“ For me, luxury can only be genuine. I shall go even farther, saying that the luxury which sparkles with a thousand fires is not the true luxury. In my trade, authenticity obviously passes through the concept of time and the respect for time. We just have to follow all this production that takes months and leads to the creation of a great wine. There is also the time it will take to keep it and the time it will take to share it with others. I always find the welcome in Quebec extraordinary because people give you time and finally, they give you what they have most valuable. My message is then to take a time to stop, because luxury is knowing how to live simple experiences like to marvel at a landscape and to bring sense by questioning our lifes.
What makes the richness of our profession is that we are confronted with a great diversity of people who come to see us in Haut-Bailly and they want to know. They ask to learn how our wine is made, to taste it and to enrich themselves with this world that is fundamentally anchored in us, since the work of the vine is part of our civilization. When you read the Bible, the number of times the name “vine” or “wine” is quoted is impressive! The vine, this plant so endearing, is therefore an act of civilization. And while contemplating this incredibly worked landscape, the deep roots of our humanity awaken in us and we must be respectful for that. This makes us humble too because we are only passers, on Earth for a few years. And we hold jewels which we have the duty to take care of and to transmit in a better state. No one will remember our name. But we will always remember if it was a golden age for the property.
If we come back to the notion of luxury, we can wonder what it really is. Does it mean to possess or to dispose? I think luxury will be above all in being for the coming generation. That’s what we wanted to do with the rooms of Château Le Pape. All is designed to give customers who are rushing all the time a moment of peace and quietness. There is no TV in the rooms and you can turn off the wifi. We wanted to offer them a moment out of their usual time. Stop for a moment! Take a look at this beautiful landscape, on a tree-lined avenue or on a vineyard. At the Château of Haut-Bailly, we also give them our time to explain what we do and make them understand our wine. Our goal is to provide an experience of French art of living accompanied by a great wine. True luxury is in these authentic moments !
There are centuries-old vines in our land and they are the very heart of our wines every year. The style of these great wines is above all balance, but also elegance. Elegance means the opposite of the ostentatious. These are therefore wines that are going to be perfectly ripe and structured by silky and well blended tannins. And this gives an aging capacity that will allow them to cross the time and the eras. One always comes back to this notion of time, because we do not make a wine just to please at a given moment. A great wine has the ability and the duty to cross the times. The great vintages of Haut-Bailly last a century! What is therefore difficult in our profession is to be regular and to be sustainable. When we organize a vertical tasting (a tasting of several vintages that follow one another in Haut-Bailly), customers are often surprised by the quality and consistency, vintage after vintage. This is our authenticity, the one that reflects our terroir. So, vinifying a great wine means letting the terroir express itself. And finally, we want wines that bring pleasure when they are consumed. Our whole approach is to focus on this special moment when the bottle will be consumed.
Authenticity cannot be bought. It cannot be learned either. He have it or we don’t. You can live in a world of appearance and superficiality, but when you have the chance to work in the most beautiful place in the world, you must be fair. Some places are more conducive to bringing forth and revealing its own authenticity. We are lucky to have a terrific terroir, a great owner that fits in the long run and a team that does a sensational job. And all my philosophy was not to follow the fashions and not to heed the siren’s call. You have to follow our instinct and keep our soul, to be faithful to what we are and be authentic.”
Interview held by Carine Mouradian on July 6, 2017, at Château Haut-Bailly (Bordeaux)