When it was announced in late July that François Pinault's Artemis Group, owner of Chateau Latour, was purchasing Napa Valley's famed Araujo estate, waves of speculation and commentary rippled through the California wine community. On popular wine bulletin boards, some wine geeks and Araujo customers proclaimed they were 'shocked' by the move, while others joked that perhaps it meant Araujo's wines would get less expensive in poor vintages.
That one of Bordeaux's greatest estates would look to the Napa Valley somehow still seems a novelty to most, despite a long history of European investment in California in general, and in the Napa Valley in particular. Indeed, when critic Robert Parker decided to foreshadow the announcement of Cos d'Estournel's purchase of Napa Valley's Chateau Montelena (subsequently scrapped), he could hardly have used more superlatives.
'Huge news from Napa tomorrow unless it leaks', wrote Parker. 'One of the biggest stories in my 30 years in the wine field will be the detailed announcement ... officially set for tomorrow ... that will shake the fine wine world.'
Echoes of that excitement could be seen in the commentary and news that followed the Araujo sale. The idea of Bordeaux buying into the Napa Valley still tickles the American fancy.
This article is my monthly column at JancisRobinson.Com, Alder on America, and is available only to subscribers of her web site. If you're not familiar with the site, I urge you to give it a try. It's only £6.99 a month or £69 per year ($11/mo or $109 a year for you Americans) and well worth the cost, especially considering you basically get free, searchable access to the Oxford Companion to Wine ($65) and the World Atlas of Wine ($50) as part of the subscription costs. Click here to sign up.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Napa Wines and a Diversity of Opinions Vinography Images: Sunlit Ridges Returning to Chateauneuf-du-Pape For the First Time In Pursuit of Balance Tasting: March 10, San Francisco Vinography Images: Electric Vineyard Premiere Napa Valley and 2012 Cabernet Robert Parker Addresses Wine Writers 12th Annual Pinot Noir Summit: March 9, San Francisco Vinography Images: Sunset Oak The Worst Drought in Five Centuries
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy