Roederer Seals Deal with Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

The Champagne house of Louis Roederer, known for its rave bubbly, Cristal, announced today it had completed negotiations with Mme. May Eliane de Lencquesaing, inheritor and belle dame of the 2nd growth Château Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. The transfer took place January 1; details of the sale were not divulged.

The deal, rumored to include various suitors throughout 2006, includes the sale of Lencquesaing's cru bourgeois estate

Château Bernadotte in the Medoc. The move to sell by Lencquesaing, in her 80s, is reported to have been spawned by an effort to keep the landmark chateau that was established by her family in 1689, and its 215 acres, whole. There is no immediate successor to her and by French law, inheritors split the property equally, often resulting in acrimonious court fights as the chateau slides downhill. Instead, with a sale, they may split the proceeds.

"The House of Louis Roederer intends to continue the work accomplished by the team centered on May Eliane de Lencquesaing, which has elevated these estates to the highest level of prestige and quality," according to a press release issued today.

Under the watch of family member Frédéric Rouzaud, Roederer, established in Champagne in 1776, has dramatically expanded its portfolio. Roederer now owns Château de Pez and Château Haut-Béausejour in Saint Estèphe, Champagne Deutz in Champagne, Delas Frères in the Rhone, Adriano Ramos Pinto Port in the Douro, Domaines Ott in Provence and Roederer Estate and Scharffenberger in Mendocino's Anderson Valley in California.

The deal followed a summer of sales rumors, punctuated by a decision by the luxury goods' Hermés family (they began as saddle makers in 1880) to retreat from negotiations; instead the Hermés brothers bought PMF Sichels's Château Fourcas Hosten as their first foray into wine just before the 2006 harvest.

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