Saint-Estephe Cru Bourgeois bought by Belgian entrepreneur

Chateau La Haye, the Cru Bourgeois estate in Saint-Estephe, has been purchased by Belgian businessman Chris Cardon, according to the Sud Ouest newspaper.

The chateau, which had been on the market since 2010, is situated close to Lafon Rochet and Lilian Ladouys in the southern part of the Saint-Estephe appellation. It was owned by the same family for almost four centuries, from 1557 to 1927, when it was sold by Pierre-Marie Bernard de Saint Affrique II, a direct descendant of the original owner, Sire Janot Bernard, the “seigneur du fief” of the Lessac valley. Until the revolution, the domain was, together with Calon and Pez, one of the three noble houses of the parish of Saint-Estephe. There was then a succession of owners, including a Dutchman from Utrecht, a Bordeaux negociant, a Parisian pharmacist, the Gardinier family, owners of Chateau Phelan Segur, a Vice President of Danone and the most recent owners, the Lambiale family, who acquired the estate in 2005.

There are just over 11 hectares of vines in total, split into various parcels around the chateau and to the west and the north of the appellation. The dominant grape variety is Merlot, accounting for approximately 60% of the plantings, with the balance made up of Cabernet Sauvignon and a small amount of Petit Verdot. The estate produces two wines, Chateau La Haye, the grand vin, and Fief de la Haye, the second wine, although in certain vintages it also produces a “micro-cuvée”, Majesté par Chateau La Haye, made from the best parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. In Decanter’s Panel Tasting of 2009 Cru Bourgeois wines (February 2012 issue) Chateau La Haye headed the field, achieving a score of 18.5-20 points and being awarded 5 stars and the Decanter Award.

The Sud Ouest reports in the same article that Chateau La Haye’s new owner is in the process of acquiring the five hectares of nearby Chateau Bel Air, situated close to the village of Saint-Estephe. These acquisitions will amount to a significant investment in the appellation with one hectare of vines in Saint-Estephe worth 350,000 Euros on average, according to the latest SAFER figures. However, Saint-Estephe land values still lag well behind those of Margaux and Saint-Julien (1,100,000 €/ha) and Pauillac (1,650,000), although they are ten times more valuable than the vineyards of AOC Medoc, just a few kilometres to the North, which are worth an average of just 35,000 Euros per hectare.

Alexander Hall