What does wine mean to you ?
Winemaker and oenologist
Wine is for me first of all a long family history since my family has been working in wine for several generations and I have always lived in the vineyards that my grandfather worked and my father put into farming.
I fell in when my father made me taste a vintage Château
Yquem: it was a revelation for me! It has quickly become a passion that governs all my family life since it forces us to live to the rhythm of the seasons. Behind a bottle of wine, there is first the story of the men and women who produce it, their hard work, with Mother Nature who rules everything and gives us some warnings with hail and frost.In this area, one must be humble because nothing is ever won until the harvest.It is a lot of satisfaction when we manage to overcome all the hazards and produce vintages like 2016 or 2009 and 2010.No vintage is the same, we never get bored. This is all the more true in my job as consulting oenologist that I make as many vinifications in one year as other winemakers in a lifetime.
Wine for me is also a field of experimentation: our ancestors made wine empirically, I chose to study oenology and to have this laboratory of advice to understand the scientific phenomena that preside over the elaboration of a wine and its conservation in time, and thus to be able to make the techniques evolve.
Wine is sharing through the moments of conviviality that it generates and the fierce discussions it can generate. I particularly like to drink wine with my friends, I choose bottles, I open them and I make them taste blind: famous castle bottles and bottles of lesser renown.
Wine is for me a jewel that I keep with much love in my cellar. I have bottles of the birth years of my children and it is a great pleasure to be able to open them with them at major events. My last great emotion is a tasting of Yquem 1929 in parallel with a bottle of Château Boisson 1929 which belonged to my grandfather:I was particularly surprised and very impressed by these two sweet wines, in terms of freshness. They were still very aromatic, with fat and volume, finesse and a lot of elegance.Their are enrobed in slight notes of coffee with milk. The cork was intact and had allowed these bottles to keep for almost 90 years. It was a magical moment for me, full of emotion because I had the impression to going back in time.
An incredible destiny, if we look a little bit at what happened since my arrival by chance in Saint-Emilion in 1984 and what followed as successions of» miracles «. Selling wine at the table made me want to sell it in a shop, which led me to become a merchant, my trade as a trader made me want to make my own wine from my own vineyard. Creation of Valandraud in 1991, the category of garage wine of the beginning which continues by the ranking in 1er cru in 2012 then the answer to your question of what is the wine for me: it is a total recognition. To the question «last emotion of tasting? It’s rare for me to talk about my wine when I’m asked to talk about a great wine, but that’s a bit special. At the time of the creation of Valandraud 2004 a vintage so hard to elaborate on, whose first comments by Parker and its status as en Primeur, made us cry, Murielle and me. And there, this week, and blind tasting at L’Envers du décor, this wine was so good that I said to myself: finally! it was worth the wait!
“it is a total recognition.”
To say what wine is for me is not so simple… it would be easier to ask the opposite and say, paraphrasing the great Italian poet Montale, what it’s not and what I don’t want it to be.
At first, wine I would like to be not a standardization of tastes, I would like it not to be a perfect result of chemical engineering and denuding technique, I’m not looking for certitude, I don’t want the wine to be a coffin for the grapes.
Wine is an expression of love, is life, is joy. For me technical perfection is not the priority but when I drink a wine I would like to savor the life that lives in us.Wine is an energy that emphasizes our feelings. The wine that is made with the heart carries in itself a story every year having a different character in each vintage that is an expression of the weather, the soil, the climate, the fruits and the craftsmanship.
Wine is a surprise and a passion.
I am lucky to be born in a famous area where the Nebbiolo grape yields excellent results simply by accompanying it and for us to carry on this tradition is a beautiful opportunity that makes us proud. But we know that it is «just» a passage … wine is mainly made from grapes and from the land and the wine like a children will carries on our history in the future. Wine is a personal adventure.As a vintner, wine is a beautifully choreographed script that mother nature neglected to share, allowing us to adapt with creativity and curiosity.As a collector, wine is an exploration of bottled moments in time best shared with friends. I don’t believe the best wines have to pair with a white table cloth and a Michelin star to be remembered, rather I often find the most genuine experiences to be unexpected.When the perfume of Sauvignon Blanc transports you to a first date, or the richness of Cabernet Sauvignon reminds you of your first promotion, that’s when wine transcends taste and creates emotion. And this pursuit is what inspires us to this day. My last wine emotion ? Once we resumed harvest after the wildfires, we pressed off our first tank of 2017 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and raised a glass with sheer joy, and many laughs. I’ll remember that moment forever.
“Wine is an expression of love,
is life, is joy. ” “a beautifully choreographed