Nov. 26th
2015
OUR BRANDS

Summergate's Exclusive Interview with Guillaume d'Angerville

26th Nov. 2015  /  OUR BRANDS  ·  Marquis d'Angerville

The first in what will be a series of interviews from Summergate’s outstanding Burgundy wineries, Summergate was lucky enough to be given an exclusive interview with one of Burgundy’s most esteemed producers, Guillaume D’Angerville of Domain Marquis d’Angerville.

Family member & owner of this iconic vineyard, as well as one of the key figureheads behind Burgundy’s recent recognition as a UNESCO heritage site, Guillaume shares with us the belief-set behind his estate, the secrets to what makes Burgundy so special, an insider look into the UNESCO heritage site acknowledgment, and his view on the past 4 years witnessing the China market with Summergate.

 

Click here to read the full interview, or see below for just a few of the highlights from Guillaume d'Angerville's interview.



 

To start, could you tell us briefly the strengths and highlights of your Domaine, and the role of your father at the regional level?

D’Angerville: “Domaine Marquis d'Angerville has been owned by my family for over 200 years and has always been run by a family member. I am the sixth generation at the helm, having taking over the estate when my late father Jacques passed away in 2003. Many words of wisdom, “how-tos” and other winemaking techniques have thus been transmitted from one generation to the next, over an extended period of time. Above all, a certain winemaking philosophy has become the trademark of the domaine, mostly initiated by my grandfather, who replanted the domaine in 1905-06, after the philloxera crisis. This philosophy calls for constantly pursuing elegance and purity in the wines produced, and minimising human intervention so that the terroir can speak for itself.

My father devoted significant time and energy to Burgundy as a whole. He was president of BIVB, the local professional board, on two occasions, and was a founding member and the first president of Institut Jules Guyot, the vine and wine department of the University of Dijon. He was also president of the French Wine Academy (Académie du Vin de France) and a longstanding member of the International Wine Academy (Académie Internationale du Vin).

Before him, my grandfather Sem was a founding member of Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO, the regulatory body supervising, interalia, wine production) and cast in stone, with his friend Henri Gouges (owner of a famous estate in Nuits-Saint-Georges), the classification of  the C?te d'Or terroirs between Grands Crus, Premiers Crus and Village. This classification is still in force today, barring a few very limited exceptions.

As you can imagine, I am very proud of my predecessors and try my best to be worthy of them.

 

It's been four years since you trust Summergate for the distribution of your wines in China. Are you planning to allocate more wines there in the future? Do you think the Chinese market will become a must for Burgundy wine?

D’Angerville: “I am very pleased with my relationship with Summergate. Summergate distributes the limited allocations I offer for Mainland China in a very intelligent way. I cannot say I know or understand this fascinating country, having only visited Shangha? once, but I am certain that Burgundy must be present there, in its own way. The scale of Burgundy - one tenth of Bordeaux in size - is such that any approach to the Chinese market must recognize that we will never be in a position to supply enough wine to be present everywhere in China.In this context, it is crucial to entrust the right people to approach the Chinese market. I believe Summergate has understood what I was trying to achieve, and I expect my allocation to the Chinese market will grow over the medium term.”

 

After Vineyards of the Valais, Porto and Saint-Emilion, now it is Burgundy’s turn to be a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Why has this recognition come somewhat late?

D’Angerville: “The Climats of Burgundy were inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2015. Through this inscription, UNESCO recognises Burgundy’s "Outstanding Universal Value" as a cultural landscape. The cultural landscape category is particularly appropriate for Burgundy because the inscription rests not only on the landscape, however beautiful it is, but also, most importantly, on our very long history. The inscription recognizes the importance of the patient chiseling of the region into small plots, and of the decision, so intelligently made, as early as the 14th century, to use only one varietal for red wines (pinot noir) and one vine for white wines (chardonnay).  It also highlights the central role played by the Cistercian monks and the Dukes of Burgundy in organising Burgundy’s viticulture as we still know it today. In a nutshell, the inscription on the World Heritage List salutes the work of man on nature to extract the most from a very unique territory, over a 2,000 year period.

With this long background in mind, I would argue that a few years extra wait before the UNESCO inscription makes no difference at all.




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