NEW YORK - For the next Sotheby's Wine interview, I spoke with Jean-Charles Cazes, who has been in charge of his family's vineyards worldwide since 2006 - these include the celebrated Chateau Lynch Bages, as well as Cordeillan-Bages, Ormes de Pez and Villa Bel-Air in Bordeaux; Domaine L'Ostal Cazes in Minervois; and Domaine des Senechaux in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Where were you born?
What was your best memory growing up?
Harvest time at Lynch Bages. The overall ambiance: Festive meals with all the pickers, football games with the Portuguese and Spanish workers at the end of the day. I think the Fall is the best season. There was always lots of laughter.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I had no idea. I once dreamt of being a writer or a musician: to embrace a bohemian lifestyle.....but, I didn't have any particular talent in those fields. I woke up pretty quickly!
Outside wine, what is your passion?
Surfing. I enjoy traveling to discover to surf spots, preferably uncrowded. It is difficult these days.
Favorite place to vacation?
Favorite local hotel?
Maison Fredon. New guest rooms opened by the owner of La Tupina in Bordeaux. Very personalized rooms, designed with style and some interesting art, but most importantly very comfortable.
Favorite hotel in the world?
Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong. It's all about the service.
Favorite local restaurant?
Besides our own places [Cordeillan Bages and Café Lavinal] (of course!), it would be Le Lion d'Or in Arcins. The cuisine is traditional/bistro/Médoc specialties, at its best. The chef is also an interesting character!
Favorite restaurant in the world?
Le Petit Verdot, a small French restaurant in Paris (25 seats) run by a former Japanese sommelier. A hidden gem. Simple dishes executed with Japanese precision, and a wine list that provides great wines at very affordable prices. There are two restaurants with the same name in Paris - don't expect me to spoil the secret, but make sure to pick up the right one!
Favorite city to visit?
São Paulo - where I lived for a couple of years. Definitely an acquired taste, since it's the most unfriendly city for tourists. A real urban jungle with great vibes and so many things to see or do - easier to discover if you know people there.
Favorite wine/vintage from your winery?
Favorite wine/vintage, that is not yours?
Definitely impossible to name just one! Wine evolves over time and its different today from tomorrow... Sometimes simpler wines enjoyed at the right time, with good company are the best! Of the most well-known names, my best recent memories are bottles of Haut Bailly 1985, Clos Saint Hune 2002, Petrus 1966 and Homage à Jacques Perrin 2001.
If you can choose your perfect last supper before leaving this world, what would it be, who would it be with and what would you drink with it?
What a spooky idea!...
I would surely like to gather all my friends and family. Since it would be the last meal, I would make it a very long one, probably five dishes or more with of course no consideration at all for the next day! I would simply start with a Bollinger Grande Année with some gougères for the aperitif.
On the fish course, likely a sea bass cooked with a white butter sauce, I would serve a Meursault from Domaine Guy Roulot.
The main course would be surely a "Lièvre à la Royale", for its richness and aristocracy, of course, matched with a strong vintage of Lynch Bages like 89 or 2000. I would serve the cheeses with a white Sancerre from my friend Pascal Jolivet to bring back the good memories (and untellable stories) and, for dessert, a chocolate cake with almonds that my Portuguese grandmother used to bake. I named it the "baixinho" because of its shape - it means "low cake" in a colloquial way. It would be perfect with a vintage port from Quinta do Crasto. And after that we could all go in peace...