Chateau Loudenne in the northern Medoc has been purchased by Huaili Zhong, a Chinese industiralist specialising in spirits from Guizhou province in the south of China. Loudenne is Zhong’s first investment in Bordeaux.
Chateau Loudenne was sold by the Lafragette family, who had owned the chateau since 2000. John Paul Lafragette had been involved in the Cognac industry and the family sold off their other two chateaux in 2008: Chateau de Rouillac (Pessac Leognan) and Chateau de l’Hospital (Graves).
Loudenne is the only chateau in the Medoc to have a private harbour – it lies in Saint-Yzans-Médoc (3 miles north of Saintt Estephe) on the last major gravel bank of the Haut Medoc on slopes leading right down to the river’s edge.
This close proximity to the river played a major role int he chateau’s history as wines were shipped from here before heading out into the Atlantic Ocean. The rose pink Chartreuse style chateau was built in the 17th century and was further developed by the Brothers Gylbey who were London wine merchants in 1875.
The Victorian chais on the riverbank were built by the Bordeaux architect Ernest Minvielle.
Chateau Loudenne’s estate covers 132 hectares and includes a renowned botanical garden with a collection of old roses. Loudenne makes both red, white and rosé wines – the rosé is named Pink de Loudenne after the chateau’s signature pink colour and the rose garden. White wine has been produced there since 1880.
The vineyards are planted to 48 hectares of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc and 12 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
The chateau also attracts tourists and wine enthusiasts – it has a wine museum and is open as a hotel and restaurant with an in house chef, caters for corporate events and wedding receptions and can accommodate up to 150 guests in the Victorian cellars. Loudenne also hosts cultural events such as art exhibitions, operas and concerts.
The purchase of Chateau Loudenne brings the number of Bordeaux properties purchased by Chinese investors up to about 50 in recent years. The type of chateaux selected is typically a beautiful and historic building either with tourist facilities or the potential for developing them. In the case of Loudenne it seems that Huaili Zhong has made a very smart move.