Mouton Cadet now good enough for the Baroness

Having gained complete control over sourcing, a new look Mouton Cadet is now a wine that the late “Baroness would drink, even at the château”, according to Hugues Lechanoine, managing director of Baron Philippe de Rothschild.

Mouton Cadet wines have been new packaging, a modernised ‘Barbacchus’ logo

Speaking to the drinks business last week at ProWein, where the repackaged Mouton Cadet was launched, Lechanoine said that he had spent the past 15 years working towards the control of every aspect of production for the Bordeaux brand, rather than buying wine in bulk on the open market.

This has required the company to embark on a massive technical challenge, starting back in 2002, just after Lechanoine joined the Rothschild wine business, to create the “first ever 100% parcel-selected Mouton Cadet” – something that has now been achieved with the 2015 vintage.

With a 12 million bottle annual production, this has meant managing grape supply from across 1,520 hectares of Bordeaux, and working with as many as 453 growers – telling them how to manage the vines for Mouton Cadet, and when to pick the grapes destined for the brand.

To achieve this, Mouton Rothschild has used a team of seven people for more than a decade to spend their entire time selecting growers to work with Mouton Cadet.

Commenting on the launch of the 2015 Mouton Cadet, Lechanoine said, “This is the achievement of more than a decade of technical homework, so that’s it, we’re done, and we’ve got new packaging too.”

Continuing he said, “It is a wine that the Baroness would drink, even at the château,” adding, “I am just so sorry that she is not here to see it.”

Looking back, Lechanoine admitted that 15 years ago the wine “was not as good as Baron Philippe [who created Mouton Cadet in 1930] would have liked, so that’s why we spent so much time, as well as human, technical and financial resources to improve the sourcing of the grapes – it took 11 vintages, only a family owned company can afford that.”

Justifying the length of time, he said, “You can’t go from zero to 453 wine growers overnight.”

Controlling the sourcing for Mouton Cadet has meant that its red variant, which makes up 72% of sales, is “rounder and fruitier” according to Lechanoine, who told db that the wine now has a higher proportion of Merlot – currently 80% – with 45% of the grapes coming from the Côtes des Bordeaux – “which we are actually declassifying, because Mouton Cadet is an appellation Bordeaux”, he remarked.

The new Mouton Cadet classic red and Mouton Cadet Réserve red will be available on selected markets, including the UK, from September 2017. The white and rosé wines will be released in Spring 2018.

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