Following our debut WSG Live with Jancis Robinson MW in late July 2020, WSG is thrilled to present an in-depth discussion with famed Pomerol and Napa producer Christian Moueix.
WSG Live is a series of podcasts in which our presenters talk at length with some of the extraordinary individuals working in today’s wine world, both those involved in creating wines as well as those involved in communication and education.
Christian Moueix was born on Christmas Day 1946, the second son of Jean-Pierre Moueix, in Libourne – the capital of Bordeaux’s Right Bank. Jean-Pierre Moueix had arrived in Bordeaux as a 16-year-old with his parents from Corrèze, so the family fortunes have been built on the work of two generations (recently joined by the third: Christian’s son Edouard).
Christian studied agricultural engineering in Paris, then completed these studies with a year at UC Davis, California, between 1968 and 1969 – a year that inspired a lifetime’s affection for the USA and for California. He joined the family company in 1970, and over the succeeding half century has become synonymous with Pomerol, not only guiding the fortunes of Ch Petrus on behalf of his father and then his elder brother Jean-François, but becoming an informal but influential spokesman for his region, for the Right Bank, and for the much-maligned Merlot as a variety.
In 1982, he formed a partnership to farm and make wine in Yountville from the Napanook vineyard, once a part of the historic Inglenook. He named the estate wine Dominus and in 1995 became the sole owner. In 2008 he made a further purchase of 16.2 ha in Oakville, a former part of the Charles Hopper Ranch, and has named this property Ulysses. The family properties in Bordeaux include Ch La Fleur-Pétrus, Trotanoy and Hosanna in Pomerol, as well as Bélair-Monange in St Emilion.
Christian and his wife Cherise are enthusiastic about architecture and have completed five projects with the Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and PIerre de Meuron, including the Dominus winery (2007), a refectory for the harvesters in Pomerol and currently a chai for Bélair-Monange; they are also art collectors in their own right; indeed they met in a Paris gallery. Other artistic interests include music and literature -- and few wine producers anywhere speak about their work with the elegance and refinement of Christian Moueix, as WSG students can discover for themselves.
On October 21st, Wine Scholar Guild Academic Advisor Andrew Jefford will be talking at length to Christian about his long career, about Merlot and Pomerol, about creating wine quality through viticulture and vinification, about the changing aesthetics of fine Bordeaux wine, and about the difference between artistic creation and the craft of producing great wine. They will also talk about Napa and its uniqueness within the wine world, as well as the challenges it faces from global warming and from fire threats. Students will have a chance to ask Christian questions of their own in a 15-minute wrap at the end of the discussion.
Every wine appellation in France has a cahier des charges, a set of regulations that delineates the production zone and specifies viticultural practices and production standards.
In many instances, a single cahier des charges references one zone of production and multiple wine styles within it (e.g. Lirac red, white, and rosé; Rasteau dry red, plus red, white and rosé Vins Doux Naturels). Some single cahiers also incorporate complementary geographic denominations or dénominations géographiques complémentaires (DGCs) such as Languedoc Montpeyroux or Bourgogne Hautes Côte de Nuits. Other times, very different wines can be grouped under one single cahier as is the case for Beaujolais, Beaujolais Supérieur, Beaujolais + Named Commune, and Beaujolais-Villages.
Our next Meeting of the Minds will cover the issues and challenges facing Bordeaux, France's largest AOC wine region and an area that drives the global fine wine market. Jane Anson, Bordeaux expert and author of the encyclopedic Inside Bordeaux (described as a 'category buster' by Jamie Goode and 'the most complete, up to date and scientifically accurate book on Bordeaux' by Imbibe magazine) will host the discussion. She will bring together one of the region's leading négociants (and organic winemaker at his home estate) Mathieu Chardonnier of CVBG-Dourthe-Kressmann (Compagnie des vins de Bordeaux et de Gironde), Smith Haut Lafitte's technical director Fabien Teitgen and wine educator Tanisha Townsend to debate new developments in viticulture and winemaking in the face of a changing climate, as well as looking out how the commerce and marketing of the region should take on the challenges of the next decade in the face of Covid, changing consumer behaviour and the challenges of selling En Primeur.
Jane Anson is Bordeaux correspondent for Decanter, and has lived in the region since 2003. She is author of Inside Bordeaux (BB&R Publishing 2020), Wine Revolution (Quarto Publishing 2017), The Club of Nine with Andy Katz (2016), Angélus (Editions de la Martinière 2015), Bordeaux Legends, a history of the First Growth wines (November 2012 Editions de la Martiniere as Elixirs (French title) / April 2013 Stewart, Tabori & Chang, English version), the Bordeaux and Southwest France author of The Wine Opus and 1000 Great Wines That Won’t Cost A Fortune (both Dorling Kindersley, 2010 and 2011). Anson is contributing writer of the Michelin Guide to the Wine Regions of France (March 2010, Michelin Publications), and writes a monthly wine column for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, where she lived from 1994 to 1997, and a weekly column for DecanterChina.com. Accredited wine teacher at the Bordeaux Ecole du Vin, with a Masters in publishing from University College London, WSET qualified, Diplôme Universitaire d'Aptitude à la Dégustation des vins (DUAD) from Bordeaux Faculty of Oenology (2013).
