ROBB REPORT – MAY 2015

DIDIER LE CALVEZ : A CONVERSATION WITH THE HOTELIER, VINTNER, AND TRUFLE FARMER.

Robb_Report_portraitDidier Le Calvez’s storied hospitality career has taken him from the Plaza and Pierre hotels in Manhattan to the Shangri-La in Hong-Kong and the Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris. Most recently he guided the restoration of the legendary Le Bristol Paris for the Oetker Collection, for which he now serves as senior vice president of operations, sales and marketing. Le Calvez and his wife, Olivia, also own a thriving vineyard in Bordeaux, a nearby truffle farm, and two boutique hotels on Ile de Ré, where he grew up. The multifaceted Frenchman took a break from his active schedule – which includes raising three young children – to discuss his passion for the French countryside and a few of his favorite city hotels. – JILL NEWMAN.

 

What motivated you to acquire Château Clarisse ?

It was a lifelong project and challenge that I wanted to take in my life. I’ve experienced the vineyard environment since childhood, as my grandmother had a house near Château Bouscaut, close to Bordeaux. The desire to acquire my own estate grew even further when I worked in California in the early 1980s. I was fascinated by the Californian wine producesrs’ enthusiasm, such as Rbert Mondavi, Warren Winiarski, Mike Grgich, and more recently Ann Colgin. My wife and I acquired the Chateau Clarisse vineyard in 2009. Today, our vineyard covers 14.5 hectares and is planted with 80 percent Merlot and 20 percent Cabernet Franc. We produce about 50,000 bottles annually, including our Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux wine.

What do you enjoy about the winemaking process ?

What really interests me is creating a certain style of wine, indeed crafting a product – wine – that emanates from and reflects the terroir. Vineyards are constantly evolving and improving over time. That’s what I love about vine growing and winemaking. It is a permanent challenge that requires us to be in constant touch with nature.

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