As you may have heard in the press Domaines Clarence Dillon, owners of Chateau Haut Brion, have purchased Chateau Tertre Daugay in Saint Emilion.
This follows the recent purchase of Chateau Matras, Tertre Daugay’s neighbour, by Chateau Canon (owned by Chanel).
Saint Emilion seems to be attracting interest as wine makers spot the potential amongst its vines . . . last year aviation millionaire Laurent Dassault (the maker of Dassault Falcon business jets), owner of Chateau Dassault and Chateau La Fleur, made an approach to purchase both Chateaux La Croix de Gay and La Fleur de Gay from Dr Alain Raynaud. The Dassault Group also owns shares, amounting to 5%, of Premier Cru Chateau Cheval Blanc.
Haut Brion is not the only First Growth to expand their wine making capacity – Francois Pinault, owner of Chateau Latour purchased Chateau Grillet in the Rhone and Domaine René Engel in Burgundy, (now renamed Domaine d’Eugénie after Pinault’s grandmother) and Chateau Lafite has branched out into China.
Aparently Haut Brion’s decision in buying Tertre Daugay is to unleash the sleeping potential lying dormant in this estate – Prince Robert of Luxembourg has said:
“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.” According to Decanter Tertre Daugay is considered by critics to have excellent though under-exploited terroir and Haut Brion’s purchase seems rather astute given that they can not increase their own production in Pessac Leognan.
Tertre Daugay was once part of a larger estate – the word “tertre” translates as a hill 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.
The Daugay hill has given its name to 3 chateaux, Chateaux Tertre Daugay (at the summit of the hill), Daugay and Carteau Côtes Daugay (located on the south west slopes of the hill).
Vines have been planted on these hillsides since Roman times and the quality of wines made here has been high – back in 2005 Jean Luc Thunevin was recommending that Carteau Côtes Daugay be elevated to Grand Cru Classé status.
The vineyards of Daugay and Tertre Daugay were owned by the Royalist Sèze family in the 18th century who were staunch supporters of Louis XVI.
By the mid 19th century, the vineyard had become very well known, obtaining a gold medal the Universal Exposition of Paris in 1867 and from 1868 onwards it was known as a Saint Emilion First Growth.
In 1909 it seems the estate was divided into Daugay and Tertre Daugay. The recent history of Daugay is entwined with that of Chateau Angelus.
In 1920, Maurice de Bouard de Laforest, owner of Angelus, purchased the 12 acres of Daugay with his sister Henriette and his brother-in-law Paul Romieux.
The vineyard was absorbed into that of Angelus until 1985 when Daugay returned to being an autonomous château. Since 2006 Hélène Grenié de Boüard has run the estate – her husband, Jean-Bernard Grenié, also co-owns Chateau Angélus along with his cousin Hubert de Bouard de Laforest.
From 1909 Tertre Daugay passed through a couple of wine makers hands and from 1955 to 2006 was ranked as a Grand Cru Classé. However by 1978 it had fallen into neglect and was purchased at auction by Count Léo de Malet-Roquefort.
The Malet-Roquefort family are one of the oldest in Saint Emilion and have owned the First Growth Chateau La Gaffeliere for over 4 centuries (they also own the Saint Emilion Grand Cru Château Armens, the Bordeaux Supérieur La Chapelle d’Aliénor – previously known as Château Maracan – and negociant Maison Malet Roquefort).
Tertre Daugay has nearly 40 acres of vines which neighbour Chateaux Matras, l’Arrosée and Fonplegade.
The grapes planted are 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc – with some parcels having vines 100 years old. The chateau produces 60,000 bottles of the first wine and 13,300 bottles of the second label, Chateau Haut Daugay.
The technical team at Haut Brion, headed by Jean-Philippe Delmas, will oversee wine making at Tertre Daugay.