Episode 422 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Christian Moueix, who is the president of Etablissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, based on the Right Bank of Bordeaux, France. Christian oversees several properties in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion, including Chateau La Fleur-Petrus, Chateau Trotanoy, and Chateau Hosanna. He is also the owner of the Dominus Estate and Ulysses wineries in the Napa Valley of California.
This interview is with Christian Moueix, but a surprising amount of the discussion focuses on someone else: Christian’s father Jean-Pierre. Jean-Pierre, who passed away in 2003, is remembered here for his uncanny brilliance: astutely purchasing a Monet canvas at the young age of 18, spending an afternoon speaking with Albert Einstein, and ascertaining before anyone else the extent of the 1956 frost damage in Pomerol, thus making a huge investment in the 1955 vintage before the prices for those wines skyrocketed. The financial gain that resulted for the Moueix family became the cornerstone of their business, Etablissements Jean-Pierre Moueix, a thriving concern that manages several properties, sells Bordeaux wines abroad, and provides contract farming on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. It was through this business that Jean-Pierre developed early relationships with properties like Chateau Petrus, long before that name was as famous as it is today. Christian grew up in the slipstream that his father had created, but also did his best to get outside of it, going to California to work the 1968 harvest with Andre Tchelistcheff at Beaulieu Vineyard. Christian later purchased property in the Napa Valley – thanks to an introduction from Robert Mondavi – and one of the themes of this interview is the way that Christian’s experience in one country informed his work in another, whether it be the direction of the rows in Napa Valley, or the cultivation of the soils in Bordeaux. The Moueix family today oversees a group of esteemed properties in Bordeaux, such as Chateau Trotanoy, Chateau La Fleur-Petrus, and Chateau Hosanna, but Christian is quite open about his desire to emulate his father’s purchasing habits – looking for what is undervalued and in need of some long term direction. After five decades of work, a lot of the early goals have come to fruition, but Christian is remarkably humble in this interview about the results, as forthright about his failures as his successes. This is a remarkable conversation that spans multiple regions and eras, and anyone would benefit from giving it a listen.
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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine