Château Gruaud-Larose: The Modern Era

With the purchase of both halves of Château Gruaud-Larose by Désiré Cordier the domaine was once again reunited, a rare achievement in Bordeaux where such schisms are usually permanent, as any drinker of Château Pichon-Baron, Château Rauzan-Ségla, Château Léoville-Barton or Château Doisy-Daëne will already know. Indeed, this was a decade of great achievement for Cordier; at about this time he became mayor of St Julien, he hosted several festivals, and he was responsible for several banquets thrown in order to welcome Albert Lebrun, president of the Third Republic, to Bordeaux. But it was also a time of tragedy; back in 1886 Désiré Cordier had married Anne André, and they a son named Georges Cordier. Georges died first, in 1938, and less than two years later the same fate befell Désiré.

Château Gruaud-Larose

Jean Cordier

The only eligible successor was Désiré’s grandson Jean Cordier, but at this time he was still a very young man. Thus at first the estate was run mainly by the widow of Georges Cordier. In these early years there was some friction between the family and a number of the domaine’s senior employees, some of whom had been deeply involved in the running of the business with the late Georges Cordier. Two brothers Paul and Henri Lemaire, who had both worked closely with Georges, were particularly difficult. Nevertheless, with the passing of time the Cordier widow gradually tightened her grip as sole administrator, although it seems it was 1949 before her position was unquestioned.

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