NEW YORK - For the next in our series of Sotheby’s Wine interviews, I spoke with Frederic Rouzaud, the calm, young, unflappable, but energetic head of Champagne Louis Roederer, which first rose to fame when it created the first prestige cuvee, "Cristal," for Tsar Alexander II in 1867. He took over from his father in 2006 and, the following year, they bought Château Pichon Lalande, where they are fine-tuning improvements at this much-loved Second Growth. Other well-known properties in the group include Domaines Ott, the rosé of choice from the Hamptons to the South of France, and Ramos Pinto.
Where were you born?
Montpellier (south of France).
What was your best memory growing up?
Harvest time: with this incredible excitement of all the people involved in the vineyards. It's the peak of one year's work!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Chef d'Orchestre [Conductor].
Where/What did you study?
General administration in Paris at Dauphine University.
Who was your mentor?
Professeur Denis Dubourdieu with his great knowledge and approach to viticulture and winemaking.
What are your views on agriculture?
We (at Champagne Louis Roederer) are very active with bio/biodynamics, having nearly 40 hectares underway - we are convinced that it's a good way to build tomorrow's wine/champagne.
What instantly brings a smile to your face?
A good sense of humor and/or a good glass of Cristal Roederer.
Outside wine, what is your passion?
Contemporary art and sports (after my wife and children of course...).
What are you craving right now?
More time with my children, but maybe they have already had enough with me...
What are you reading now?
Limonov from Emmanuel Carrere.
Favorite place to vacation?
Corsica or in the Alps.
Favorite local hotel?
The Domaine Ott's guesthouse in Provence.
Favorite hotel in the world?
Park Hyatt in Tokyo : Zen, exclusive, elegant and an amazing view.
Favorite local restaurant?
L'Ambroisie in Paris, The chef is a genius who cooks with a lot of precision and purity.
Favorite city to visit?
New York and Rome. Very different but both attractive and unique.
Favorite wine/vintage from your winery?
Favorite shop to buy clothes?
Nicole Duran in Paris: very good selection.
Weston for work, Tods for leisure.
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?
It would be a dinner with family and best friends in a unique natural site like in the Calanques of Cassis or at the top of a mountain facing the Mont Blanc.
We would eat very fresh and simply cooked fish or seafood and a good veal with morels.