Chateau Jouvente is a family estate in the heart of the Graves, taken over in 2016 by David (the father) and Benjamin (the son). Benjamin worked in international relations administration. When his father went into viticulture by taking over Chateau Jouvente, he decided to follow him.
Why did you choose to become a winemaker?
I became a winegrower by chance, and it was mainly due to my father’s initiative. Not that I suffered it, but life is sometimes made of surprises and opportunities. My father has been a great wine lover since he was 20 years old, and especially of Bordeaux wines. He called me one day to tell me that he was going to Bordeaux to find a domain. This was something I didn’t believe in at all. I was simply happy to spend a few days away from Paris with my father. We discovered Chateau Jouvente and we could not have imagined that we would fall in love with it. Nor, as a result, change my professional life from one day to the next.
Taking over the vineyard with your father in 2016, what were your biggest difficulties?
I don’t know if we can talk about difficulties. I think that when one makes a professional reconversion it is rather a challenge and a question of learning. The luck we have at Chateau Jouvente is that we are very well surrounded. Especially by Olivier Bernadet, the technical manager of Chateau Jouvente since its creation in the early 1990s. So we were able to operate a continuity and then suggest, impose our own identity. I would say that the daily difficulties are rather the climatic hazards, the sanitary surprises, the sanitary crisis. That is to say, knowing how to manage a crisis when you can totally suffer from it. And having this resilience, this moral strength to continue to move forward. For me, this is the greatest challenge we have to face, that is to say that it tests our ability to adapt to something really structural.
What do you like best about your new job?
What I prefer in my new job is the personal contact. It is the contact with the people who accompany me every day at Chateau Jouvente, with the workers in the vineyard who do a remarkable job. And it is the human contact with the tasters, the wine lovers or simply the visitor who wants to learn more. I think that this is what contributes to having a very rich job.
What is the most important commitment for you as a winemaker?
One of the most important commitments for me as a winemaker is to produce a wine that gives pleasure. It is a wine that makes you travel, a wine that keeps you from getting bored and a wine that allows you to have good times, especially enjoyable ones. In fact, my greatest commitment is also to produce the wine we like.
What is your favorite wine?
I think I’m going to talk about one of the wines of Chateau Jouvente. It is a wine that I love very much, and for which I have a lot of emotional attachment. It is a wine that bears the name of my son. So it is the cuvée Solal. Solal was born during our first harvest in 2016. And the first day of our red harvest, it was merlot at that time. And we decided to create on this occasion a special cuvée in my son’s name. This cuvée is made in full vinification in 400l barrels, 100% new wood and 20% Petit Verdot. It is a very balanced wine, with a lot of subtlety, and a lot of fruit of course.
And in fact what I like about it is the fact that when my son Solal will be old enough to drink it, he will be able to appreciate it as much as I appreciate it today.
A wine pairing to suggest?
We could have plenty of food and wine pairings, and at Chateau Jouvente. We are used to working with restaurants and chefs and proposing wines that match what they are preparing. But for me, a very good wine, whatever it is, is a wine that can be enjoyed with other people and perhaps without anything else. For me that’s when I love to taste, I love to savor and I love to empty a good bottle of wine.