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Owner of Chateau Pontet Canet Buys Jenssen Cognac

Rebecca Gibb, writing for Wine-Searcher has reported that Alfred Tesseron owner of Chateau Pontet Canet has purchased the domaine Jenssen Cognac along with tis 22 hectare estate (50 acres) Le Maine Pertubaud in the premier cru Grande Champagne appellation (Boneuil).

Le Maine Pertubaud is a sprawling estate that was orignally a hamlet dating back to the 1600s and has been producing Cognac since the 1700s. In 2001 the estate was bought by Per Egil Jenssen, the descendant of a Norweigian family who had settled in France during the 1800s. He rennovated the entire estate and created the Jenssen Cognac brand. The vineyards are planted with Ugni Blanc and the estate produced a range of Cognacs from VSOP to the flagship limited edition Arcana. The estate also focused on tourism making the most of its beautiful old buildings plus swimming pool.

However in 2006 the estate was purchased by the Russian wine and spirits merchant Moscow International Winery (MMVZ). MMVZ investors included the Russian oligarch Andrei Borodin (ex head of the Bank of Moscow) . . . who is wanted by Interpol for fraud and embezzlement of state funds. Charente Libre wrote in 2011 that the estate was deserted and that some claimed it was being used as means of diverting capital from Russia to Europe:

The area has virtually no visible economic activity. No marketing structure. No market presence. Shipments of eau-de-vie [are an ] infinitesimal level. Production wise, [there are] no stocks, no trading activity . . . Jenssen has no economic coherence and all the characteristics of a ghost business.”

Given the huge potential of Le Maine Pertubaud that was being wasting away by the Russians it seems that Tesseron has made a very wise purchase. Although I am no Cognac expert Arcana had been quoted as being one of the world’s top ten cognacs.

Although Jenssen has its own distillery Tesseron intends to distil the cognac in his Tesseron cellars in Chateauneuf sur Charente to ensure quality. Tesseron Cognac was established in 1905 by Abel Tesseron relying on two separate estates, one situated in the Grande Champagne area (Boneuil) and the other in Petite Champagne (Saint-Surin). Chateau Pontet Canet was added to their portfolio in 1975 and the family also own Chateau Lafon Rochet in Saint Estephe which they purchased in 1960) .

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