Noël had intended to retire in the next few years – he was born in 1945, so is or will be 67 this year. Hwang told me a couple of years ago that he has persuaded Noël to stay on rather than retire. LRVF says he intended to retire in 2015 and his nominated successor, Benjamin Joliveau, was present at the domaine's Portes Ouvertes last year. I understand that the long time cellar-master/vineyard manager, Jean-Bernard Berthomé will continue and that Susan Hwang will become commercial director.
Update: Saturday 25th February – message from Noël Pinguet – departure much more calm than suggested. Certainly hope so, although Noël's leaving appears to be more abrupt than had been previously indicated.