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Major renovation at Ducasse ramps up CA Grands Crus overhaul

Published:  02 December, 2019

CA Grands Crus has revealed plans to expand its Grand Puy Ducasse winery with the aim of micro-vinifying plots from their Pauillac estate.

Renovations will begin in March 2020 and will finish in time for the harvest in 2022.

Among various plans to update the winery, which sits down by the river in Pauillac, the group’s main objective is to double the vat capacity from the existing number of around 30.

The renovations are part of a large-scale re-think at the French company to double down on quality and focus on a smaller stable of brands.

This includes the decision to put two of it's properties, Château Blaignan in Médoc and the 58-hectare Château La Tour de Mons in Margaux, up for sale at the beginning of the year.

At the time of writing, Blaignan is still up for sale while the sale of La Tour De Mons is just now being finalised. 

Similar renovations have also just completed at Burgundy property Chateau de Santenay, which owns 100ha of land under vine.

In town last week, the group’s recently appointed MD, Anne La Naour, stressed the importance of improving the company’s raw materials and to differentiate between plots in order to keep up with market demand for terroir-driven wines.

“Grand Puy Ducasse is probably the most representative of the different soil in Paulliac,” she told Harpers. “It has 63 different plots for 40ha, which is tremendous when you have the tools and equipment to deal with such huge diversity, and that wasn’t the case before now.

“We’re going to have brand new equipment and a winery that will allow us to take the essence of our terroir and vinify block by block, and pick them at the maturity that we want, with the objective of the making the greatest Ducasse ever.”

Grand Puy Ducasse is part of the 1855 classification and is believed to be the only grand cru classé producer that vinifies in Pauillac City.

It also owns Clos Saint-Vincent in Saint-Emilion and Château Meyney next to Pauillac in Saint-Estèphe.

The plans to revamp Ducasse were revealed to Harpers by La Naour, who became the company’s new MD in May, taking over from Thierry Budin.

At the same time, Jean-Philippe Archambault became the new director of Santenay, which is one of the largest estates in Burgundy.

“We have extensive vineyards of 96ha in Burgundy, and in Burgundy that’s a large area,” Archambault explained. “We now have a lot of land under vine in Mercurey, Côte du Beaune and in March we acquired 7ha in Côte de Nuits. It means we have an even wider estate stretching from Mercurey to Gevrey along a 60km strip, with a very nice chateau with more than 1,000 years of history. With all this, we hope to have a real renaissance.”

CA Grands Crus is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Crédit Agricole, the world's largest cooperative financial institution with a network of local banks in France.