Cyril dropped in to see me the other day with Conor from J.W. Lees. They wanted me to try their new range of wines under the Mouton Cadet Reserve label, as well as their Chilean wine Escudo Rojo. I was familiar with the Escudo Rojo having first come across it many years ago in Glasgow. At that time Mouton was under Paragon Vintners portfolio, and the guy from Paragon sent me a mixed case of samples that included such gems a a bottle of La Grande Dame, Cloudy Bay, Escudo Rojo, Baron d'Arques and several other fabulous wines. The Escudo Rojo is a bordeaux blend from Chile, with consulting input from Moutons winemaking team. Its actually very good, and for a while I listed it, until one afternoon, cruising around the wine-section at the local Costco I came across a pile of cases of the Escudo at around half the price we had paid for it. I went ape and it ended up being delisted. Ever since then Ive had somewhat of an aversion to certain wines, and Mouton Cadet was amongst them.
The Reserve de Mouton Cadet is a range of appellation wines from the major communes of Bordeaux. There is a Graves, a St Emillion, A Sauternes, A Graves Blanc, and a Medoc. The presentation is a bit less "commercial" than the Cadet and the use of the word Reserve gives it a slightly more "upmarket" feel. Daft, I know, because legally the word actually has no support, in much the same way that "vielle vignes" or old vines has no legal definition. But there is definately quality in the bottles. The labels are rather plain and understated, but after all its the contents of the bottles that should do the talking. Ive only tried one of the wines, a box of samples with the rest arrived yesterday marked for my attention. All I await now if the prices to see if they will fit into our list.
Cyril also showed me the Barons range of wines, which I was led to believe was exclusively on-trade (must dig around to disprove this!). A slight step up from the reserve range, again there are a range of appellations for this wine - Pauillac, Medoc, St Emillion, Graves and Sauternes. I tasted the Pauillac Baron Nathanial, which if I remember from my brief visit to the Estate was the person who bought Brane-Mouton and renamed it Mouton Rothschild in early 1850's.
So a potential new line of wines to be looking at, subject to the right pricing of course, and they could well fit the bill.