Uncorked: Pierre Graffeuille

Pierre Graffeuille is the director of second growth Château Léoville-Las-Cases in Saint-Julien. Having graduated from the university of Bordeaux with a degree in engineering and oenology, Graffeuille went on to Australia, New Zealand, Burgundy, and the Rhône to hone his skills before returning to Bordeaux. Since 2011, he has been working for the illustrious Delon family. In an interview with dbHK, the vintner revealed his addiction for sashimi, and the worst part about wine industry – opening a corked bottle when drinking with wine connoisseurs.

What vintage are you?
1977. It’s one of the worst vintages in Bordeaux and a very bad one in general… except luckily for Port wines.
What bottle sparked your love of wine?
I remember clearly that I was 19 years old. I tasted a bottle of Pomerol with some friends during a skiing holiday in Chamonix. I found this wine amazingly good, then I was surprised how quickly it evolved in the glass and became so complex. I immediately thought that working in the wine trade couldn’t be boring! I drunk the bottle very slowly, trying to understand the mystery of this wine. It was a Château Trotanoy 1982.
What would you be as a wine?
I have never asked myself such a question! I guess I would probably be a Syrah from the Northern Rhône: reliable and robust with a long lifespan and a bit spicy!
Where are you happiest?
Spending time with my kids and of course sharing good bottles with my friends in blind tasting sessions.
What’s your greatest vice?
Eating tonnes of sashimi in Japan.
Best advice you ever got?
Be yourself, trust in your dreams and don’t listen to others too much.
Your cellar’s underwater, which bottle would you dive in and save?
One bottle – that’s not enough! But let’s say DRC 1999.
What’s the best and worst thing about the wine business?
The best thing is meeting people who are really passionate about wine. The worst is when the bottle you open with them is corked.
What’s on your wine bucket list?
I would like to taste more wines from the Mediterranean islands: Corsica, Sardinia, Sicilia, Aeolian islands. They do produce unknown white and red gems. And maybe one day to own a small estate over there, for my retirement!
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
My dad for sure. He is the one who made me discover wine.
Which wine would you like served at your funeral?
Château Léoville las Cases 2000: dark, long, vibrant, elegant & mysterious…perfect for a funeral!

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