>> Friday, December 03, 2010
A Chinese billionaire has bought the Chateau Chenu-Lafitte in Bordeaux in order to give it as a gift to his 20 year old son (Le Journal du Vin says it is a shipping magnate called Goulong Yin but other sources says the buyer is anonymous). Chenu-Lafite is a little known name, not to say totally unknown. According to Decanter, the name has not been in use in recent years, until the new Chinese owners started bottling wine under it. The name, together with vineyards, and a chateau building was sold by Philippe Darricarrère. He kept 42 ha for himself and will still be making wine under the name Chateau Mille Secousses (“a thousand bumps”, which is probably a good description of the financial situation leading to the sale).
It is maybe not entirely a coincidence that the name has in it “Lafitte” (albeit with two ‘t’). Château Lafite Rothschild happens to be the wine that has broken price records on the Chinese market recently. It is amusing to note that the first chateau bough by a Chinese (as far as we know) was called Latour Laguens. There is also a third Chinese chateau (in Fronsac) called Chateau Richelieu. Château Chenu-Lafitte is in the AOC Côtes de Bourg region on the right bank but the Chinese owners have chosen to “declassify” the wine to AOC Bordeaux, presumably thinking that Bordeaux will be easier to sell. Perhaps worth noting in the context of the strong trend in France for more and more (and smaller and smaller) appellations and sub-appellations? Read more on decanter.com and terredevins.com