Beyond Bordeaux

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Add a festive touch to everyday hearty dishes this winter with a surprisingly approachable Cabernet Sauvignon from the house of de Rothschild.

Cadet d’Oc, Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s young brand of French varietals, brings a food-friendly ambience to the table with all the elegance of the family’s higher-end Bordeaux wines. The varietally labeled wines, a division of Mouton Cadet, are bottled as vin de pays, a French term for “country wine,” classified above the generic table wine designation and below AOC (appellation d’origine contrôlée). Grapes for Cadet d’Oc wines come from Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France, a wine region with three times the combined area of vineyards as Bordeaux. The region boasts a variety of climates and soils — this diverse terroir is evident in aromatic Cadet d’Oc wines, which have great depth with just the right balance of fruit and structure. And at a fraction of the price of Bordeaux wine, the appellation gives great value as well.

Sourced from vineyards in Limoux, Cadet d’Oc Cabernet Sauvignon is a deep ruby red wine that carries a fragrant blackberry aroma with undertones of smoky vanilla. Ripe flavors of blackberries, cherries, plums and currants dance on the palate with a hint of chocolate and toasted spice on the lingering finish. Dry but smooth, the wine’s jammy character balances with silky tannins for heft without the bite. Pair with grilled red meats, sausages, red pasta sauces, soups, stews and hearty casseroles.

Rothschild launched the varietal line in 2010 with Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, later adding Pinot Noir and Moscato. Cadet d’Oc takes its name from the French word cadet (meaning “the younger child”) and from the grapes’ appellation, Pays d’Oc of Languedoc-Roussillon. The wines are produced in the de Rothschild cutting-edge winery at Saint-Laurent-Médoc near Pauillac.

Cadet d’Oc Cabernet Sauvignon earned a 90-point rating from The Tasting Panel in 2011 and a Best Buy designation at the 2011 World Value Wine Challenge. It garnered a silver medal in the World Wine Championships that same year.

Nom de Marque
Baron Philippe de Rothschild had barely started in his banking family’s wine business when he began to shake up the industry. In 1924 — rather than sell his wine in bulk to wine merchants who handled the maturing, bottling, labeling and marketing — he bottled his entire vintage at the château as a means to maintain product control and market the vineyard name. Other French vintners soon followed his lead.

Six years later, he broke with French wine tradition again when he launched Mouton Cadet, the world’s first branded wine. Blending varietals from several Bordeaux region appellations, he named the brand after his premier cru vineyard (Château Mouton Rothschild), adding cadet to the name in deference to his birth order as the youngest son in the family.

Mouton Cadet Red, a claret, was an immediate commercial success, forcing de Rothschild to source grapes from an ever-widening area to feed production and keep up with demand. The wine achieved Bordeaux AOC designation in 1947. Its popularity grew when de Rothschild began marketing Mouton Cadet in the United States in the 1950s. A white Bordeaux blend joined the lineup in 1970, followed by a rosé.

By 2002, Mouton Cadet was the top selling wine in the world, with sales of more than 15 million bottles worldwide. The launch of the Cadet d’Oc brand came on the 80th anniversary of Mouton Cadet.

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