With his understated charm, Christian Moueix, one of the leading vintners on Bordeaux’s Right Bank and Wine Spectator’s 2011 Distinguished Service Award winner, illustrated why the region—and its 2005 vintage—is so renowned. Though he is known to many for his tenure running Château Pétrus, he chose a wine from an estate that has belonged to his family since 1953: Château Trotanoy Pomerol 2005 (95 points, $190).
“I will try to not give you too many numbers, as they are boring,” Moueix told the audience. “Instead I will try to describe the birth of the vintage.” He detailed the excellent growing conditions in 2005 and how they resulted in a wine of refinement and balance. Moueix said he avoids extracted notes in his wines. “We produce a red wine, not a black wine,” he explained.
Trotanoy’s name translates to “land too difficult to cultivate,” referring to the mixture of clay and gravel that can become as hard as concrete but provides a combination of elegance, depth and intensity to the wines. “To make a great wine, we need great grapes, we don’t need a great winemaker,” said Moueix, who manages estates in both Bordeaux and Napa. He also stressed the importance of the pickers in making a top-quality wine and noted that in his 42 vintages, he has never missed a harvest meal with his vineyard workers.
As Moueix spoke, he elicited laughter as he took deliberate pauses—twice—for a long drink of the wine, noting that it was tasting well. At one point, executive editor Thomas Matthews refilled the glass for Moueix, who said his wine is for drinking, not tasting. When he asked the crowd if they liked the 2005 Trotanoy, they replied with applause. Moueix smiled and emptied his glass.