Mathieu Chardonnier, CEO of CVBG (Compagnie des vins de Bordeaux et de Gironde)
Mathieu Chadronnier, CEO of CVBG, is one of Bordeaux's most influential wine negociants and one of its youngest top players. A modernist in this traditionalist world, he has pioneered new IT solutions to fine wine distribution, and is at the forefront of the recent introduction of great “Beyond Bordeaux” wines on the place de Bordeaux.
In a sometimes commoditized market, he has always placed trust in relationships, candid passion and extensive knowledge of fine wines among his core values.
Beyond his busy career as a grand cru negociant, Mathieu runs Château Marsau with his wife Anne-Laurence, a professional winemaker, with whom he shares his passion for great wines.
Fabien Teitgen, General Manager of Château Smith Haut Lafitte
Fabien Teitgen is a child of Nature. From a very early age he would accompany his grandfather through his vineyard and as he grew up, developed a very deep respect for Nature around him. It was thus, that a true passion was born...
After graduating from viticulture and winemaking in Rennes and in Montpellier, Fabien Teitgen was then initiated into “listening to the earth” by Paul Pétrou, (Château Canon la Gaffelière). Over the years he learned to “read the signs of the vines, to respect and to love them.
Drawing upon this extensive experience, Fabien joined Château Smith Haut Lafitte at the beginning of the 90’s and quickly rose to became Technical Director of the estate.
With his agricultural and winemaking qualification he brought extensive knowledge of viticulture and wine, whilst on the other hand his experience of the soil brought a practical wisdom and a strong ability to listen and understand the behaviour of the vines.
It is in this vein, that Fabien along with Florence and Daniel Cathiard ; owners of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, have developed a unique working method called : «Organic Precision ».
After more than 25 years of commitment, this approach ; from ploughing with horses in the vineyard, to the establishment of an on-site cooperage and an island-based rootstock nursery in the Garonne river. As well as the building of a positive energy Stealth Cellar, have all been hailed as a great success by wine professionals, global press and wine lovers from all around the world.
Fabien Teitgen strives to make wines in perfect harmony with Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte’s magnificent terroir. Wines that are full-bodied and powerful but also smooth, harmonious, and elegant.
These rather opposing characteristics stand testament, as one of the greatest wines from a great terroir which captures the pleasure and emotions of wine lovers.
Since 2014, Fabien Teitgen has been responsible for the wine making at Château Beauregard in Pomerol.
In 2016, Fabien Teitgen was promoted to General Manager of Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
Tanisha Townsend, Chief Wine Officer of lifestyle agency Girl Meets Glass
Tanisha Townsend has cultivated a community of wine enthusiasts through an unyielding passion for oenology. As Chief Wine Officer of lifestyle agency Girl Meets Glass, Tanisha leads wine classes and tours in Paris (and virtually). She also hosts the podcast, Wine School Dropout. Her goal is to empower individuals with an advanced knowledge of wine & spirits in order to build confidence in their tastes and make choices as a better informed consumer.
Award-winning author and Decanter Magazine columnist Jane Anson draws us deeper into the Bordeaux conversation and reveals what she discovered while working on her massive new book project, Inside Bordeaux, and what to expect when the book is launched in Spring 2020.
This wine map of Bordeaux has been designed by Wine Scholar Guild to illustrate the French Wine Scholar™ study & certification program.
This map is made available for individuals to use for their own learning and edification. Any use of this map in online or print publications, presentations, apps or any other media is strictly forbidden without obtaining written permission.
Following on from The Wine Scholar Guild’s excellent October Bordeaux wine tour, our locally based Tour Manager, Sarah, is continuing her series of articles about travel tips to Bordeaux. This fourth blog looks at some of the others things you should see & do here during your next Bordeaux wine tour.
Preparing your next Bordeaux wine tour?
Sarah Graham-Beck, Tour Manager on the Wine Scholar Guild’s Bordeaux wine tours will be writing a series of articles about travel tips to Bordeaux.
In this first article, Sarah shares a selection of top Bordeaux restaurants with a great wine list!
Food and wine are at the heart of life in Bordeaux. The city and its surroundings now offer some of the best restaurants in France, on a par with Lyon & Paris.