Vineyard on the western reaches of Sonoma Coast for an undisclosed sum.
The French insurance giant’s wine division made its first foray into the Golden State when it bought Napa Valley winery Outpost back in 2018. Managing director Christian Seely has been on the hunt for a vineyard of similar quality to produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay ever since.
AXA Millésimes jumped at the opportunity to snap up the 111-hectare Platt Vineyard, which is located eight miles from the Pacific Ocean on California’s Sonoma Coast.
Seely said: ‘Our attention was drawn to the exceptional quality of the terroir of Platt vineyard by Thomas Rivers Brown, who is our consultant winemaker at Outpost Vineyard. He has been making outstanding Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays at Rivers-Marie from grapes he has been buying from Platt for several years.
‘After tasting these wines, and after several visits to Platt, we were convinced that this was the site we had been looking for.’
AXA Millésimes, which owns Château Pichon Baron, the prestigious Pauillac Grand Cru Classé estate, had identified Outpost Winery in Napa as another location ideal for producing Cabernet.
The team has followed the same logic with its purchase of Platt Vineyard. It owns Domaine de l’Arlot in Burgundy – which has Premier Cru sites in Nuits St Georges and Vosne Romanée, and Grand Cru sites in Romanée St Vivant. It believes Platt Vineyard offers ‘similarly exceptional terroir for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay’.
Russian River Partners, a vineyard investment fund managed by Eric Flanagan of Flanagan Wines in Healdsburg, has owned Platt Vineyard since 2015. It has invested in developing the vineyard over the past seven years and it currently sells grapes to leading producers in the region. Just 15ha is currently planted with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but there are permits in place for a further 4.5ha.
‘This part of Freestone is slowly becoming the greatest area for Pinot on the Sonoma Coast,’ said Seely. ‘We believe that the potential for making great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines here is immense.’