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Luc Planty acquires Sauternes’ historic Château de Malle

Sauternes’ historic Château de Malle has been acquired by the former director of Château Guiraud, Luc and his wife Clémence Planty, who plan to restore the estate to its former glory and convert it to organic agriculture. 

Château de Malle picture credit: @FredPayet

In news that will surely please all lovers of the often over-looked if perhaps newly resurgent wines of Sauternes and Barsac, Luc and Clémence Planty have announced today the acquisition of Château de Malle in Preignac. The château itself is a much celebrated and much loved historical monument and the wine was of course recognised in the famous classification of 1855 as a second growth.

Yet, it was put on the market by the previous owners, the family of the comtes de Bournazel many years ago and has fallen in abandon ever since. The vineyard now needs significant work before it enters back into production.

Its vineyards span the appellations of the Graves and Sauternes. It will now begin a new phase of its long history in the capable hands of Luc Planty, the former director of neighbouring Château Guiraud.

Luc Planty, an energetic Bordeaux entrepreneur is perhaps the very best person to breathe fresh life into a Château whose dormancy in recent years has seemed at times like a tragic analogy for the condition of Sauternes and Barsac more generally. We can only hope that its restoration will now parallel the resurgence of the appellation and its reputation.

He will be accompanied in the project by his wife, Clémence Planty, who will concentrate principally on the promotion of de Malle’s history, culture and tourism.

Château de Malle is rare in being doubly classified – both as a monument of special historical significance (since 1943) and as a vineyard of special and historic quality (since 1855). As Luc and Clemence Planty explain together, “We would like to honour the exceptional history of Château de Malle, to celebrate the present and look to the future. To live and rejoice, that is our vision of Château de Malle, a place full of life with a generous soul”.

The first step in the overhaul of the property will be to rethink the method of production of the wine itself, the objective being to restore de Malle to being again amongst the most prestigious wines of Bordeaux. The plan is to move over to organic agriculture to guarantee the quality of a wide selection of wines, and to become once again a reference in both of the appellations (Sauternes and the Graves) in which its 38 hectares of vines are located.

The present château itself was built in the 17th century, by Jacques de Malle, but in fact takes its names from the preceding owner, having been entrusted to Pierre de Malle, by non-other than King Louis XVI himself. The grand residence stands tall in front of six hectares of Florentine inspired gardens, decorated by statues symbolising work in the

vineyard, mythological figures and characters from the commedia dell’arte. The touristic and viticultural potential are both immense.

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