After widespread speculation across French media, George Clooney and his wife, the Lebanese-British barrister Amal Clooney, were understood to have agreed to buy Provence vineyard estate ‘domaine du Canadel’.
Local newspaper Var-Matin said it had confirmed the news, and cited the local mayor. The asking price was reportedly close to €8m (£6.9m, $9.7m).
But there was uncertainty this week after fresh reports emerged that a previous prospective buyer had challenged the deal with the sellers of the estate.
The local public prosecutor’s office for the commune of Draguignan confirmed to Agence France Presse that a legal case had been filed.
There was no suggestion that the Clooneys were aware of the potential legal issue or were involved in any wrongdoing.
Lying in Brignoles in the Var, Canadel is around a half-hour drive from Château Miraval, the Provence estate co-owned by Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and the Perrin family.
Alongside vines, there’s a pool and olive groves, and Brignoles mayor Didier Brémond told France-Bleu radio in April that he believed the Clooneys were primarily looking for somewhere to relax rather than necessarily a winery.
Yet the move has also put Brignoles on the map, drawing the attention of US television crews among others.
Picturesque Provence vineyard estates have become increasingly desirable, partly as the region’s signature rose wines have boomed in popularity.
Some buyers seek more of classic a lifestyle property with a few vines and a well-maintained residence, but others also have serious wine projects in mind, as described in a feature on buying a vineyard in the latest issue of Decanter magazine.
In July last year, Château Cos d’Estournel owner Michel Reybier bought Château La Mascaronne in the Var area for an undisclosed fee.
Reybier said he acquired the estate after being ‘won over by the quality of the wines and the potential of La Mascaronne terroir’.