Chateau Latour director Frederic Engerer has invested in his own wine property in the Rhone Valley.
The property, Fort Boneau, is located at an altitude of 350m in the Drome Valley, on the eastern boundary between the northern and southern Rhone, where most vines grow on the steep slopes of the Vercors Mountains.
Fort Boneau has 18ha of vines near to the reputed Domaine Gramenon, on a property totalling 44ha. It contains Grenache vines that were planted in 1944, together with a few hectares of Syrah.
Engerer has bought the estate with friend and fellow wine maker Jérôme Malet from Domaine Sarda-Malet in Perpignan, one of the star estates in the southern corner of the Cotes de Roussillon.
Among his best known wines are the Syrah and Mourvedre cuvée Terroir Mailloles and a Rivesaltes vin doux naturel. Engerer and Malet are childhood friends and have been making a Cabernet Sauvignon together in Roussillon for the past three years.
'We need to build cellars and a winery, and will be performing test vinifications this year,' Engerer told decanter.com.
He stressed it was not 'just about wine – it's a family investment. The location is magical; there are olive trees, we'll be planting lavender, creating a place that is perfectly in balance with the surrounding country.
'The whole region has great potential – slightly wild and undeveloped, and with the altitude that Rhone wines need to keep freshness and balance.'
The first bottled vintage of Fort Boneau is due in 2009, with Sophie Mage, who has just finished a year at Chateau Latour, as winemaker.