Hedonism Meets… Christian and Edouard Moueix
A stand-out name when it comes to top Bordeaux wines; distributing fine wines from Bordeaux and California in addition to being the owner and producer of several Grand Crus, the prestigious Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix is internationally renowned. Hedonism Wines had the rare opportunity to talk with second and third generation Christian and Edouard Moueix about the role of the company and its magnificent portfolio: from Bordeaux icons Château Bélair-Monange and Château La Fleur-Pétrus to Dominus and Ulysses in the Napa Valley.
Can you tell us a bit about the company’s history – how did it arrive at such a prestigious position?
Edouard Moueix: Jean-Pierre Moueix founded the company in 1937 as a wine merchant concentrating on the then unknown wines from the right bank - Saint-Émilion and Pomerol in particular. In 1950, Jean-Pierre decided to diversify in the production side with the purchase of Château La Fleur-Pétrus – a crucial move for the future of the family. Passionate about wine production, Christian Moueix has spent most of his career increasing the quality of the wines produced as well as developing the vineyard of Dominus in Napa Valley. Under the management of Laurent Navarre [Managing Director], the wine merchant company has grown in parallel and continues to grow in order to offer the great wines of Bordeaux to a large number of consumers around the world.
What are the challenges of managing such a magnificent portfolio, from Château Hosanna to Château Bélair-Monange?
Edouard Moueix: The challenges are the classic obstacles every wine producer has to face when seeking to produce the best possible wine under the various climatic conditions. We believe that the quality of the wines in the bottle and how well they are distributed are the most important aspects of a vineyard’s reputation.
Which do you consider to be the best vintages in the last few decades for Bordeaux wines and why?
1. 2018. Due to the record amount of sun (except for the wines/vineyards affected by mildew).
2. 2010. Everything went right. All wines successful.
3. 1989. A perfect equilibrium.
4. 1982. Great. Would have been better still if yields had been better controlled in those days.
What are the qualities that you look for in a truly outstanding wine?
“…we believe that the expression of each label represents the style of its appellation at an approachable price”
Can you tell us a little more about the Jean-Pierre Moueix private label collection?
Edouard Moueix: The private label collection has been the main activity of the company until only recently, as producers and consumers are now after château labels when it comes to Bordeaux. However, we keep on offering this range because we believe that the expression of each label represents the style of its appellation at an approachable price. When we think of Bordeaux, it is always the most well-known vineyards that come to mind; however, for wines to be enjoyed on a regular basis, private labels can be the best ambassadors of the region.
As we approach this year’s Bordeaux en primeur 2021 campaign, can you explain to our readers how the campaign works and why it is important for Moueix?
Edouard Moueix: When releasing a new wine, it is crucial to have the attention of your customers. During the en primeur period, Bordeaux has the attention of the distributors, the retailers, and the passionate consumers. It is therefore the most important commercial time of the year for our wines and for the region overall.
For private consumers, having the possibility to secure a few great wines, as well as receiving an extensive amount of information on a vintage for an entire region, is a unique opportunity. They can then decide what is of interest and what is not. I don’t think any other region in the world is as transparent as Bordeaux, thanks to this en primeur campaign.
“Any venture in wine is a long distance race.”
From the Dominus Estate to Ulysses, can you tell us about Moueix’s exciting California ventures?
Christian Moueix: Any venture in wine is a long distance race. Dominus took 20 years to be recognized. Ulysses, bought in 2008, produced its first vintage in 2012. A Japanese word summarizes the philosophy: KAIZEN [a Japanese term meaning ‘continuous improvement’].
How important are classification systems today in Bordeaux?
Edouard Moueix: There are different systems, the one that is set in stone and the ones revisited every five or ten years. The latter ones are wonderful as they encourage producers to thrive towards quality in every field: attention to the vineyard, sustainability, research and development, regular investments, better distribution and communication, and so on… Every few years, the work is judged, and if qualitative enough, rewarded. It can only be positive if you work hard enough.
Are there any exciting projects on the horizon for Moueix?
Edouard Moueix: We are now sure the vintage 2022 of Château Bélair-Monange will be vinified in the new facility, a fascinating project Christian Moueix has embarked on with his friends the architects Herzog & de Meuron, which shows his faith in the great potential of the terroir of this historical vineyard.
Photo of Edourd and Christian the vineyards at Belair-Monange and the photo of Edourd tending the vines are both by Deepix. Photo of the grapes in mid-veraison is by Benjamin Duvignac.