The owner of Pauillac’s Château Pontet-Canet has added a second Cognac estate to his portfolio.
Alfred Tesseron told Wine-Searcher that he had recently taken control of the Jenssen Cognac distillery, plus its 22-hectare Le Maine Pertubaud estate in the prestigious Grande Champagne appellation.
The brand was created by a Norwegian in 2000 and sold to Russian group MMVZ for 3 million euros ($4.1m) in 2005. The group’s owners remained in the shadows, but it was discovered that oligarch Andrei Borodin – Russia’s 117th richest man and the former head of the Bank of Moscow – was the majority owner. Borodin has been charged with fraud and embezzlement of state funds. After he fled Russia, Interpol issued an international warrant for his arrest in November 2011.
Jenssen was on the market for 5 million euros ($6.82m). However, local newspaper Charente Libre reported that the company had failed to post a profit under Russian ownership despite booming sales of Cognac worldwide.
“The house was like an empty shell,” it wrote. “Some actors in the world of Cognac have claimed that Jenssen was being used as a means of diverting capital from Russia to Europe."
In addition to owning fifth-growth estate Pontet-Canet, Alfred Tesseron also heads up his family’s Cognac business Tesseron, which was first established by his grandfather in 1905.
Under Tesseron’s ownership, Jenssen Cognac will be distilled and matured in the Tesseron cellars, “with the aim of ensuring the continued supply of high quality spirit,” he explained.