From the 2015 vintage, Bordeaux first growth Château Mouton Rothschild will be offering fewer wines en primeur due to a rising demand for wines in bottle.
Philippe Sereys de Rothschild
Speaking to the drinks business during a recent visit to London, the estate’s new president, Philippe Sereys de Rothschild, said: “Things are changing and we have a growing in bottle market, especially in Hong Kong.
“Sales of our wines in bottle are growing a lot and we’ve got to the point where we don’t have enough bottles left in our cellar.
“We won’t be buying our wine back but we will be releasing less of it en primeur as we have to rebuild our inventory.
“A lot of consumers want to buy wine that’s ready to drink now rather than having to wait to drink it. It’s a new phenomenon.”
de Rothschild stressed that a smaller en primeur offering doesn’t mean that the estate has lost faith in the process.
“We haven’t lost faith in the en primeur system but you have to be reasonable with your pricing as there are so many reference points for consumers now. It takes two seconds to look up a price on your phone,” he pointed out.
As for the already much-hyped 2015 vintage, de Rothschild revealed that Mouton’s winemaker, Philippe Dhalluin, was “happier every week” with the wines.
“I tasted the grand vin at the beginning of December and it was very good, but it’s still a very young wine so we’ll have to wait and see,” he said.
On taking over as president of Mouton Rothschild, he said: “It’s such a fabulous business, I’m really lucky – we could be selling toothbrushes or dish washers.
“Being president is both a burden and a challenge but that’s what life is all about. It’s a lot of work, so if it was boring it would be a nightmare, but it’s really exciting.
“It’s a tricky time as the wine market is more competitive than ever, so we have to defend ourselves and our brands. Keeping your position can be harder than getting there in the first place but the business will stay family owned.”
As to whether he’s keen to put his stamp on the estate, he revealed that his creative side will need to come out eventually.
“I’ve been developing things all my life, from software companies to private education groups. It’s in my blood to do it so eventually that side of me will come out, but wine is a long game and you have to live with your decisions for at least a decade.”
de Rothschild revealed to db that while many people were drawn to his mother Philippine for her charm and charisma, few realised how hard she worked. “While my mum was known as a flamboyant figure in Bordeaux, what most people didn’t see was how hard she worked.
“She had the same fears as I did when she took over from her father but she overcame them by working hard,” he said. Her exuberant side was just a small part of who she was. She paid incredible attention to detail and led by example,” he added.