Leading Languedoc estate changes hands

15 January, 2010

Le Château des Estanilles described as a leading light of the Faugères appellation, is under new ownership.

The proprietor is 35-year-old Frenchman Julien Seydoux, whose family is well-known in French circles (his father Michel is a successful business man, cinema producer and president of Lille football club).

Seydoux, who studied in the US and worked on the Paris Stock Exchange, intends to continue the work of estate founder, Michel Louison. He is credited with pioneering high-density planting and the “quality over quantity” approach that marked a sea-change in Languedoc-Roussillon winemaking from the 1970s.

He is reported to be willing to invest both in the vineyard and winery, focusing on specific parcels and grape maturity, vinifying in smaller vats and introducing the use of demi-muids.

The Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, Carignan and Cinsault vines of Château des Estanilles are planted in 35 hectares of schist soil, on hillsides overlooking the village of Lenthéric. The estate will achieve official organic status with the 2010 vintage, following a three-year conversion period and more than three decades of viticulture with scrupulous respect for the environment.