Chateau Tertre-Daugay sold to Domaine Clarence Dillon

Despite continued interested from overseas purchasers it is another established Bordeaux name that is behind the latest purchase of a Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé estate, Château Tertre-Daugay, according to Jane Anson on  Hot on the heels of the purchase of Château Matras by the Wertheimer family, owners of Château Canon and Château Rauzan-Ségla, the Dillon family, owners of Château Haut-Brion and Château La Mission Haut-Brion, have purchased Château Tertre-Daugay from Count Léo de Malet Roquefort, owner of Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé Château La Gaffelière. The 16 hectares of Château Tertre-Daugay are barely a stone’s throw away from Château Matras, on the same south facing slopes overlooking the Dordogne valley, and adjacent to l’Arrosée and Fonplegade.

Unlike many Saint-Emilion estates Château Tertre Daugay did not take its name from previous owners but from its position on a promontory overlooking the Dordogne valley. The word “tertre” translates as a knoll or mound and “guet” means a watch or lookout and in the Middle Ages a watch-tower was erected on the hill to warn the inhabitants of Saint-Emilion against attack. Vines were planted on these hillsides in Roman times but the estate had fallen into neglect by the time it was purchased at auction by Count Léo de Malet-Roquefort in 1978. The vineyard is in a single block and is planted with 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc at a density of 5,800 vines per hectare. The soils here are a mixture of shallow clay-rich calcereous soil on hard limestone bedrock (“calacire à Astéries”) on the plateau and clay-rich calcereous soil on soft limestone bedrock (“molasses du Fronsadais”) on the slopes.

The opinion held by many that this estate has yet to reach its full potential seems to be shared by its new owners. In a brief statement on the Domaine Clarence Dillon website Prince Robert of Luxembourg states:  “Domaine Clarence Dillon is pleased to announce the acquisition of Château Tertre Daugay, former First Growth of Saint-Emilion (as noted by the trade in Cocks & Feret books from 1868 until 1949). Our family company looks forward to returning this great estate to its former glory.”

Alexander Hall