Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion Expands Vineyards

Decanter has reported that the sale of Chateau Le Thil Comte Clary in Martillac, Pessac Leognan was finalised at the end of August. The chateau was sold by Baron Gerard de Laitre to Daniel and Florence Cathiard of Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte who have acquired the chateau, park and 11.6 hectares (28.6 acres) of the vineyard.

Patrice Pichet, owner of Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion, has also obtained 5.6 hectares (13.8 acres) of the vineyard. (Pichet purchased Carmes Haut Brion early last year).

The de Laitre family are descendants of the Clary family who established the estate. The Clarys were related to the Bordeaux wine merchants, politicians and ship owners the Duffour-Dubergiers who owned Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte in 1842 and the avenue of plane trees that connected the 2 chateaux still exists today.

I covered the story in my blog in June and if you are interested in learning more about Le Thil Comte Clary you can read about it here.

As Decanter points out Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion has now doubled its vineyard with the inclusion of vines from Chateau du Thil Comte Clary to 10.3 hectares (25.4 acres). Although Chateau Les Carmes Haut Brion now has nothing in common with its prestigious namesake Chateau Haut Brion, it did centuries ago.

In 1584 Jean de Pontac of Chateau Haut Brion gave a water-mill surrounded by pasture and vines to the Carmes de Notre-Dame order.

The Carmelites kept the Haut Brion appellation for 200 years and over time, the estate came to be known as Les Carmes Haut Brion. Throughout this period, the ownership of the estate never changed, sheltered from the property transactions common in pre-revolutionary France.

When the French Revolution came, as a result of the confiscation of Church possessions, the Carmes Haut Brion estate became public property in 1791.

At the beginning of the 19th Century, it was bought by Léon Colin, a Bordeaux wine merchant and direct ancestor of the Chantecaille-Furt family who owned the estate until it was purchased by the Group Pichet in 2010.

Pauline Astier of Groupe Pichet told Decanter that the grapes from both vineyards will from now be vinified at Carmes Haut Brion and that there are plans to restructure the vineyard, and to build new grape reception and winery areas.

Stéphane Derenoncourt will continue as consultant of the expanded property, with Guillaume Pouthier as director.

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