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Pichon-Lalande invests in South Africa

Renowned Bordeaux second-growth estate Pichon-Lalande has expanded into South Africa after acquiring a 126ha fruit farm estate in the Stellenbosch region.

May-Eliane de Lencquesaing (pictured), the owner of the Bordeaux château, has put her technical director, Thomas Dô-Chi-Nam, in charge of the Glen Elly property and its development.

Plans include the planting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and perhaps some Petit Verdot with the object of creating one or several blends.

After spending years searching for a terroir – originally looking to America – de Lencquesaing became interested in South Africa. Her sponsorship of the International wine and Spirit Competition trophy for the best-blended red wine bought her into contact with South African producers.

She was also very keen to highlight the ethical aspect of her investment in South Africa. ‘I believe it’s good to invest in and encourage developing countries. I believe in the South Africans,’ she told decanter.com.

It is unlikely that the wine produced will resemble her Pichon-Lalande and Madame de Lencquesaing was keen to point out that she was not aiming to emulate a Bordeaux wine.

‘It is not Bordeaux. It will be a high quality South African wine. Geographically it is more like Burgundy and the climate is Tuscan,’ she said. She added that she would also be planting about 15ha of olive trees in the estate.

Madame de Lencquesaing is undecided as to whether or not the future wine’s label will display the Pichon-Lalande name.

The Glen Elly property is situated next to the well-known Rustenburg estate in the Simonsberg district, north of Stellenbosch town.

After planting is completed and the vines are producing, the first bottles of the Glen Elly/Pichon-Lalande wine should hit the market by 2012.

Written by Oliver Styles

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