Burgundy House Cottin Freres Sells Outside The Family
Under French inheritance law, in the Napoleonic Code originally established in 1804, property is inherited by bloodline. That makes it virtually impossible to disinherit an offspring and that is the main reason behind the array of vineyards the size of large postage stamps that make up the Burgundy region, as the sons and daughters of sons and daughters each wind up with a piece of land here and there.
Imagine our surprise, then, to learn that the Burgundy House Cottin Freres, which brings us the well-known Laboure-Roi brand, sold seven hectares (nearly 17 acres) of Meursault vineyards, to a group of investors headed by New York sommelier Robert Bohr.
Premier cru is Burgundy's version of Bordeaux's "first growth," which conveniently is the English translation of premier cru. The sale of the respected Domaine Rene Manuel includes two premier cru sites: Clos des Boucheres, part of the premier cru Boucheres, and premier cru Poruzots, plus the well-regarded Clos de la Baronne label.
The selling price was 12.3 million euros (about 16.4 million dollars). When last valued in September 2009, the properties were worth 6.7 million euros.
The vineyards will be leased to and managed by Jean-Marc Roulot of Domaine Roulot (who owns a piece of Boucheres), and Dominique Lafon of Domaine Lafon-two distinguished vignerons in Meursault.
This is a rare event in Burgundy. Such property transfers often cause much consternation among the locals, and especially among the blood relatives that remain.