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Moueix Merges Two St.-Emilion Wineries

Bordeaux producer combines Châteaus Magdelaine and Bélair-Monange; believes merger will mean stronger first wine

James Molesworth
Posted: September 12, 2012

Following the recently announced reclassification of Bordeaux's St.-Emilion appellation, one of the most surprising moves wasn't an upgrade or downgrade, but rather an omission.

Château Magdelaine, owned by Christian Moueix's company, which also owns Châteaus Trotanoy and La Fleur-Pétrus in neighboring Pomerol, among other high-end properties on the Right Bank, was left off the new list, prompting some to think it had been downgraded. Instead, Magdelaine has been quietly merged with Château Bélair-Monange, Moueix's other flagship St.-Emilion estate.

The new property will retain the Bélair-Monange name—the estate was formerly Bélair until it was purchased by the Moueix family in 2008. Madgelaine has been owned by the Moueix family since 1952. “Having vinified these two vineyards side by side for the past four, very different vintages, we saw a great complementarity and the possibility to produce an even better wine by joining forces,” said Edouard Moueix, Christian's son and executive vice president of Ets. J.-P. Moueix.

The two property's combined parcels are located on the limestone plateau at the top of the appellation and on south-facing clay hillsides. The new vineyard now totals 58 acres and the entire property is classified as Premier Grand Cru Classé.

“We can be even more drastic in our selection. There is better balance between parcels of very old, mature and young vines," said Moueix. "We can also manage the replantation in a more precise and quality-driven manner and we'll be able to bring more complexity to the wine by having a wider choice for the blend.”

David Jeffrey
Windsor, CA, USA —  September 13, 2012 10:10am ET
Chateau Magdelaine was a very great property making classic wines. This is a significant loss for St. Emilion. However, the Moueix family seems to know what it is doing, so let's hope for the best.
Gil Lempert-schwarz
Vegas Baby —  September 13, 2012 1:29pm ET
While we can quickly agree with Edouard that combining the two terroirs and parcels of vines can make a better wine, even at the PGCC 'B' level, but the name is not one that the market or the Trade is really familiar with. For many years, Maison Marques & Domaines imported and sold Belair and Magdelaine in the US and did a lot of promotions, trade tastings and sales of these brands. There is no doubt that in the minds of most Sommeliers and accounts in the US, Magdelaine was the more famous and also better wine, having been under the great stewardship of the Moueix family since 1952, while Belair was a more "recent" acquisition.

To eliminate a famous name like Magdelaine which is widely known in the on-premise business in the United States at least and then "replace" with the recently renamed Belair-Monange, makes no sense, as you're essentially going to have to start from scratch already and this in a time when Bordeaux is not benefitting from its most stellar "reputation" in the US market.

I seriously would suggest that Moueix consider using the name Belair-Magdelaine since that would immediately serve two purposes:

1. It would tell the market that obviously there has been a merger of the two estates.

2. It would "link" the name to that of the former Magdelaine wine and given it's widespread acceptance and relative "fame" in the market, you've now killed two birds with one stone.

Again, I would seriously urge the Moueix family to take this into consideration, and also given the beautiful and modern new label they adorned the Belair-Monange bottle with recently, this would be all great. Christian, Edouard, kindly take this as a constructive idea that will help you market the new wine when ready. Loose the Monange name, since it has no meaning to the market and rename the brand new wine Belair-Magdelaine from the 2012 vintage. It makes sense and your sales will be strong. If I'm wrong, I'll work next harvest for free in Saint Emilion... ;-)
Ben Giliberti
Washington, DC —  September 15, 2012 12:25pm ET
I vote for Dubignon-Talbot.

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