Jean-Valmy Nicolas

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 July, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 July, 2012, 12:00am


What did growing up in a family of winemakers teach you? 'I'm very lucky - [this business] is not just about wine, it's something very cultural. It's about the way you have a good time with other people - sharing good wine and good moments. It's a philosophy of generosity. It's been my great luck to have had the opportunity since I was very young to welcome people from all over the world who are interested in wine.'

What is your first memory of drinking wine? 'It's of drinking sauternes from Chateau d'Yquem. I was 12 years old and thought it was fantastic. The wines of Sauternes are a lot more than just wines - they have soul.'

Has the world of wine changed? 'The perception of wine has changed over the years. Twenty years ago, the approach of American amateurs was quite different to that of the Chinese amateurs today. What impresses me with people coming from Asia is their passion for wine and the effort they're making to learn about it. For us, it's wonderful to see them trying to understand the wine, the location and the terroir. Some of the younger generation are interested in wine and will spend time reading books and ratings. The first step in the know-how or culture of wine is an academic step; it's how you gain knowledge. And after that, I find it fascinating how much effort they take when going to tastings and so on.'

How important is food when it comes to wine appreciation? 'In my culture, the development of wine is quite independent [of food]. The pleasure of wine is itself sufficient. It's OK pair it with a meal, but wine on its own for me is already enough - it's already a pleasure.'

Which vintage would you recommend? 'The 2001 vintage is the flagship of La Conseillante. It is maybe the most representative wine of what we like.'