Proust Q&A: Gilles Besse
Gilles Besse heads up Domaine Jean-René Germanier, one of Switzerland’s oldest and most renowned wineries along with his uncle, Jean-René. Besse used to be a professional saxophone player, but switched to studying oenology at the Swiss Winemaker’s University in Nyon and then took over the winemaker position at his uncle’s winery in Valais. Founded in 1886, the estate produces award-winning Cayas; Mitis and Champmarais Cornalin and is credited with cementing Switzerland’s position on the global fine wine map. Besse speaks to dbHK about the greatest love of his life and being happiest drinking wine with friends.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
For me, it is all about the journey, not the destination. Searching for happiness creates it.
What is your greatest fear?
To lose my desire for life and for wine.
What is your greatest extravagance?
Living my life.
What is your current state of mind?
It’s very good, though maybe a little stressed.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Her sense of humour.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I always seem to be saying, “it’s fantastic.”
When and where were you happiest?
Drinking great wines with friends .
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
Being a more spiritually independent person.
Which talent would you most like to have?
To be able to play music .
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Creating Cayas our Syrah that became one of the most famous red wine in Switzerland.
Where would you most like to live?
In the Alps .
What is your most treasured possession?
My natural sense of curiosity about the world.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My sense of humour.
Who is your favourite writer?
An American crime fiction writer, James Ellroy who wrote the Black Dahlia and L.A. Confidential, among other things.
Who is your hero of fiction?
James Bond !
What is it that you most dislike?
People who lie .
What is your greatest regret?
Being a musician!
What is your motto?
Work hard and play hard .
Which three wines would you serve at your dream dinner party?
Fendant Grand Cru 2011 , Cheval Blanc 1947 and Cayas Syrah du Valais 1997.