Top Bordeaux is in danger of losing touch both with its market, and its smaller producers, two members of one of the region's most powerful families tell Decanter.
Edouard Moueix (left) and Jean Moueix. Pic: Patrick Cronenberger
In an article by Jane Anson in the current issue of Decanter magazine, cousins Jean and Edouard Moueix, both running separate companies belonging to the extended Moueix clan, speak out against pricing, and the danger of the biggest properties losing touch with grassroots Bordeaux.
Edouard Moueix, who works with his father Christian at Libourne negociants JP Moueix, spoke of his concern that the lives of many small producers and merchants was ‘a living hell’ due to the downturn and the difficulties in distribution.
‘We want small producers to benefit from our distribution channels,’ he says of the company that has built the reputation of Petrus and also owns highly-regarded right bank properties such as Trotanoy, Lafleur Petrus, Hosanna and Magdelaine.
Moueix is proud of the fact that his company never underpays – ‘[we] have never bought a generic Bordeaux at less than €1000 per 900 litre tonneau.’
‘But the Bordeaux system makes it harder for us to keep doing that,’ as tonneaux now change hands for as little as €600. As a result there are fewer properties they can work with.
Jean Moueix, who heads multinational negociant-to-retail operation Duclot suggests that the current escalation in prices is dangerous in that it is unstable, and at the same time distancing the larger properties from their neighbours.
‘The pressure chateaux put on themselves to keep outdoing each other on pricing is making the whole system highly unstable.’
Speaking recently to Decanter.com, Jean Moueix said there was an inherent imbalance in Bordeaux, where neighbouring properties sold had a discrepancy of thousands of euros in price.
‘You have chateaux that can’t even cover their production costs, and next door a property whose wine is 1,200 times the price.’
Both cousins recognise that the danger is in top chateaux charging prices that only billionnaires can afford, and losing their connection to the traditional markets.
As Edouard Moueix says, ‘We all need the smaller estates to work to keep Bordeaux connected to the next generation of wine drinkers.’
Read the complete article in the September issue of Decanter magazine, out now.
Written by Adam Lechmere