France’s AXA Millésimes Buys Platt Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast Region


AXA Millésimes, the wine subsidiary of French insurance company AXA, has purchased Platt Vineyard from Russian River Partners, a vineyard investment fund managed by Eric Flanagan of Flanagan Wines in Healdsburg. The 38-acre vineyard is located in the Sonoma Coast wine region near the town of Freestone. The price was not disclosed, but permits are in place for an additional 11 vineyard acres to be planted.

Since its original planting in 2003, Platt has been a key vineyard source for numerous wineries, including Ramey, Littorai and Rivers-Marie. The wines from Rivers-Marie, in particular, gave AXA the confidence to purchase the vineyard. “Above all, the wines Thomas Rivers Brown made from Platt grapes convinced me,” Christian Seely, longtime managing director of AXA Millésimes, told Wine Spectator. Brown makes the wines for Outpost, which AXA purchased in 2018. “There was something special about the Pinots in particular that showed that this vineyard site is capable of great things.”

Platt Vineyard was planted in 2003 by Joan Platt and the late Lew Platt. Russian River Partners took control of the vineyard in 2015. The vineyard, planted in fine, sandy Goldridge soil, approximately eight miles from the Pacific Ocean, is known for producing wines with remarkably fresh acidity.

Seely said AXA, which owns Bordeaux’s Château Pichon Baron, Domaine de l’Arlot in Burgundy and Portugal’s Quinta do Noval, has been in search of a premium California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyard to expand their California holdings since they acquired Outpost in 2018. Seely believes Platt offers similarly exceptional terroir to l’Arlot’s premier cru sites in Nuits-St.-Georges and Vosne-Romanée, and grand cru sites in Romanée St Vivant.

Seely said they plan to build a winery on the property, but for now, they will make the wines at Outpost. “We believe that the potential for making great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines here is immense, and we look forward to working with Thomas and with [Outpost general manager] Frank Dotzler and all our outstanding team at Outpost to develop this potential and make some outstanding wines here in years to come.”

—With reporting by James Molesworth.

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