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Dubourdieu, Van der Niepoort in frame for luxury vineyard development

Wealthy wine lovers will soon be able to buy a ready-made vineyard complete with internationally-renowned winemaker in the south of Spain.

In June this year, the Spanish property consortium which funded the recent Wine Creator conference, launches La Melonera, a 200-hectare vineyard and residence development near Ronda in southern Spain.

Buyers will take on a parcel of vines and make their own wine with the help of winemakers which may include Denis Dubourdieu or Dirk van der Niepoort.

The developers have narrowed their choice of guest winemaker down to three of the A-list winemakers who attended the conference.

‘We don’t want to say yet who might agree to be our first winemaker but we now have a list of three,’ Jorge Viladomiu, one of the seven Anglo-Spanish investors behind La Melonera, told decanter.com.

Winemakers who attended the conference included Peter Sisseck from Pingus in Ribera del Duero, Alvaro Palacios from Rioja, Ales Kristancic from Slovenia, Dirk Van Der Niepoort from Portugal and Paul Draper of California’s renowned Ridge – a former Decanter Man of the Year.

Three of Bordeaux’s best-known consultants were also there, Stéphane Derenoncourt, Denis Dubourdieu and Dany Rolland who works with her husband, Michel.

Dubourdieu said, ‘It would be fun if I was asked. And it would be the first time for me to be a consultant on a wine that is not for commercial sale. It is a unique case. The place is nice, the people are nice, if I had the liberty to make the wine as I want, why not? I would have to see the conditions, though, of


Van der Niepoort also said he ‘would consider it, if it was a long term project. Also because I would love to play with some ideas I have about sherry, which is close by and it would make sense to combine the two.’

The estate, 13ha of which has already been planted with 10 different local grape varieties – including scarce local Andalusian grapes La Melonera, Tintilla, Blasco and Rome, and Mediterranean varieties Monastrill, Grenache and Syrah – will produce three different types of wines, with the first harvest expected in 2011.

The first wine, La Melonera, will be made by different guest winemakers.

The owner of each individual estate will make their own wines, helped by a technical team based at La Melonera and headed up by Spanish winemaker Jose Luis Perez Verdum.

Thirdly, there will be an estate wine, called Las Haciendas de La Melonera, which will come partly from the private wines of each estate, and partly from a selection made by the guest winemaker.

Sales begin in June, with estates of between 5.5ha and 18ha available, at prices starting at €3.5m.

The investors, who bought the land in 2003, have spent the last five years, and €22m, landscaping the estate and restoring ancient oak trees.

Written by Sophie Kevany

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