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Estates who didn’t listen to market made ‘big mistake’

Bordeaux estates that didn’t take the market into consideration when deciding their en primeur release price made a “big mistake” this year according to one first growth.

Château Mouton Rothschild

Speaking to the drinks business during a recent visit to the region, Marie-Louise Schyler, communications director of Château Mouton Rothschild said: “Those that didn’t take the market into account made a big mistake this year. It was important to be aware of what was going on.”

Schyler reports a strong en primeur campaign for Mouton, which came out early at £2,340 a case in bond, a lower price than any physical vintage on the market.

Wild flowers grow near the estate’s new cellars

“Our en primeur campaign did really well and we were among the first to release. There was a very positive reaction to the wine and it has been selling well with the merchants,” she said.

As to whether the estate was making a profit, Schyler told db that Mouton was “doing okay” but stressed the importance of investing back into the business.

“The competition is very healthy here. It’s not good enough just to do a walk around tasting anymore. Consumers are getting much more critical and are exchanging their views on forums so we need to be creative and offer something more.

“Tourism is really important for Bordeaux and more châteaux are launching restaurants that are open to the public, which is great,” she said.

Mouton Rothschild receives around 10,000 visitors through its doors each year. The estate uses 95-100% new French oak in its grand vin, which spends 18-20 months in barrel.

“The fruit we harvest is so concentrated it needs the new oak to balance it out, our second wine, Petit Mouton, can’t take that much new oak,” Schyler told db.

The 2015 red harvest kicked off at Mouton on Monday with 500 pickers called in to finish the job in ten days. Hopes are high for the quality of the 2015 vintage, but Schyler admitted that the weather in the region has become “more extreme and unpredictable”.

The estate owns 70 hectares of vines, including seven hectares of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, which were picked earlier this month.

The US is Mouton’s number one export market, followed by Asia, with just 25% of the château’s wine sold at home in France.

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