To those of you in the wine world paying attention to the dollar's stomach churning lows against the Euro, this news may come as little or no surprise. This morning, Chateau Cos d'Estournel announced it's purchase of the historic Chateau Montelena in Napa. While not the first bit of investment from Bordeaux in the Napa Valley, it is certainly a significant one, given both the landmark historical status of Chateau Montelena as well as the prestige and success of Cos d'Estournel, whose star has certainly been rising in Bordeaux over the past decade.
Exact details of the transaction aren't available, but speculation of amounts nearing $110 million dollars have been thrown about on various web sites, including Decanter. The speculation about the price, however, doesn't begin to touch the wild imaginings of the eRobertParker.Com bulletin boards over the last 18 hours after Robert Parker posted a tantalizing message yesterday announcing what he described as "one of the biggest stories in his three decades in the wine industry" with no further details.
While I certainly don't think this event merits the description Parker used, it's certainly an interesting development, and if the economy continues the way it has recently, probably not the last time a prime Napa property will be snapped up by European investors of one kind or another.
Chateau Montelena was founded in 1882 and fell into disuse through Prohibition before being purchased and revived by Jim Barrett in the early 1970's. Known for its production of high quality Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, Montelena became a world famous winery after its 1973 Chardonnay beat out French competitors in the famous 1976 Judgement of Paris.
Cos d'Estournel is known as one of Bordeaux's "Super Seconds" -- a Second Growth estate that punches above its weight consistently. It is owned by Michel Reybier, who made his fortune in a French meats company and now runs French petroleum giant Pebercan.
The 2008 vintage for Montelena will be overseen by Cos d'Estournel's director and winemaker, and the speculation has already begun as to whether the price will be going up. I'd definitely put Euros on that.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
The Essence of Wine Wins a Roederer Award I'll Drink to That: Carenn Jackson of Glazer's Vinography Unboxed: Week of September 13, 2015 Vinography Images: True Blue 2015 Masters of Wine Champagne Tasting: September 28, San Francisco Is Wine Ready for its Close Up? Warm Up: Pre-Prohibition Texas Wine I'll Drink to That: Chad Carey of Hot Joy 2015 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: October 20, San Francisco Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 9/13
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune