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Smith-Haut-Lafitte Owners Gain Control of Four Bordeaux Wineries

Posted: Jul 11, 2014

Categories: Wine & Liquor


Daniel and Florence Cathiard, the dynamic owners of Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte, are taking their talents for managing top Bordeaux wine properties to several new estates. Partnering with the Moulin family, owners of the upscale Paris shopping center Galeries Lafayette, the couple have acquired a stake in four châteaus. As part of the deal, the Cathiards will manage the estates. The price of the agreement was not disclosed.


The wineries include 43-acre Château Beauregard in Pomerol, 20-acre Pavillon de Beauregard in Lalande-de-Pomerol, 138-acre Château Bastor-Lamontagne in Sauternes and 84-acre Château St.-Robert in Graves.




The Moulin family will be the majority shareholders. This is the first joint venture for the Cathiards, and the first time they've signed on specifically as managers. The Moulins may have been looking for experienced hands—this is their first investment in wineries. "Our families have been friends for more than 30 years," Florence Cathiard told Wine Spectator. "Daniel has been an administrator for the Galeries Lafayette group for years."

The executive management team will include Smith-Haut-Lafitte technical director Fabien Teitgen. Daniel Cathiard will be general manager, and Florence will head sales and marketing.

The estates were sold as a package deal by the French bank and insurance group BPCE. Industry observers say the competition was fierce. Château Beauregard, founded by the Knights Hospitallers in the 11th century, is large by Pomerol standards and has a lovely 18th century château and park that will make it attractive for wine tourism. The soil of clay, sandy gravel and compacted iron deposits is planted with 70 percent Merlot and 30 percent Cabernet Franc. "The terroir on the plateau is magnificent," said Florence.


On the Left Bank, she was enthusiastic about the potential at both St.-Robert and Bastor-Lamontagne. The latter is a second growth in Sauternes with a large single block of vineyards, planted with 80 percent Sémillon, 17 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 3 percent Muscadelle.


While they are considering a modern-style Sauternes that is fresh, hoping to appeal to a wide range of young wine drinkers, "we will adapt to the terroir before we look at marketing," said Florence. She noted that recently some powerful Bordeaux players have put their money and faith in Sauternes and Barsac, including Robert Peugeot at Guiraud, Bernard Magrez at Haut-Peyraguey and Silvio Denz at Lafaurie-Peyraguey. "There is a lot going on in Sauternes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sauternes took off in China."


Florence was recently elected president of France’s national wine tourism council, and the government named her a Chevalier in the French Legion of Honor, but she shows no interest in slowing down. "We will soon be celebrating 25 years—a quarter of a century—at Smith-Haut-Lafitte. We’re at an age when most people look back over the path taken," she said. "Daniel and I prefer to look forward, to have new projects with young people."

In addition to Smith-Haut-Lafitte, the Cathiards also own Château Le Thil, Château Cantelys, skin-care company Caudalie, the luxury hotel-spa Les Sources de Caudalie, Paris hotel Les Étangs de Corot and a catered ski chalet in Meribel.


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