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Delhi Wine Club
Anthony Gourmel of Baron Philippe de Rothschild

Posted: Friday, 26 August 2011 14:37

Anthony Gourmel of Baron Philippe de Rothschild

August 26: Baron Philippe de Rothschild, producer of First Growth Chateau Mouton Rothschild having other ventures in France and overseas, is strategizing to increase the sales in India of Mouton Cadet and their Chilean Escudo Rojo, according to the Export Director Asia, Anthony Gourmel who was passing through Delhi on his maiden visit to India and chatted with Subhash Arora over lunch at the Imperial Hotel.

When you look at his business card you don’t notice anything unusual at first. But you may be surprised at Anthony Gourmel’s Japanese address; he clarifies that his company looks after the Asian business from their office in Japan, which may normally be unusual for Bordeaux based Growth Chateau. Most Bordeaux producers have ensconced themselves in Singapore, Hong Kong or China, depending upon when they started looking eastward.

Baron Philippe de Rothschild who had the vision to create Mouton Cadet AOC Bordeaux, perhaps the first internationally recognized French wine Brand at affordable prices in 1930 really loved Japan. Therefore, his daughter and the current owner of BPDR, Baroness Philippine de Rothschild decided to open an office in Japan 18 years ago, says Anthony, who has been working with BPDR in Tokyo for 12 years. This also explains ‘Orient’ added to the name of the company for the Japanese office. The company has been focusing on Japan, Hong Kong, and China where the Baroness partners with Torres in perhaps the third largest import company at present, Torres China.

But the company has now decided to increase its focus on the Indian market. Therefore, Anthony was here on his maiden visit to get a real feel of the market; after the Delhi visit he planned to go to Mumbai and Bangalore, only to return early next year. ‘We are very happy with Brindco and there has not been any need for us to be physically present here but we believe the Indian market is getting more exciting and we would like to increase our presence and you will see me here more frequently,’ he says.

Mouton Cadet Blanc and Rouge have been the workhorses at the BPDR stables. ‘But we have always been working to improve the quality and style. In 2004 Mouton Cadet Reserve was introduced with a tighter AOC Medoc Appellation. Mouton Cadet Rouge was made from grapes bought from both the right and the left bank. It was a blend with Merlot being the majority grape at 65%. Now we have contracted with the farmers on a long term basis for the Reserve which is predominantly a Cabernet blend using 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc,' says Anthony. Although it has been introduced in India, there has not been a thrust to market this wine but the company hopes to increase its market here with help from Brindco.

Gourmel says that another area of thrust is going to be wines from their 100% owned Chilean venture from where Escudo Rojo has been imported and is available in retail at around Rs.1000 in Delhi and Rs. 850 in Gurgaon. The Mouton Cadet Reserve is about 20% more expensive but gives a better value for serious wine drinkers-especially if they like their wines with food. I enjoyed a glass with hard cheese before digging into dessert, though I found it too tannic for my chicken dishes.  I was also surprised it has not touched any oak- the fresh and vivant wine would have achieved a level of complexity and elegance. Anthony explains that they wanted a fresh and fruity wine that drinks young.

The dry Mouton Cadet Blanc AOC Grave is made mostly from the typical white wine grapes Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon in almost equal proportion, but a small addition of Muscadelle has made it fruitier and fuller- bodied. The Mouton Cadet Range is slightly more expensive than the comparable wines from the new world but Anthony concedes that this is the way they want to position themselves in the market.

For the few ignoramuses who unknowingly brag that they drink Mouton when they in fact are drinking Mouton Cadet, the Cadet offers a great joy and satisfaction on their palate and pocket while for those in the know, it is a respectable value for money wine. Real connoisseurs could look forward to the Petit Mouton (second wine of the Chateau) introduced in India-at least in the duty free shops at the Arrivals.

Subhash Arora


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