The Proust Questionnaire: Nicolas Joly
15th June, 2012 by Lucy Shaw
Biodynamic wizard Nicolas Joly is the owner and winemaker at Château de la Roche aux Moines in Savennières in the Loire Valley. He lives at the château with his wife Coralie.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A man in tune with himself and with humanity.
What is your greatest fear?
Looking backwards and having the feeling you haven’t done what you could have with your life.
Which living person do you most admire?
Burmese pro-democracy leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
What is your current state of mind?
Tired of the physical world and expectantly awaiting the next.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Considering my dogs as real friends.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
When and where were you happiest?
Fishing and shooting in northern Canada 30 years ago.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d love to be able to play a string instrument beautifully.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d like to improve my lack of understanding for the present definition of a human being and my surroundings – very often I feel like I don’t belong.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Have I achieved anything? Opening a new window in the wine field, I suppose.
Where would you most like to live?
In the countryside.
What is your most treasured possession?
My wife Coralie and my two children, Virginie and Vincent.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Being a joker. I’m dominated by Mercury and always want to make light of a bad situation.
Who are your favourite writers?
Biodynamic pioneer Rudolf Steiner.
Who is your hero of fiction?
I don’t read fiction, it’s a dream. If you need to dream, sleep.
What is it that you most dislike?
What is your greatest regret?
Not to have had more maturity at an earlier stage of life.
What is your motto?
Get closer to life and what’s behind it.
Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what wines would you serve them?
All of my guests would be from ancient history – I’d invite one of the Knights of the Round Table, one of the 12th century Christian Cathars from the Languedoc – they were very advanced people who left a poetic and artistic legacy. I’d also invite one of the Knights Templar and would serve them Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Romanée-Conti 1947 and Cascina degli Ulivi Monuvé Barbera from Piedmont.