Skip to main content

Nightmares of balaclava clad Russians might soon be replaced by reality

Rumours are again rife about a chateau for sale in Bordeaux, that some Russians might want to buy, although, one of the three owners, Alain Laguillaumie, is categorical in his denials.

"The chateau is not for sale," he said. "If someone turns up one day with a very large suitcase full of money, you never know, but at the moment, nothing is in the works."

Laguillaumie is on the board of a company called Teleperformance and the vice president of the company, Jacques Berrebi is the second owner, along with Dominique Hebrard, who is based in Bordeaux.

Denial, while annoying for a journalist trying to write a story, is quite the right thing to do. Never mind the fact that reliable property sources say the first round of paper work has been signed. The all important second round of signing has not been finalised and no money, or perhaps not enough money, has changed hands yet.

Chateau sale transactions are notoriously tricky and discreet for that reason. A buyer might run scared, or a seller, once something slips out. The reasons you might fail to buy a chateau, especially if you are in business – Russian or otherwise – are not something you want the whole world to know.

Nor does one want anyone to think a chateau failed to sell, or has been on the market for anything longer than a day. Château Lascombes for example has allegedly been on the market 'for years', 'for three years' or 'for too long' depending on who you are talking to. The fact that it has recently expanded its growing area by renting the next door farm and is producing very good wine – at least the 2004 I tasted recently was very good – always comes second.

And anyway, I would far prefer to write a story about Russians having bought a chateau in Bordeaux, rather than that they might.

They have after all been trying for ages – not all of them obviously, but some. And no luck so far. The reasons for this range from something along the lines of a 'swart gevaar' – the paranoid fear of black people that gripped many white South African's just before the end of Apartheid – to basic cultural difference in attitudes to business and difficulty with getting money from Russia – and other countries – declared OK for use in France.

Bordeaux folklore currently comprises stories of balaclava covered Russians, descending from limos with blacked out windows, accompanied by translators in short skirts with legs up to here, to conduct drunken meetings with sober chateaux owners. Suitcases of money have not been mentioned but I am sure they must be in the limo.

Last September I wrote an article about Russians trying and failing to buy, but it ended with two reliable bankers, from UBS and Transactions R, the property of Rothschild Bank, saying they were in no doubt that a Russian client would buy 'in a year or two'.

"Of course, they are not stupid, they are realising how they have to do it," said Frederic Dubois of Lazard Bank's Bordeaux office last September. "They need to arrive with someone in the Bordeaux world, who can manage the codes," he said.

"Today some of them are breaking their teeth, arriving all tanks and trumpets blaring. But the ones who are determined, and who can crack the code will succeed," he said, so I am sure they will get here soon. Personally I can't wait.

For the moment though, no wonder so many of them seem to be thoroughly enjoying themselves in London with the apparently less coded – or differently coded, shall we say – English. Those that are not dead that is.

Just think of the story I heard a while ago about a friend of a friend who was explaining to her daughter, the day before the start of 'big school', that not everyone would be quite like her. Meaning not everyone would have two ponies, a house in London and one in the country, a driver, etc. etc.

Well, the little girl, all of ten or eleven, went off to school and came home in agreement. "You are right mummy," she said, "They are not all like me. I sit beside a Russian girl and SHE comes to school in a helicopter." So there.

Just think how that would go down with the Bordelaise, who will probably vote for Juppe as mayor again mainly because he is the conservative local politician who has managed to totally distance himself, despite being in the same party, from the bling bling of Sarkozy.

You see how I can't wait.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bordeaux 2017 aanraders - de grootste wijnen

Evenals vorig jaar geven we met plezier onze volstrekt subjectieve lijst met gaafste rode wijnen van het jaar. We hebben bijna alles geproefd van Bordeaux 2017, maar geen Petrus en Lafleur. Binnenkomen bij Petrus is zo'n gedoe dat we dat na jaren proeven maar laten voor wat het is. Lafleur pakken we volgend jaar graag weer mee. Maar zoals is te zien hebben we toch wel weer ons best gedaan.

19½
Cheval Blanc 2017
Latour 2017
Léoville-las-Cases 2017
Palmer 2017
Vieux Château Certan 2017

19+
Ausone 2017
Canon 2017
Haut-Bailly 2017
Lafite Rothschild 2017
l’Eglise-Clinet 2017
La Conseillante 2017
Le Pin 2017
Léoville Barton 2017
Margaux 2017
Montrose 2017
Pontet-Canet 2017

19
Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse 2017
Clos Fourtet 2017
Cos d’Estournel 2017
Domaine de Chevalier rouge 2017
Grand Puy Lacoste 2017
Haut-Brion 2017
l’Evangile 2017
l’If 2017
La Mission Haut-Brion 2017
Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2017
Lynch Bages 2017
Mouton Rothschild 2017
Pavie Macquin 2017
Rauzan-Ségla 2017

18½+
Calon Ségur 20…

Bordeaux 2017 - het herrezen jaar

We zijn terug van vijf dagen proeven, een dikke 8 uur per dag Bordeaux 2017's proeven. Een ervaring rijker, zeker als je de wijnen meetelt die we in de avonden proefden, en dronken. Het meest bijzonder waren wel de Poujeaux 1928 en de Domaine de Chevalier rouge 1928. Ongelofelijke wijnen en een ongekende tijdreis van 90 jaar. Een bijkans mystieke ervaring.


Of wat te denken van de witte Latour Martillac 1948. Toen we een paar dagen later op het château de 2017's proefden hoorden we van de keldermeester dat er die week 2 van de 6 nog aanwezige flessen Blanc 1948 uit de kelder waren gehaald - zelf had hij deze jaargang nooit geproefd. De avond waar al deze bijzondere flessen werden ontkurkt was het jaarlijkse diner van de Académie du Vin de Bordeaux.

Het thema die avond: wijnen uit jaren eindigend op 8. Dus dronken we bij het eten achtereenvolgens Latour 1978, Mouton 1988, Lafite 1998, Haut-Brion 2008 en Yquem 2008, deels uit magnums en dubbele magnums. Het was een leerzame avond…

Bordeaux 2017 vorst slachtoffers

Het Bordeaux 2017 verslag komt eraan. Er wordt aan gewerkt. In de vorige posting noemde ik al de vorst die eind april 2017 heeft toegeslagen. Bij de volgende domeinen was de schade zo groot dat de wijnen niet en-primeur zullen worden aangeboden.

• Côte de Baleau 2017 • Dassault 2017 • Larmande 2017 • La Tour Figeac 2017 • Montviel 2017 • Siaurac & Plaisir de Siaurac 2017 • Doisy Védrines 2017 • Nairac 2017 • Brun 2017 • Clos du Jaugueyron 2017 • Chantegrive Blanc & Rouge 2017 • Fieuzal Blanc & Rouge 2017 • Fleur de Boüard 2017 • Fugue de Nénin 2017 • La Pointe 2017 • Mauvesin Barton 2017 • Retout Blanc 2017 • Bolaire 2017 • Arsac 2017 • Camensac 2017 • Climens 2017 • Fleur Cardinale 2017 • Fonbel 2017 • Haut Bergey Blanc & Rouge 2017 • Laroze 2017 • Chauvin 2017 • Marjosse Rouge 2017 • Mille Roses 2017 • Arums de Lagrange 2017 • Corbin 2017 • Gironville 2017 • Grand Corbin 2017 • Grand Corbin Despagne 2017 • Chante Alouette 2017 • Des Annereaux 2017
Van sommige wijnen …