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Chateau Olivier owner dies

Jean-Jacques de Bethmann, long-time owner of Chateau Olivier in Pessac Léognan, has died in Bordeaux.

The Bethmann family has owned Chateau Olivier (pictured), one of only seven Pessac Léognan estates to be classified in both red and white wine, since 1886.

The family can trace its roots dates back to 15th century Germany, where it was part of a banking dynasty in Frankfurt.

A branch of the family opened a wine merchant house in Bordeaux in 1740, and went on to own Chateau Gruaud Larose during the 19th century.

Although Jean-Jacques de Bethmann, who spent a decade in the US and was an American citizen, lived principally in Paris, the family home was at Olivier and he was a prominent force within the Pessac Léognan appellation.

He was president of the Cru Classés de Graves for several years, and a key member of the technical commission at the Bordeaux wine bureau, the CIVB.

Laurent Lebrun, director of Chateau Olivier, told Decanter.com, ‘It was M de Bethmann’s dedication that has seen the chateau restored to its former glory over the past decades. He was a visionary with true discipline, and a rigour and attention to detail that helped us all work better.

‘I have many great memories of tasting old vintages with him – pulling out magnums of Olivier Blanc from 1910 that were still fresh and vibrant. It has been a privilege to work alongside him.’

de Bethmann’s son Alexandre de Bethmann will continue running Chateau Olivier, as he has been doing for the past few months.

The funeral takes place tomorrow in Paris, and a private memorial service will be held in Bordeaux on Saturday.

Jean-Jacques de Bethmann is survived by his wife Reine Claude, Alexandre, and his two daughters Flore et Eléonore,

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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