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Exclusive: Pasternak Launching “Legende,” An Accessible Bordeaux Targeting Millennials

November 17, 2015

Pasternak Wine Imports is preparing the release of Legende, a new range of entry-level Bordeaux wines from Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite). Rolling out in spring 2016, the Legende line will include a Bordeaux Blanc and Bordeaux Rouge (around $20 a 750-ml.) as well as offerings from Médoc, St.-Emilion and Pauillac ($35 to around $60).

“These are gateway wines for the millennial consumer,” Pasternak president and CEO Stephen Brauer told SND. “Legende is all about introducing consumers to the pleasures of Bordeaux. We want to break down the barrier in perception that all Bordeaux wine is expensive and out of reach.” Brauer noted that 90% of Bordeaux wine sold in the United States retails at under $50.

“Bordeaux isn’t that different from California in some ways,” Brauer added. “Consumers start with California Chardonnay, then move up to Sonoma or Napa Chardonnay, then transition to Cabernet. They move up the price scale as they become more educated, more affluent and more engaged in wine. The same thing can happen with Bordeaux.”

Emphasizing Bordeaux’s accessibility and diversity will be at the forefront of Legende’s efforts with the trade, Brauer said. On the consumer side, restaurants will be the target—particularly modern American-style eateries, French bistros and other relatively casual venues. Asian restaurants also represent an area of opportunity, particularly for white Bordeaux. “We take a fairly surgical approach to our channel strategy and make sure we promote wines that are affordable on wine lists as well as by the glass,” Brauer said. “The majority of millennials are going out to more casual restaurants that offer wines from multiple regions by the glass.”

The move represents a step in the right direction for Bordeaux, which has had difficulty connecting with millennials in the U.S. market. New York City’s Sherry-Lehmann has been among the few retail leaders in that effort with its “Unsung Heroes of Bordeaux” series, which features Bordeaux in the $9-to-$15 range, allowing newer drinkers to discover the region at an affordable price. “You need a point of entry for every category,” said Sherry-Lehmann CEO Chris Adams. “Millennials aren’t jumping into high-end wine just yet, but they like the idea of exploration—they want to be very informed.” That curiosity extends both to up-and-coming wine regions as well as the classics, Adams added.

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