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Château Brown changes hands

The Yvon Mau family has just completed the purchase of one of Bordeaux’s oldest and most prestigious châteaux – Château Brown in Pessac Léognan.

The deal, which was in discussion before Christmas, sees Jean-Christophe Mau appointed the new manager, alongside his current role as head of fine wines for Yvon Mau Négociants (now part of the Freixenet group), and director of Château Preuillac. He told decanter.com that he intends to continue to sell Château Brown on the Bordeaux Place en primeur through all negotiants, despite his family running one of Bordeaux’s most successful houses.

‘The purchase of Château Brown is a family concern, and is not part of Freixenet. We are investing in Bordeaux wine for our own future, as it is an area we respect and love,’ he said.

Stéphane Derenoncourt will work with Château Brown on the red wines. One of Bordeaux’s most controversial oenologists – for his use of biodynamic principles in the vineyards, open wooden vats and other techniques such as working the wine on the lees – his consultancies include Château Canon La Gaffelière, La Mondotte, Prieuré Lichine, and Yvon Mau’s Château Preuillac.

The Mau family has made the purchase in partnership with Dutch wine and spirit group Dirkzwager, with whom they also own Château Preuillac in the Médoc.

Bernard Barthe, the previous owner of Château Brown, is retaining a small stake.

The château dates back to the 12th century, when Aquitaine was under English control, and takes its name from the Scottish négociant, John Lewis Brown. One of the most famous of the Bordeaux châteaux in the 19th century, it ceased as a working vineyard in the 1950s, being replanted in the 1970s, and so was not included in the 1959 cru classification for Graves. It is widely expected to receive classification in the next few years.

Written by Jane Anson

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