You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Tuesday 30 June 2015

The Proust Q&A: Denis Dubourdieu

21st February, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

A winemaker and professor of oenology at the University of Bordeaux, Denis Dubourdieu specialises in white wine consultancy and has played a pivotal role in improving the quality of Bordeaux’s white wines. He is co-manager at several Bordeaux properties, including Château Doisy Daëne, Château Reynon, Château Cantegril and Clos Floridène. Among the clients he consults for are Château d’Yquem, Château Cheval Blanc, Bodegas Chivite and 4G Wines in South Africa. He lives in Bordeaux with his wife Florence. His two sons, Jean-Jacques and Fabrice, help to run the family domaines.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

An early-morning ride up to the forest on a well-trained horse, the sensations that it procures of lightness, equilibrium and power evokes the delight of a very good wine.

What is your greatest fear? 

Fanatics and hypocrites.

Who do you most admire?

It’s hard to choose, there are so many people. I’d say my 90-year-old father for his intelligence and his courage, and James Dewey Watson for his discovery of the structure of DNA.

What is your greatest extravagance?

L’Extravagant de Doisy-Daëne.

What is your current state of mind? 

Enthusiasm for my ongoing projects.

What is the quality you most like in a woman? 

Charm of course, but above all generosity and a good sense of humour.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“Only the result counts” to convince those who hesitate, even if I don’t believe that myself.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

That’s an easy one: the great white wines.

When and where were you happiest?

At the age of 20 in Biarritz on the day I won my first national competition on Caracol, a four-year-old horse that was born at home in Cantegril. Towards the end of the round there were two obstacles left and I knew I was in the lead, and that’s what pushed me to win.

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able to play a musical instrument.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to know how to stay calm and composed.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

From a hands-on point of view Clos Floridene, and academically speaking the discovery of the aroma of Sauvignon Blanc.

Where would you most like to live?

Not always in the same place, but the Mediterranean climates have my preference. I like the wines of the north and the light of the south, particularly that of Provence and Italy.

What is your most treasured possession?

Being alive and aware.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My freedom and independence of action.

Who are your favourite writers?

It’s eclectic: Homer (he invented everything but maybe never existed), Montaigne, Stendhal, Maupassant, Alexandre Dumas, Balzac, Giono, Pagnol, Albert Cohen, Tolstoi, Bulgakov, Lampedusa, Garcia Marquez, Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, Jack London and Jim Harrison.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Angelo Pardi in The Horseman on the Roof by Giono.

What is it that you most dislike?

Imposture.

What is your greatest regret?

To have only one life, and such a short one at that.

What is your motto?

Understand in order to act.

Who would be your ideal dinner party guests and what wines would you serve them?

French novelists Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette and Alexandre Dumas, and Winston Churchill, all three of whom I imagine to be gourmets and wine lovers. I would serve them a 1996 Clos Floridene white, with its marvellous hints of truffles, a 1929 Château Gruaud Larose, which is still black and velvety at such a ripe old age, and finally a 1945 Doisy-Daëne, the glorious wine of victory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Top 10 ways to reuse a wine bottle

If you are anything like the db team, it won't take long to amass a collection more...

Bordeaux wine thieves found guilty

A French court has sentenced 15 men over the audacious theft of $1.1 million of more...

Margaux's new winery in pictures

Château Margaux recently unveiled its new winery and vinothèque designed by more...

Wine thieves go on trial

A gang of wine thieves accused of stealing a million euros worth of wine from more...

World's most extravagant wineries

With Château Margaux preparing to unveil its new winery and cellar, designed more...

Parker retrospective boosts 05 Palmer

Château Palmer’s 2005 is the latest wine from that vintage to see an more...

UK Sales Manager

London, United Kingdom

Vinexpo: five days 'too much' says organiser

Vinexpo doesn’t need to run for the full five days because no visitor stays more...

8 things you should know about Prosecco

With Prosecco currently breaking sales records left, right and centre, we round more...

The London Wine Fair in pictures

From red trews and foie gras macaroons to 2CVs, wine on tap and temporary more...

Supplier Relationship Manager

London, United Kingdom

Top 10 worst estates for en primeur returns

Using Liv-ex's data, db rounds up the worst 10 châteaux for en primeur more...

Top 10 architectural wonders of the wine world

You don't have to look far to find stunning examples of architectural prowess more...

Top 10 Negroni spots in London

As the Campari Red Night District takes over London's Shoreditch, we round up more...

E-commerce, Sales & Marketing Executive

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary and bonus package based on experience and qualification.

Top 10 banned alcoholic drinks

The drinks trade has seen its fair share of drinks banned from public more...

Top 10 wine brands 2015

In a year that saw major shifts in the global wine market, the drinks business more...

En primeur: beware the heralded vintage?

From an investment point of view it is best to buy the “vintages of the more...

Hatch Mansfield – Brand Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive salary

Top 10 estates for en primeur returns

db rounds up the 10 best Bordeaux estates for en primeur returns on more...

Top 10 modern wine drinker stereotypes

From Rioja lovers to Champagne quaffers, the drinks business has more...

Bordeaux 2005: Biggest movers

Expectation surrounding the 2005s is building and pushing up prices for top more...

PR Senior Account Manager/Director

London, United Kingdom

Depending on experience

How to become a 'wine expert' in four hours

A doctor of psychology has devised 10 simple steps which he claims can set you more...

BI offers 2014 imperial collection en primeur

Fine wine merchant Bordeaux Index is offering its clients a 10 imperial more...