Rupert Millar, writing for The Drinks Business, has reported that André Lurton has hired Michel Rolland as wine making consultant to work on improving the domaine’s wines:
“The company explained that the hiring of Rolland, ‘coincides with the implementation of a policy that is now two years old: to improve the André Lurton wines still further’.
He will be working alongside another well-known name in the consulting world, Denis Dubourdieu, who works on the estate’s white wines.
Rolland will focus on the red wines from Chateau Couhins Lurton and La Louvière in Pessac Léognan in particular, but will also be closely involved with the winemaking at chateaux de Rochemorin, de Cruzeau (also both in Pessac) and Bonnet in Entre Deux Mers.”
André Lurton played a big role in the creation of the appellation Pessac Leognan and in the struggle for the preservation of the AOC when threatened with urbanization. His policy over the years has been to buy neglected chateaux with forgotten potential, sympathetically renovating them and raising the quality of the wines. Chateau La Louviere, in particular, is now a historical monument and listed building.
Early last year Vignobles André Lurton sold an 18% stake to the bank Crédit Agricole (CA Grands Crus). Crédit Agricole already owns several chateaux including Grand Puy Ducasse (Medoc), Meyney (Sainte Estephe) and Rayne Vigneau (Sauternes).
André Lurton, now an octagenarian, sold the stake to sustain the wine company and secure the future for his 7 children. The Lurton family represent one of the largest wine dynasties in the world with no fewer than 17 family members of the current generation working in the wine trade, 1300 hectares of vines and 27 chateaux.
André’s nephews, brothers Jacques and Francois Lurton are among the most successful flying winemakers in the world. They consult on wine making with over two dozen chateaux around the globe, as well as building and owning wineries in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, Languedoc and Corbieres.
Their cousin, Pierre Lurton, is chief executive at Cheval Blanc. Like all Lurtons, Pierre is proud of the family name. When he started at Cheval Blanc, the owners at the time, the Fourcaud-Laussac family, asked him if he could change his name for business purposes? Perhaps use his mother’s name?
“If you wish,” he told them. “You understand, of course, that my mother’s name is Lafite.”