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- Monday, 06 October 2014 05:17 | Written by Matthias Tesi Baur
1. Tesi: Dear Corinne, you are the CEO of the famous Chateau Margaux! Can you tell me a bit more about yourself and what you daily job looks like?
Corinne: I consider that being the owner and the CEO of Château Margaux is a great privilege bestowed upon me by my late father who acquired the estate in 1977. It also is a great responsibility in view of its centuries-old prestige and its current worldwide reputation . My constant objective is that every decision should be taken in the long term, keeping in mind that Château Margaux will outlive us for many years to come. We are but a link in the long historical span of Château Margaux. I consider my daily job more like a duty towards Château Margaux.
2. Tesi: Tradition is a big word. Some people say tradition is passing “the fire” to the next generation. What does tradition means for you and Chateau Margaux and what is it that you want to pass to the next generation?
Corinne: In an estate such as Château Margaux, tradition is in fact the knowledge and experience that have been transmitted to us by the many generations before us: for instance, decisions such as picking the best plot of land together with the suitable grape variety, in an area where the risks of hale, flood, frost etc. are little have been made in the past following many trials and errors of the successive generations at the helm of the domain. It takes a very very long time to pick out the best possible “terroirs”. Nevertheless, while we respect our tradition and acquired knowledge because its results have always shown in the amazing quality of the wines produced before us, we make sure to try and add improvements thanks to our R&D department. I would like to pass this combination of respect towards our past together with the determination to experiment any possible improvement.
3. Tesi: The wine market has changed in the last 20 years. Especially the increased interest from Chinese buyers has influenced the market and prices. Where do you see the wine market in 10 years?
Corinne: I believe it will be a truly worldwide market as, besides China, we are seeing other markets gradually emerge, countries like India, Vietnam, Singapore, Russia, Brazil etc.
4. Tesi: Close your eyes and remember the moment you had for the first time in your life a great wine. What did you felt?
Corinne: When my family arrived in Margaux, I was far from being a wine connoisseur but I shall always remember the first time I tasted the Château Margaux 1961, one of the greatest vintages of the 20th century: it was pure bliss, I had never tasted such a unique combination of silky finesse and power, something quite specific to the wines of Château Margaux and which can be best summarized by the word “elegance”. There are not many wines around the world that can bring such emotion: the best Classified Growths of Bordeaux are a rare exemple.
5. Tesi: France, Spain and Italy are the super power nations when it comes to good wine. Which more unknown wine country or region would you recommend for great wine?
Corinne: There already is California of course and Germany with its extraordinary sweet wines. The emerging wine countries are presently Chile, Washington State, Greece, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, with probably more to come. Vineyards have recently been created in China.
6. Tesi: What does good food mean to you?
Corinne: Depending on time and place, they are moments when good food is pure happiness, although it can only be so if it is shared with family and friends.
Matthias Tesi Baur
Biography Corinne Mentzelopoulos:
Corinne Mentzelopoulos is the owner and CEO of Château Margaux, an internationally known wine estate in Bordeaux, France. She also served as vice chairman of Exor S.A., a holding company for food retail distribution and real estate. In the early 1980s she was a financial controller for Primistères, a holding company for the 1800 Felix Potin retail stores in Paris and also worked as an advertising manager for a major French advertising firm. Mrs. Mentzelopoulos joined the Salk International Council in 1988. In 1999, she was appointed to the French Foreign Trade Council. She has served on the bord of directors of the Exor Group in Luxembourg and the Société des Industries Chimiques du Nord de la Grèce in Athens, Greece. Since 2009, she has been a trustee of the American University of Paris. She is a board member of The Hellenic Initiative, a philanthropic institution based in the U.S., and a member of the Benaki Museum International Honorary Council in Athens, Greece. In 2013, she was appointed Grand-Croix ‘Pro-Merito Melitensi’ of the Sovereign Order of Malta. Mrs. Mentzelopoulos has earned the titles of Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur and Officier of the Ordre National du Mérite for excellence in her field.
B.A., Humanities, Paris University M.B.A. Institut d’Etudes Politiques
Married to Hubert Leven; Children: Nathalie, Alexandra and Alexis Languages: fluent in French, English and Greek. Eduational interests: amateur historian and avid reader in French, English, Ancient Greek and Latin. Humanitarian interests: Patron of Classical Greek Art and philanthropist, particularly focused on Greek issues. Hobbies: practice of skiing, water-skiing and wind-surfing. Photography and American music.
More information: www.chateau-margaux.com