Rolland ‘sad’ to sell Le Bon Pasteur

12th June, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

Bordeaux’s most prominent consultant, Michel Rolland, has admitted that he was sad to have to sell his Pomerol-based family château, Le Bon Pasteur, to a Chinese businessman.

Bordeaux heavyweight Michel Rolland has admitted he was sad to sell family estate Le Bon Pasteur

Bordeaux heavyweight Michel Rolland has admitted he was sad to sell family estate Le Bon Pasteur in Pomerol

Speaking exclusively to the drinks business at the UK launch of his new Spanish wine project – R&G – Rolland said: “Of course it was sad to sell it as it’s been in our family since the ‘20s, but we’re not the first family in Bordeaux to sell and we won’t be the last.

“I knew it would happen so I was prepared for it. I’m still a shareholder and still do a lot for the estate – I’m still the winemaker and estate manager.

“Le Bon Pasteur was a family problem – I knew for years that I was going to have to sell the property because my brother wanted to get his share of the money out.

“While the value of the property is quite high, the income you get from it is almost zero so my brother wanted out and we had to sell.

Rolland refused to reveal the sale price of Le Bon Pasteur

Rolland refused to reveal the sale price of Le Bon Pasteur

“I did what I could to keep it until the economic situation improved and we could get a better price for it, and managed to hold the sale off for five years,” he said.

Despite his candour, Rolland remained tight-lipped about how much he sold the estate for, as well as the price paid for two other properties – Château Rolland-Maillet in St-Emilion and Château Bertineau St Vincent in Lalande Pomerol.

“I can’t tell you the price, no one ever reveals the price, and if prices are printed they’re always wrong,” he said.

Having sold the trio to Chinese businessman Pan Sutong, chairman of Hong Kong-based investment holding company Goldin Financial Holdings, Rolland sees the influx of Chinese investors in Bordeaux as a positive for the region.

“Yes, there are a lot of Chinese buying properties in Bordeaux at the moment but people have short memories – before it was the Americans, the Irish, the Belgians, the Japanese – Bordeaux has always been a cosmopolitan place.

“Who buys estates in Bordeaux? The people with money, that’s why the Chinese are flocking to the region at the moment. I actually think it’s a good thing as the Chinese interest in Bordeaux is helping to keep the region alive,” he told db.

Rolland's new Spanish wine project, R&G

Rolland’s new Spanish wine project, R&G

The sale came about through a meeting with Sutong at Sloan Estate in the Napa Valley, where Rolland consults, which Sutong bought in June 2011 for US$40m.

Rolland insists that there are no plans for Sloan’s name to change to Pan Estate but rather a special cuvée is being made for sole consumption within Sutong’s Goldin group.

“We’re currently only making three barrels of the ‘Pan’ wine, so the production is tiny,” Rolland confirmed.

Rolland was in London this week for the UK launch of R&G, a collaboration with Spanish entrepreneur Javier Galarreta, founder of the Rioja Alavesa-based Araex group.

The wines – a 100% Tempranillo from Rioja, a Tinto Fino and Merlot blend from Ribera del Duero, and a 100% Verdejo from Rueda – will be distributed in the UK by Matthew Clark.

Value is at the heart of the trio, with the wines ranging from £12-14. While the Rioja is aged in 100% new American oak, the Ribera spends 10 months in 100% new French oak.

“With this range, given their price point, I’m not seeking to make wines of huge complexity, but rather enjoyable wines that can be drunk young but still have the potential to age,” said Rolland.

As for the region of Rioja, Rolland believes it has huge potential but that the Consejo needs to loosen its grip in terms of rules and regulations.

“To succeed you have to break the rules from time to time – sticking rigidly to a set of rules is stupid and ultimately damages that quality of the wines,” he said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

On-Trade Regional Sales Manager

Anthony Byrne Fine Wines
London and the South East, UK

Commercial Director

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Key Accounts Manager - Impulse Channel

Australian Vintage Limited
Croydon, Greater London, United Kingdom, UK

Sales Support Assistant

H2Vin Ltd
London, UK

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, Surrey

Sales Order Processor

Amathus Drinks
Park Royal, London NW10, UK

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

Events & PR Co-ordinator

Alliance Wine
London, UK

Partner Development Manager - That Boutique-y Gin Company

That Boutique-y Gin Company
Field Based, UK

Head of Merchant Sales

Grapevine the Wineservice Company
Cumbria, UK

Business Development Manager – Central London

Marussia Beverages UK Ltd
Field based – London, UK

Account Manager – Premium Restaurants, London

Kingfisher Beer Europe Ltd
London (Central), UK

Field Sales Representative - Beer Innovation

Elastic
Various locations, UK

Events Executive

The Drinks Business
London, UK

Area Sales Executive

Gordon & Macphail
Southern England (excluding London) and Inner London, UK

The Global Beer Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st August 2017

Champagne Masters 2017

Deadline : 4th August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th August 2017

The Global Riesling Masters 2017

Deadline : 10th August 2017

Click to view more

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Rioja Masters 2016

Now in its fifth year, the competition will recognise and reward the finest Riojas on the world stage.

Click to view more