When you think of sparkling wine from the Loire, Bouvet Ladubay comes to mind almost immediately as the epitome of high-quality winemaking.
Trésor’, ‘Saphir’ or ‘Taille Princesse’ are beautiful-sounding names in the world of Crémants. With these gems, Bouvet Ladubay has conquered the world. Their success is the achievement of the Monmousseau family over many generations.
In 1875, the family began by setting up their wine company. A major era began in 1902, when Justin-Marcel Monmousseau, the nephew of the company‘s founder, joined the company. He had made contacts in London before joining the company, enabling it to start exporting. Even more important was his decision to produce sparkling wine by the méthode traditionelle.
In 1932, Justin-Marcel reached another milestone when he purchased Bouvet Ladubay, founded in 1851. Even then, Bouvet Ladubay was one of the foremost producers of sparkling wine in the world, but was unfortunately in financial difficulty. After the Second World War, Jean Monmousseau, the son of Justin-Marcel, took over the management of Bouvet Ladubay, which subsequently operated independently of the Monmousseau parent company. Jean Monmousseau succeeded in restoring the reputation of Bouvet Ladubay by focussing on the high quality of the wines.
In the 1970s, Bouvet Ladubay was lucky on two counts. First, Jean Monmousseau had involved his sons Armand and Patrice in the company early on. And second, the company came under the ownership of Champagne family Taittinger. Patrice Monmousseau was already CEO of Bouvet Ladubay, and Taittinger realisedhow valuable the connection was between the Monmousseau Family and Bouvet Ladubay – a connection that continues to this day and herealded a new era.
He benefited from the efforts made by his father to increase the quality and the independence granted to him by Claude Taittinger. Between 1970 and 2006, production increased from 370,000 to 3.2 million bottles a year.
Another change of ownership came in 2006, when Starwood Capital took over the Taittinger Group. They had such respect for Patrice Monmousseau’s achievements that, during the resale, he was allowed to decide for himself who became the new owner. There was plenty of interest, but Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman of Indian company UB Group, stood out.
When the magnate visited Bouvet Ladubay, he was immediately enthralled by the magic of this gem. He made the decision to purchase immediately, and Patrice Monmousseau also immediately realised he had found the right partner, someone for whom Bouvet Ladubay was a passion and not just an investment.
Vijay Mallya also understood how beneficial the connection was between Bouvet Ladubay and the Monmousseau family and placed his trust in the family management. The modern winery, which opened in 2008 with the nickname ‘Full Metal’, brought the next impetus, increasing production to 5.8 million bottles.
For Patrice Monmousseau, this success is based on the art of blending, which he learned from his father and is now passing on to his daughter Juliette, an art which, like a gene, can only be passed down through the family. As Patrice says: “Taste is a question of ancestry.”