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Published:  23 July, 2008

By James Aufenast

Patriarche Pre et Fils is gearing up to make wine as a ngociant for the first time, with a vast winery in the centre of Beaune. The company wants to compete with rivals Bouchard Pre et Fils and Faiveley, according to export manager Eric Le Joille, both of which produce a large proportion of their total wine output. The move follows a pattern of blurred function in Burgundy, where ngociants are making more wine, while growers such as Etienne Sauzet are buying in wine. Patriarche already has premises for the winery in the centre of Beaune, and the site is likely to produce on a large scale. The company currently has an output of 20 million bottles a year, based on wine bought in from producers then aged by the company, as well as wine made from its domaine property, Chteau de Meursault.

Rain throughout September has hampered a harvest of otherwise ripe grapes in the Cte d'Or. Producers are expecting a big harvest, like 1999, although significant amounts of rot and mildew are in evidence. Chteau de Meursault winemaker Jean-Claude Mitanchey said that a small amount of rot in white grapes was utilised to improve complexity and texture. The large ngociant firm is also expected to gain Marsannay's first premier cru wine with its 1998 Chteau de Meursault, according to local experts and some British commentators. Charles Metcalfe said it was "too good to be a Marsannay".