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Man of the Year 2008: Christian Moueix

Christian Moueix, one of the most respected winemakers in Bordeaux, is Decanter’s Man of the Year 2008.

He is the 25th Decanter Man of the Year, taking his place in a hall of fame which includes such greats as Emile Peynaud, Robert Mondavi and Max Schubert.

Moueix has been ‘the reference point in Pomerol – indeed on the Right Bank – almost as long as I can remember,’ Hugh Johnson said, adding that, in a world of ‘hype and big claims, his calm, invariably courteous voice is as familiar and reassuring as vine rows.’

He has been chosen as Man of the Year – the first ever from the Right Bank – for his relentless quest for perfection in the expression of terroir, which has made him an inspiration to winemakers around the world, and to consumers.

President of Etablissements Jean-Pierre Moueix since 1970, he is ‘the leader of the traditionalist end of Bordeaux, a position with which he says he is comfortable’, Margaret Rand says in an article in the April issue of Decanter.

As well as Chateau Petrus, Moueix manages a clutch of other chateaux including Magdelaine in St-Emilion, Lagrange, Latour a Pomerol, La Fleur Petrus, Trotanoy and Lafleur Gazin.

Then there is Dominus in Napa, California, which Moueix – who trained at University of California Davis – founded in 1981, and which is a private concern. ‘It’s not an achievement, yet,’ he says. ‘I hope to make a great wine one day. It takes time to understand a vineyard.’

And to be out in one of those vineyards is pure pleasure, he says. ‘When I have nothing else to do on a Sunday in winter, I’ll go pruning’ – with his wife Cherise alongside him.

Moueix – who intends to hand over the reins at Petrus at the end of this year – has managed the great Pomerol property since 1970.

He told Decanter he will hand over to ‘a younger team’ this year, while he takes on a consultancy role.

Olivier Berrouet, son of veteran JP Moueix winemaker Jean-Claude Berrouet, will train to become technical director.

Moueix may be ‘putting some distance’ between himself and Petrus, but he is by no means going to slow down. ‘The best wine is still to be produced. I hope I will produce better wines in the coming years than I ever have.’

Decanter publishing director Sarah Kemp said, ‘Not only is Christian a byword for rigour and quality among wine lovers but he is also an inspiration to so many wine producers around the world. I am delighted that he has accepted this richly deserved award.’

Read the full interview with Christian Moueix in Decanter’s April issue, out tomorrow, Wednesday 5 MarchSubscribe here for great savings

Written by Adam Lechmere

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