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  • Jancis Robinson
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  • Jancis Robinson
27 Oct 2017

Morey-St-Denis was always such a quiet, tiny village but it's set to become a battleground for wine reputation between France's two most prominent businessmen, Bernard Arnault and François Pinault. 

Three years ago it was announced that Arnault's massive luxury goods empire LVMH was buying Clos des Lambrays, the nearly 9-ha (22-acre) grand cru estate run for decades by the popular Thierry Brouin. 

Just across the road is the village's other grand estate, also grand cru, Clos de Tart, run for decades, from 1996, by the popular mapmaker and author Sylvain Pitiot – until his retirement at more or less the same time as the LVMH acquisition.

The Mâconnais Mommessin family have owned the 7.5-ha Clos de Tart since the 1930s but the rumour mill confirmed that they wished to realise their asset. Official estimates put the price of common or garden grand cru vineyard land as worth more than four million euros a hectare some time ago but this gem would clearly carry a much higher price tag. About 225 million euros is the local gossip.

A week or so ago it was said that the Rouzauds of Champagne Louis Roederer were the purchasers but in fact Clos de Tart has been sold to François Pinault, whose Artemis Domaines subsidiary owns Ch Latour in Bordeaux, Ch Siaurac on the right bank, Château-Grillet in the northern Rhône, Eisele Vineyard in Napa Valley and, most pertinently, Dom d'Eugénie in Vosne-Romanée down the road from Clos de Tart.

The plan apparently is that Pinault's two Burgundy domaines will be run quite separately.

While considerable work was done on Pitiot's watch dividing Clos de Tart into separate parcels by soil type, Clos de Tart has long been associated with relatively late picking (though possibly not as late as Dom Ponsot up the hill, from which Laurent Ponsot has now decamped). This is in contrast to the traditional Clos des Lambrays style, and the new fresh broom that has been sweeping through other Pinault wine properties.

I'm due to visit Morey early next week. Watch this space.

This recent image of Clos de Tart in local context was captured by photographer Jon Wyand.