Château Dassault: Marcel Dassault

The estate, still known at this time as Château Couperie, was acquired by Marcel Dassault (1892 – 1986) in 1955, and it was soon renamed to reflect his ownership. The purchase price was a mere 440,000 francs. The château was in ruins, and the vineyard was a mess. Marcel, a successful aviation industrialist, had no shortage of the funds required though, and the estate benefited from significant investment and re-equipping. In retrospect, although it was naturally excluded in 1955, we should perhaps not be surprised to learn that in 1969 the estate was elevated to grand cru classé status in that year’s revision of the St Emilion classification. Subsequent generations have seemingly inherited Marcel’s propensity for industrial wealth generation, and as such Château Dassault has continued to enjoy the sort of investments often bestowed upon much grander estates. The estate (as well as the aviation business) passed first to Marcel’s son Serge, and from him to the current proprietor, Marcel’s grandson Laurent Dassault.

Château Dassault

It is not just the Dassault dynasty that are responsible for the Dassault renaissance though. Much of the credit for the success enjoyed by the Dassault family and their St Emilion project should perhaps be accorded to the manager André Vergriette. He was a retired fighter pilot (seemingly continuing the aeronautical theme) who took up the position of régisseur on the domaine in 1972. The investments continued with the installation of new stainless steel vats in 1978, and the appointment of Michel Rolland as consultant. Marcel tried to step things up a gear the following year with a move to purchase Château Margaux of all places, although he was knocked back from these lofty ambitions.

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