Domaine Clarence Dillon, owner of Chateau Haut-Brion, has bought a property neighbouring the renowned Graves first growth.

Domaine de la Passion Haut Brion is a 1.5-hectare parcel of vines situated in the heart of the Haut Brion vineyard.

From 1954 to 1978, the property bottled under its own name under agreement with the Haut Brion team, but when in 1978 a law was passed prohibiting two chateau wines being bottled under the same roof, the agreement was changed and for the past 30 years, the grapes – 60% Cabernet Franc and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon – have been going into Haut Brion wines.

In 2006 the Allary family took back control of their vineyard. According to Clive Coates in a 2010 Decanter article they rejected an offer from Haut Brion for the land.

In 2009 owner Michel Allary, then living in Paris and in his early 90s, started producing his own wine, with consultant Stephane Derenoncourt, releasing around 2,400 bottles from the 2008 vintage. The wine today sells for around £50-60 a bottle.

At the time, Louis Fournier, Allary’s business partner, told, ‘Above all this was a personal family decision, as Dr Allary has a daughter, who in turn has a son, who is very interested in winemaking. The commercial possibilities of the property are very interesting.’

After some legal wrangling Allary was unable to call the wine La Passion Haut Brion and so called it simply Domaine Allary Haut-Brion. On its release, Clive Coates, writing in Decanter magazine, said he found the wine ‘drinkable, indeed even enjoyable’ and that he found it hard to believe there was no Merlot in the blend.

Louis Fournier, who had run the estate for Michel Allary, died in 2009, and Allary died in 2010. Now Daniel and Marie-Felicia Allary, the son and and daughter of Michel, have sold to Prince Robert of Luxembourg, owner of Domaines Clarence Dillon.

‘The sale went quietly; it was harmonious,’ Daniel Allary told Wine Spectator. ‘Haut-Brion began taking over the vineyards last summer and they harvested the 2012.’

  • Tuesday 13 November 2012
  • by Adam Lechmere