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- Thursday, 02 July 2015 16:11 | Written by Matthias Tesi Baur
Tesi: Nicolas, you are General Manager of the famous Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. Tell me a little about yourself.
Nicolas: I have always loved wine, but it was not my first career choice. I studied biological science and research, but I realized early on that I needed to be outside – a laboratory or a research desk was not the environment in which I would be happy.
Around that time, I came to the Bordeaux region and ended up meeting my future wife. My plan was to become an opera singer, but the amount of travelling was too much to maintain a good relationship. So, what could be more obvious than combining my love for wine and the fact that I live in the most prestigious region for wine – Bordeaux – with my profession and start a career in the wine business? In 2005, I worked for Haut Brion and in 2006 for Château Montrose before I became the general manager of Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. I look back at my career and think it was the best decision of my life to work for the wine business.
Tesi: Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande is clearly one of the icons of the Bordeaux region and a French treasure. How do you feel about working for that Château?
Nicolas: It is a huge honour to work for Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande. It is a famous label, and the job comes not only with pride but also with the duty to deliver. I’m a big believer that we should never stop questioning how we can do better and never stop improving. I love the challenges, and I love to challenge people. This is my work ethic, and I’m very happy that I can use this ethic for my current employer.
Tesi: What is your vision of how the brand of Château Pichon Longueville should develop in the next few years?
Nicolas: The wine is sometimes seen as a feminine wine due to its label. That sometimes causes confusion as Bordeaux wine are seen as robust and strong, which most wine drinkers see as typically masculine character points. My vision is that the strong character of Pichon Longueville and its robust tannins are not seen in opposition to its elegance and finesse. We work hard on this balance, and I believe that we have made good progress. My vision is that people will enjoy Pichon Longueville as a wine that combines robust character with elegance in a perfect symbiosis.
Tesi: How was 2014?
Nicolas: It was a perfect year. It was a little bit better for cabernet than for merlot, which will give the wine a special place in the last 15 years of production. We had a perfect Indian summer in 2014. In fact, the wine drinker can expect a great year from all Bordeaux châteaux.
Tesi: Which other years should not be missed in a well-sorted wine cellar, and which other regions would you recommend?
Nicolas: I would say that 1978 was definitely outstanding but also the early 80’s and 2009 gave us some very good bottles. Other regions I would recommend are Burgundy and Argentina, although Croatia and Hungary are also two regions that should be watched. From North America, I like the New England States a lot. They have some very good wines.
Tesi: What does good food and wine mean to you?
Nicolas: Good food and wine is more than pleasure. Enjoying good food and wine with friends is always a peaceful moment. That way, it means friendship to me.