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Cazes takes back seat at Lynch-Bages

Jean-Michel Cazes of Chateau Lynch Bages is handing over the running of the property to his son Jean-Charles.

Cazes – Decanter Man of the Year in 2003 – is one of Bordeaux’s most eminent winemakers. As well as Lynch Bages he owns Chateau les Ormes de Pez in St Estephe, Château Cordeillan-Bages in Pauillac which he converted into a hotel and restaurant – now with two Michelin stars – and two properties in the La Livinière appellation in the Minervois.

Until 2000 he ran Pichon-Baron, Suduiraut and a handful of other properties for AXA Millesimes. In 2002 he was awarded one of France’s highest honours, La Croix de Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur.

Cazes came to Bordeaux in the 1970s, with the objective of assisting his father André Cazes ‘renovate our vineyards and equipment, and put together… a talented team capable of bringing out the best of the rich terroir of our properties,’ he said in an email announcing his decision.

Now the ‘family board’, Cazes said, which includes his sisters Sylvie Cazes-Regimbeau and Jacqueline Cazes-Pons, ‘has decided to decided to hand over the direction of our wine activity to my son Jean-Charles, 32, who joined our team four years ago.’

He added that they had the ‘good fortune’ to get on well, and that he intended to play a ‘modest role’ in the future direction of the business.

Cazes will also continue to work with Australian winemaker Brian Croser – who succeeded him as Decanter’s 2004 Man of the Year – on their joint venture Tappanappa, high-end reds produced from Coonawarra vineyards they bought with Bollinger in 2004.

As to his reason for handing over the reins to his son, Cazes, who is in his late 60s, said, ‘I believe that the challenges facing our profession must be taken on by someone who, God willing, has time ahead of him to address the job.’

Lastly he stressed that the management of the properties – ‘a solid team’ including his sister Sylvie, daughters Marina Cazes and Kinou Hachemian, and technical director Daniel LLose – remains unchanged.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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