The Modest Author Who Chronicles Great French Winemakers

the modest author who chronicles great french winemakers


On a sunny April afternoon in Bordeaux city a half dozen years ago, I walked into a book festival and picked up a volume from a table. It was about the French winemaker Denis Dubourdieu. Immediately, both publisher and author politely introduced themselves from behind a counter. Hearing my accent, the author reached down to a box, and pulled out an English translation of the same book.

Berdin has interviewed winemakers from over 20 French estates. He has written 15 books in a series titled a ‘Sharing a Bottle With …’ (Autour d’une Bouteille…), published by Elytis Editions. Each contains a series of interviews between Berdin and a winemaker (or winery owner or merchant); during each meeting the writer and subject(s) share a bottle of wine that relates to the story. Three of his books have been translated into English.

During past years, Gilles has introduced me to a range of French winemakers and winery owners, including Hubert de Boüard of Château Ángelus in Saint-Émilion, Philippe Raoux of Château d’Arsac in Margaux in the Médoc, Nicolas Joly—biodynamic guru from the Loire Valley, Henri Duboscq of Château Haut-Marbuzet in Saint-Estèphe in the Médoc, Florence and Daniel Cathiard of Château Smith Haut Lafitte, and Murielle Andraud and Jean-Luc Thunevin, the original ‘garage winemakers’ on the right bank of Bordeaux…

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