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26 August 2019 № 368


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Star of winemaking in Mozart Wine House

Academy of Sommelier Mozart Wine House and East European Sommeliers and Experts Association together with wine-trading company «Fort» organized a meeting with a representative of the trading house of Michel Rolland.

Wines from The Rolland Collection, were presented by commercial director of the enterprise, David Lesage. He told to the auditorium about the history and geography of the Chateaux of Rolland, his vineyards and the philosophy of the trading house. And after that a tasting took place of a wine from Chateau Rolland-Mailliet St. Emilion Grand Cru 2009. Mozart Wine House couldn’t miss the chance to talk to the son-in-law of Michel Rolland.

Mozart Wine House: David, you speak about Bordeaux with such a passion as if it was were motherland.

David Lesage: I am really in love with Bordeaux even though I come from Loire. I came to Bordeaux for my study of marketing in the School of Commerce more than 18 years ago. I fall in love with this perfect place, where both mountains and sea are near. And I met my wife-to-be there and she was a daughter of Michel Rolland.

MWH: And that is how you came into the wine sphere?

DL: Actually, not. My passion to wine came much later. For sure I had wine for dinner but I didn’t know wine. I worked in marketing, dealing with cheese and delicatessen. But step by step I came to the idea that I love wine and want to work with it. I went to Champagne and worked for years in Lanson, than I moved back to Bordeaux and for years I managed the processes in Kressmann, worked with all wines except Grand Cru.

MWH: So, what was your way to Michel Rolland?

DL: It is a long story. You know, Michel Rolland is a great person, he was born in 1947, the year of the best vintage in Pomerol, so he’s labeled (laughing). The family only had 15 hectares of vineyards, but placed so lucky that after classification of the appellations and bordering of lands the vineyards of the Rollands found out in three appellations — Saint Emilion, Pomerol and Lalande de Pomerol. You know, we have 5 properties in Bordeaux, but majority of our wines are produced out of France. So, traditional trading via negociants is hard, and Michel decided to sell wine through a trading house, first only overseas wines, than — the Bordeaux ones also. Michel keeps saying that everyone should do his job, he is eonologist, I am marketing person, so I manage the trading house and promote wines of The Rolland Collection. Actually, our philosophy is very abnormal for Bordeaux, people there use to work with negociants. And we never use advertising, our marketing budget is mostly covering my tickets, and I’ll say that this is much more profitable that to place a publicity in Wine Spectator for 10000 Euro. We do not make too much wine and for us it is important to whom we sell it. When I get an order, I go to the client, meet him and his place, we don’t want to loose face. Like, for example, in China, where great wine becomes small change, looses its value. They use to pay debts and you can find a really good wine for no price in a gasoline station. That damages the image, we don’t accept it.

MWH: You mentioned China. Do you sell a lot to this market?

DL: We don’t. But I think it is a good market-to-come. People are aware that Chinese will copy French wine as they started to make wine. But I think it’s a good sign. Wine is not a typical drink for Chinese, like rice vodka for Frenchmen. But the fact that Chinese started wine-making even not high quality but affordable for simple people will form loyalty to wine and one day I will be easier for qualified product to be launched to Chinese market. But now, our wine is not for China.

MWH: Well, David, the final question. Today you came to our class while a lesson of Burgundy wines. Our course includes technology of wine selling. What would your piece of advise to my students?

DL: I am not sommelier, but in restaurants I always pay attention to their work. And I’d say that a successful sommelier is a person who doesn’t forget that wine drinking is a way to get pleasure. And the most important is to pass on this knowledge to the person they work with. And this is more than technique it is something natural.

MWH: Thank you very much for your words, for the presentation and you are welcome back!

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