After months of speculation it has emerged that Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande has been taken over by the Rouzaud family of Louis Roederer.
Pichon Lalande owner May-Eliane de Lencquesaing will sell a majority interest in the chateau as well as nearby cru bourgeois estate Chateau Bernadotte and a minority interest in her 45ha South African property, Glenelly, which she bought in 2003.
The news comes after months of sales discussions. In May this year decanter.com reported that the Pauillac estate – one of Bordeaux’s most celebrated properties – was in discussion with some half dozen suitors, with Hermès the clear favourite. That sale fell through.
De Lencquesaing, who is in her 80s, has run the chateau for the past 30 years, and its image is very closely associated with her. It is understood the Rouzaud deal is in part to secure the future of Pichon: France’s punitive inheritance taxes could well cause the break-up of the estate if it had to be divided amongst the owner’s heirs. There is no obvious successor in her immediate family.
Managing director Gildas d’Ollone, de Lencquesaing’s nephew, will continue to run the estate. There will be no change in personnel.
With the new venture, Louis Roederer will be adding to its existing portfolio in the region, where it already owns Chateau de Pez and Chateau Haut Beausejour in Saint Estèphe. Roederer also owns Champagne Deutz, Maison Delas, Ramos Pinto Port, Domaines Ott, Roederer Estate and Scharffenberger in California.
The exact amount to be retained by the Lencquesaing family remains to be agreed, as does their exact role once the alliance is finalised. A spokesperson at Louis Roederer told decanter.com, ‘We hope that agreement will be reached by the end of the year.’
Whatever the final arrangements in terms of split of ownership, de Lencquesaing has been keen to underline continuity rather than change, ‘This decision will have no effect on Pichon nor Bernadotte’s organisation; rather it will rather secure the future of both chateaux,’ she said.
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux, and Adam Lechmere