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Haut-Brion owner to open Paris tasting room

Chateau Haut-Brion owner Domaine Clarence Dillon plans to open a tasting room in Paris next year, reminiscent of the 17th Century London tavern that first helped the estate to make its name.

The group has chosen to base its boutique tasting room in a 19th Century private town house (pictured) in one of the French capital’s most expensive areas – where real estate sells for up to €22,000 per square metre – opposite the gardens of the Grand Palais.

Its move honours Pontac’s Head tavern in 17th Century London, which helped the Pontac family, owner of Haut-Brion at the time, to popularise the estate alongside its several other Bordeaux properties among London’s upper classes.

‘The Pontacs were hugely successful in establishing Haut-Brion in London, at the time the heart of Europe,’ said Prince Robert of Luxembourg, president of Clarence Dillon, which also owns La Mission Haut-Brion. ‘Today, Paris is one of the most visited cities in the world, with 40m visitors per year.

‘Our location has an even greater significance,’ he added, because it is close to ‘the only remaining part of the buildings which held the 1855 Paris Exhibition where Haut-Brion was named a first-growth‘.

The tasting room, which is due to open mid-2015, will include a shop focusing on the ‘great terroirs of France’. There will also be restaurant facilities, cellars and a reception room, the group said.

‘We want to create the feeling of being received in an environment similar to that of Haut-Brion or La Mission, but in the heart of Paris,’ Prince Robert said.

Clarence Dillon’s head offices will be relocated to the upper floors from their current base at Avenue George V.

Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

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