I am very shocked and sorry to learn this afternoon of Claude Lafond’s sudden and unexpected death during the night of Saturday/Sunday. He died in his bed of a heart attack. He was 63.
When Claude took over the family domaine in 1977 on the death of his father, the small appellation of Reuilly was close to disappearing with only 48 hectares in production. Claude was 14 when he started working in his family’s vines which amounted to just 3.5 ha at the time. As well as expanding his own domaine, which had 6.5 hectares when he took over aged 25, Claude persuaded new vignerons to come to Reuilly. The appellation now has some 230 hectares in production with Domaine Claude Lafond with 43 hectares – 35 ha in Reuilly, 3ha Valençay and 5ha on Vin de Pays down in the Creuse Valley.
Claude had an engaging and mischievous sense of humour. I well remember Benôit Roumet, director of the Vins du Centre Loire, telling me that Claude had invited him to eat at the canteen. The ‘canteen’ turned out to be the starred restaurant in La Cognette in neighbouring Issoudun!
Claude Lafond’s winery at Reuilly (above and below)
My sincere condolences to Natalie and to the rest of Claude’s family and friends.