It is now official, the Artémis Group, investment company owned by the Pinault family, bought the 7.53 hectare Clos de Tart, monopoly classified grand cru in Morey-Saint-Denis, Côtes de Nuits. The Mommessin family has been taking good care of this domain since 1932. Therefore, a chapter is closing in Clos de Tart’s history.
Thunderclap in the calm world of wine: the Clos de Tart changes hands. This domain has only known three families of owners over nearly a millennium, underlining how endearing it is. Since its founding in 1141 by the Cistercian nuns, the Bernardines, of Notre Dame de Tart, it has never been parcelled out, which gives it a very particular status. Moreover, in 1939, the Clos obtained its own appellation (AOC). Since 1996, Sylvain Pitiot managed the domain, giving a new momentum to the wines, with a spectacular quality progression. If this brilliant winemaker has gradually stepped back from the wine production since the end of 2014, his succession has been carefully prepared, and the reins are smartly passed on to Jacques Devauges, former technical director of Domaine de l’Arlot and expert in the subtleties of Burgundy. He is the one who is currently managing the transition of the domain to biodynamics.
A high-level transaction
The amount of the transaction has not been revealed, but after a fierce match that left several high-level profiles out – the name of Roederer was mentioned, as well as a Chinese investor, a renowned family in the world of luxury or even another Burgundy owner – it is finally the businessman François Pinault who won the bet, disbursing a sum that is close to 250 million euros, through the Artemis Holding. This amount values the hectare of vine at 26 million euros. Didier Mommessin*, President of the company that owns Clos de Tart, 72 years old, explains in an interview to Bien Public that “the vines of grands crus no longer have a classic commercial value. We are more in the same range of prices as art.” These transactions create a bias in the value of real estate from which Burgundy winegrowers will probably suffer in the coming years.
Pinault, an influential purchaser
The transfer was certainly not wished by Didier Mommessin, who worked during 40 years to develop the family domain, in the perspective of transmitting it to the next generation. However, the management of twenty associates, members of the Mommessin family, made the compromise impossible. When one of them expressed the wish of selling the domain – because he disagreed with the valuation of his share by the tax authorities –, the sale became unavoidable. The Mommessin’s interest was focused on the offer that seemed the fairest and especially the most likely to make the Clos de Tart durable. The domain will be in good hands with the Artemis team, a vision shared by the Burgundy wines inter-professional association, represented by Louis-Fabrice Latour (President of the eponymous house). The wine branch of the Pinault family group can indeed claim a long and interesting experience on an exceptional terroir in Bordeaux, Château Latour, first classified growth of Pauillac, acquired in 1993. Artemis is already present in Burgundy since 2006 with the purchase of Domaine Eugenie (formerly Domaine Engel), completed in 2012 by a few vines of Montrachet (4.28 ares) and Bâtard-Montrachet (8.56 ares). The holding company also bought in 2011 a treasure from the Rhône, Château Grillet. The wine branch of the group has finally grown in California, with the acquisition in 2013 of Araujo Estate Wines, a reference domain in Napa Valley.
We can notice that the amount of the transaction of Clos de Tart, seemingly exorbitant, reminds the purchase of another domain from Morey-Saint-Denis, not far away: in 2014 LVMH planted its flag on the Clos des Lambrays. After the world of luxury, the battle between the two French tycoons moves to the ground of the grands crus. Each of them has its own jewel from Côte de Nuits.
Which impact on the prices of Clos de Tart?
Left to see how the price of wines from the Clos de Tart will be valued in the future, and what consequences this purchase will have on cellar-door prices. Given, on one hand, the price of the purchase, and on the other, the pricing policy of the Artemis group in all the domains it owns, it is difficult to imagine that the cellar-door prices remain at their current level. However, the prices of Clos de Tart having increased significantly in recent years, it is unlikely for recent vintages to explode in the short term, at least in the secondary market. Many amateurs will certainly seek to acquire more mature vintages, produced by the talented Sylvain Pitiot. To be continued during the next months…
Clos de Tart Grand Cru iDealwine Price Estimate
|Clos de Tart GC 1990||€326|
|Clos de Tart GC 1996||€252|
|Clos de Tart GC 1999||€257|
|Clos de Tart GC 2002||€330|
|Clos de Tart GC 2005||€392|
|Clos de Tart GC 2009||€330|
|Clos de Tart GC 2010||€345|
|Clos de Tart GC 2011||€235|
|Clos de Tart GC 2012||€310|
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*interview Le Bien Public 28/10/2017 by Franck Bassoleil