Christian Moueix was presented with the Decanter Man of the Year trophy last night at a dinner at the Wallace Collection, one of London’s most renowned art galleries.
Eighty guests dined among the world’s greatest works of art: the Laughing Cavalier by Franz Hals, Fragonard’s The Swing, Poussin’s A Dance to the Music of Time and works by Van Dyck, Rembrandt, Canaletto, Velazquez and Gainsborough.
The art was matched by the wines. The Moueix family – who hosted the event – brought over Chateau La Fleur-Petrus 1998, Magdelaine and Trotanoy 82, and the stellar Petrus 89.
The evening began with the ultra-rare Champagne Salon Le Mesnil 96, and ended with Dominus 91, from Moueix’s much-loved Napa property. All the wines were in magnum.
In his acceptance speech, Moueix said he had almost refused to be Man of the Year as he is ‘simply the caretaker of the terroir. But in the end I accepted in honour of my father – and as a tribute to the vineyard workers, who are the unsung heroes of the business.’
He then referred to Fragonard’s masterpiece, which the catalogue says is characterised by ‘finesse, humour and joie-de-vivre’.
‘The same applies to the wines we’re drinking,’ the eminent winemaker said.
There was a good deal of joie-de-vivre amongst the guests as well, with speeches interrupted by clapping and table thumping.
Hugh Johnson, presenting the trophy, said Moueix’s ‘modest respect for the land’ made his Pomerol properties ‘seem almost like Burgundy domains’ – a remark greeted with cheers and loud applause.
Moueix, his wife Cherise and son Edouard, and his brother Jean-Francois and his wife Marie Cecile had put together an eclectic guest list.
It included the French ambassador Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Marks and Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose, Tesco consultant Terry Green, Sir David and Lady Sieff, Corney and Barrow chief Adam Brett-Smith (who mobilised an army of knowledgeable staff to pour the wines), Christie’s senior consultant Anthony Hanson MW, and Moueix winemaker Jean-Claude Berrouet.
Then there were former Decanter Men of the Year Jean-Claude Rouzaud, Michael Broadbent, and Johnson himself.
Other guests, like Irish bookmaker turned property tycoon Joe Donnelly, came from another world Moueix is passionate about – horse-racing.
Moueix, whom Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp described in her introductory speech as ‘a beacon of integrity’, is a popular choice as Man of the Year.
‘It just feels absolutely right,’ as more than one guest said.
Written by Adam Lechmere