Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Thursday, May 23 2024

Eric Monnin, Domaine Boutinot

By: Anthony Gismondi
The Driving Winemaker of Cairanne

We first encountered Eric Monnin during Covid in a Zoom video discussing Project' B,' Boutinot's first reach into Canada after years of selling its international portfolio of wines across the country.

Monnin is the head winemaker for Boutinot International, the acclaimed English négociant/winemaking force that makes striking wines worldwide today.

The Boutinot journey is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit. It began over 50 years ago, in 1972 when Paul Boutinot ventured to London to work in the wine trade. He returned to Manchester five years later to join the family restaurant business. Dissatisfied with the wines available in the UK,  he embarked on a mission to find fresh, affordable, quality wines that would cater to the locals who frequented the family restaurant. This quest for wines that he would enjoy became the company ethos. Soon, he was sourcing wines for other local restaurants in the Manchester area. By 1980, his UK wine distribution business was thriving.

A global expansion strategy led the Boutinot family to various corners of the world, collaborating with numerous high-level producers and eventually inspiring Paul Boutinot to venture into winemaking. Today, Boutinot is a leading UK-based distributor and producer of select wines from across the globe. Their portfolio boasts a staggering 1600 wines, with an annual sales volume of 44 million bottles. The company's philosophy and business model of partnering with growers in different regions has led to the formation of a diverse team of winemakers overseen by the passionate Monnin.

Boutinot's initial roots were set down in the Rhone Valley at Carianne. The business and exploration took them to South Africa in 1994. In 2003, they established a joint venture with Araldica, a co-op in Piemonte, Italy. The company recently bought a long-time supplier and now produces English sparkling wine at Henner's.

The Cairanne story is one of discovery and persistence at Boutinot. It is now considered a worthy champion of the Rhone Valley village as it emerges from the shadows of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and other famous Rhone appellations. Technically, Cairanne is an appellation for red, white, and rosé wines from the parish of Cairanne in the southern half of the Rhone Valley. It was previously classified as 'Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne,' but the village was elevated to cru status in 2016. The result is wines that are labelled 'Cairanne.' The classification has put Cairanne at the same level as well-known, location-specific names such as Gigondas, Vacqueras or Cornas. We met Monnin at the 45th Vancouver International Wine Festival to talk about his work in Cairanne and the Boutinot labels in Canada.

Learn more: 

Project B: Story and video with Eric Monnin and Michael Bartier

Written By: ag
Anthony Gismondi
Anthony Gismondi

Anthony Gismondi is a Canadian wine journalist and one of North America's most influential voices in wine. For over 30 years, he has been the wine columnist for The Vancouver Sun. The twice-weekly column is distributed across Canada through the Postmedia Network to millions of readers. In addition, Anthony hosts the BC Food & Wine Radio Show, broadcast in 25 markets across B.C. and available as a podcast on major platforms. He launched Gismondionwine.com in 1997, attracting one million monthly users from 114 countries. It continues to be a valuable resource full of tasting notes, intelligent wine stories and videos for the trade and consumers. Conversations with wine personalities are available on his  YouTube Channel.