St-Emilion grand cru classé Château Soutard, one of the oldest in the region, is for sale.
Owned and run by the des Ligneris family since 1836, the 27ha estate, which dates back to 1762, is worth approximately €35m.
Francois des Ligneris, who has worked at the chateau since 1978 and took over as director in 1988, and also runs estates in Corbieres and Entre-deux-Mers, as well as the restaurant L’Envers du Decor in St-Emilion, had previously denied reports of a sale.
But he has now confirmed to decanter.com that it will go ahead. ‘It will not happen immediately, but it will happen,’ he said.
Although des Ligneris would not be drawn on the reasons for putting Soutard on the market, French wine magazine La Revue du Vin de France said that the decision would be made by Francois together with his sisters Isabelle and Hélène.
Francois’ father Jacques had been in line to inherit the estate but he passed ownership directly onto his son and daughters.
Both Jacques and Francois are prominent characters in the region. Francois is known for his very traditional approach to wine-making and for his staunch anti-Robert Parker stance. A poster in his St-Emilion restaurant lampoons the American critic’s tasting notes. One describes a wine as ‘astronomical with elegant notes of ketchup’.
He is also deeply opposed to the St Emilion syndicat, and the appellations body the INAO. He once declassified all his Corbieres and Entre-deux-Mers wines in protest against the latter.
His father, one of the founders of the local socialist party, is known as the ‘Red Count’.
Written by Panos Kakaviatos, and Oliver Styles