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La Châsse producer Gabriel Meffre looks to make its name in the on-trade

Published:  23 May, 2018

Rhône Valley producer Maison Gabriel Meffre is looking to expand its presence in the UK on-trade, growing on the success of its La Châsse brand in Sainsbury’s and Asda.

The company, which also boasts the Fat Bastard brand as part of its “professional but fun” portfolio, shared details of its ambitions to find on-trade distribution with its Gabriel Meffre range.

The company is already well-established in the UK off-trade, having built La Châsse into one of the UK’s most prominent Côtes du Rhône brands via Guy Anderson Wines.

In 2018, it collaborates with over 70 partner wineries across the Rhône and the Languedoc – 45 full time – with a turnover of €43m turnover in 2017 making it a key player in southern France.

“La Chasse is the number one volume brand for Gabriel Meffre in the world,” said export manager Mathieu Dienst. “It will continue to be a major brand and our focus is on continuing to push this in the off-trade. A lot of people know La Châsse and Fat Bastard, which was started in the UK in 1998, but they don’t necessarily know the name Gabriel Meffre. We’re hoping to change this as we develop in the on-trade.”

The company is now preparing to target the UK's bars and restaurants with its eponymous Gabriel Meffre range, of which only one SKU is currently available in the UK via a Waitrose listing.

The range represents the half of the portfolio which concentrates on high-quality Rhône appellations, with prices starting at around £9 for the Côte du Rhône Villages label up to £20 for Gigondas AOC.

“60% of what we do is focused on the Rhône appellations,” said Yash Ghienne, senior export manager who specialises in the UK off-trade and who has been working closely with UK on-trade export manager Laura Pourtier to develop this side of the business.

“The other 40% concentrates from varietals from across southern France, like Fat Bastard, with grapes coming from Bessières and Pézenas in the southwest. We’re customer focused and serious, but there’s a fun-loving side to what we do. In the wine trade, even a bit of creativity seems like a lot in comparison to other industries. But something like Fat Bastard has really allowed us to reach out to consumers who aren't comfortable with traditional wines.”

Part of this creativity involves playing around with some of the company’s domaines peppered across the Rhône, including a Côte du Rhône white blend from the red-focused Gigondas AOC, where the company has its HQ.

Parcel selections from prestigious northern Rhône AOCs Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu make up its Lurus range.

With “a little more oak aging and focus on high quality sites”, these wines sit at the top end of the portfolio and provide a final stepping stone to the company’s single estate Domaine de Longue Toque range - the “jewel” of Maison Gabriel Meffre.