When it came to launching a new range of small parcel, own-production wines, Product Manager Julie Ruiz chose to work with our in-house design team rather than an external designer. It was an opportunity to develop a brand from the ground up, working with the winemaker’s local knowledge and our designers’ expertise to encapsulate the true Boutinot spirit. Since launching in 2022, Alo has been one of Boutinot’s most successful new releases in recent years and the range has already expanded to include three wines.
Discovering the hidden gem
Boutinot France has over 30 years of experience making wines from across the country. Guillaume Letang joined the company in 2015 following a decades-long career making wine in some of the most prestigious regions and domaines in France.
Guillaume presented a parcel of Carignan to Julie years ago, and they both loved it. Unfortunately, there was no vehicle for the wine at the time, and it wasn’t the right moment to launch a new range, so the parcel went unused.
A year later, he brought the new vintage of the wine to a small parcel tasting, and this time Julie couldn’t let it go:
“I was obsessed! It’s a real Marmite wine. Big and juicy, we kept it dry while wines from Maury are normally made in a sweeter style. Made from old, bush-vine fruit, it tastes like the terroir. Guillaume has amazing relationships with growers in the area and a real skill of finding amazing parcels. This was a fantastic opportunity to create something with that special Boutinot touch.”
The idea of “hidden gems” was immediately apparent to Julie, but she didn’t know exactly how she wanted to transfer the concept onto a label.
It was important to Julie to let the wine lead the brief, focussing on the discovery of the wine, and allowing the design to come naturally. To achieve this this, she knew that the Boutinot in-house design team were best suited to the job.
Julie presented the wines and her ideas for the brand to Jenny Hickman, the head of our in-house design team, and she was equally as excited by the brief and the potential to really push the boat out in terms of concept:
“The story behind the wines was poetic and non-traditional. I knew straight away which designer on the team was the right one.”
Jenny and designer Laura went into research mode, trying to find a way to incorporate gems into the labels without being too flashy or blingy.
This led them down the scientific route, which also tied into the winemaking and was easy to build upon. Led by the wine’s deep colour, they looked into all kinds of red gems, but they were too flashy or had complicated names that didn’t make sense for the wine. Deep in “research mode”, Jenny eventually found her way to aluminium oxide; a naturally occurring compound found in schisteous soils, which at gem-quality also forms into sapphires of all colours, including rubies. The connection of the soil, the ruby colour of the wine, and the rarity of these stones all came together.
“Discovering the chemical compound Al²O³ brought it all together and resonated with everyone. It gave us the name ‘Alo’, which had been one of the hardest things to settle on. Sapphires also come in all kinds of colours, so it would be easier to add new wines to the range.”
It took a full year from the initial brief and countless hours of research to launch the wine, but the results speak for themselves:
Rubis Rouge 2020 vintage awarded 90 points from James Suckling.
Jais Noir Carignan 3.9 star rating on Vivino, 2020 vintage awarded 91 points from James Suckling.
Vert Impérial Picpoul-Roussanne launched in 2023.