Martin and Olivier Bouygues confirmed purchasing Clos Rougeard, a mythical domain from the Loire. This announcement was highly awaited, as the Revue du Vin de France reported negotiations beginning of January. A new chapter for French vineyard history.
Vines that have never seen any inputs
Clos Rougeard is an 11-hectare domain located in Chacé a few kilometers away from Saumur. Its reputation was built on the wonderful work accomplished by the Foucault brothers: Jean-Louis (also known as « Charly ») and Bernard (aka « Nady »), the 8th generation of vine growers settled on this great Saumur-Champigny terroir. However, since Charly’s death in 2015, succession became an issue.
The domain’s strength lies undoubtedly in its wonderful continuity. The first vines of this property were planted in the 17th century! The Foucault brothers never tackled organic agriculture as an issue considering it was normal to cultivate the vine like their ancestors, without inputs. Thus, these lands have never had any phytosanitary products. A constant attention combined to the talents of winemaker Charly Foucault made it possible to reveal the quality of the Saumur-Champigny terroir, illustrated with cuvées such as Le Bourg or Les Poyeux. Initially for a small amateur circle, the enthusiasm around the Saumur-Champigny, Saumur-Brézé or the very rare Coteaux-de-Saumur from the domain has recently become global, increasing unprecedented its auction prices.
A purchase revealing new wine trends
In January 2017, the announcement of advanced negotiations between Nady Foucault and the Bouygues brothers came as a bombshell. Six months later, the surprise effect has disappeared but this news continues to agitate the small wine world. This purchase reveals undoubtedly new trends like the global thirst for icon wines in other appellations than the classic Bordeaux, Burgundy or Rhône: Alongside Clos Rougeard, Jura domains like Overnoy or Ganevat are now adored and highly searched by worldwide enthusiasts. This fever for confidential cuvées has mechanically increased the bottle prices, arousing big companies’ interest first from Burgundy, with the purchase of René Engel, Lambrays or Bonneau du Martray domains, and now from Loire.
The amount of €14 million, mentioned in the papers for the purchase of Clos Rougeard, certainly does not compare to the €200 million spent on Domaine de Bonneau du Martray by Stanley Kroenke last January. But this transaction values the hectare of vines to more than one million euro in Saumur-Champigny (against €65,000 currently!).
An exceptional catch for the Bouygues family
Martin and Olivier Bouygues can be glad of this acquisition through their personal holding company (SCDM). After Montrose and Tronquoy Lalande in 2006, this is the third wine domain acquired by the siblings. After negotiations were announced, other higher offers were made to the Foucault family but the guarantees of the Bouygues took precedence over other buyers. Hervé Berland, already manager of Montrose, will have the same role at Clos Rougeard. Nady Foucault will be the « technical adviser » both in Chacé to ensure the domain’s consistency and in Saint-Estèphe for Montrose’s biodynamic conversion.
However, nothing mentions the future role of Antoine Foucault, son of Charly, who has brilliantly managed the domain’s vinification since 2015. With this sale, he should be able to fully concentrate on his personal property, the Domaine du Collier.
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Read further on iDealwine Le Blog:
- September Auction Report: Clos Rougeard breaks more world records
- High bids on Clair-Daü, Chave and Clos Rougeard
- French vineyard market: rising prices in 2016
- How much does a hectare of vineyard cost?
- Auction trends: regions and domains to follow in 2017