Tue 31 Mar 2009
BORDEAUX — It was announced today that Chateau Lynch-Bages, a mainstay of Bordeaux’s Pauillac commune, is changing its traditional label and staid image to become Large Bunny. This attempt to appeal to a younger demographic of wine consumer was explained by Lynch-Bages owner and manager Jean-Michel Cazes with a shrug that could only be called Gallic.
“C’est la vie,” said Cazes, standing in the courtyard of the estate that dates back to 1749. “These young people no longer are interested in wines that are — comme dit-on? — stuffy and sacrosanct. They like the immediate appeal of labels that are relaxed and hip. The wine is the same, n’est-ce pas? But outside, you see, it is the coolness factor. Why should all these penguin wines and monkey wines and moose wines, wines of fish and birds and kangeroos, capture the market? Lynch-Bages, that is, Large Bunny, is now in the avant-garde.”
The over-achieving Fifth Growth property may be in the vanguard, but rumors abound in the Great Gray City of Bordeaux that other prominent chateaux are planning similar label and image transformations. Mentioned in scandalized conversations in brokers’ offices and in the town’s dignified boites are Chateau Petrus, rumored to become The Stormy Petrel; Leoville-Las Cases, perhaps looking at Lion City, and, most surprising, First Growth Chateaux Margaux, which anonymous insiders insist is contemplating a change to Chateaux Magret, with a different label every year depicting a duck preparation by a Michelin-starred chef.
“Change is good,” said Achille Apollinaire, spokesman for the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce. “It is time for Bordeaux, this ancient region where the best wines in the world are made — ask Mr. Robert M. Parker Jr. if you don’t believe me — to move ahead and join the rest of the winemaking industry in expanding its markets. Our new motto is, ‘Yellowtail — Watch Out!’”