Christophe Briotet is without a doubt one of the brightest young winemakers today.
At the age of 36, Briotet made history as the only winemaker to have won both White Winemaker of the Year and Red Winemaker of the Year at International Wine Challenge back to back for two consecutive years. The awards speak to his winemaking talent especially given the French native had only taken on the role as Head Winemaker at Côtes de Nuits-based Edouard Delaunay for three vintages since the historical Bourgogne estate was bought back by Laurent Delauany in 2017.
In the interview with the young talent, he shared in detail how he started as a winemaker, his tireless love for Corton, and his winemaking philosophy at Edouard Delaunay.
Q: What led you into wine?
My grandfather was the owner of a wine estate and I grew up in a family who cares about vine and wine. I did not think of becoming a winemaker, I just answered “yes” to teachers and professionals who guided me in my choices.
Q: Define what is a great wine for you.
A good wine is a wine that provides pleasure when drinking, and ultimately a wine whose bottle emptied itself too fast!
A very good wine is made with beautiful grapes, and it gives signs of great potential during the fermentation, distinguishes itself during aging. It is marvelous during its youth but also excellent 10, 20, 30, 50 years later!
Q: Who is the person in wine that you look up to or admire?
I will not name a person but a monastic order : the Cistercians. They are at the origin of most part of the vineyards we grow grapes on, as well as laying the foundation for the technics that we still use today. My dream would be, one day, to uncover a never planted terroir and put it on the wine map as they did 1,000 years ago.
Q: If you are a wine, what would be it and how would you describe it?
I would be an old, closed Bourgogne, I need time to open to others: I tend to be quiet and reserved by character, undoubtedly shy, while very calm and serene in what I do.
Q: Describe the wine style you are after at Edouard Delaunay.
Here, we make wine with great precision and purity. I try to magnify with winemaking and wine aging, the expression of the terroir where the grapes come from. I think I am not searching for a particular style. It is the wine who tells me what to do after each tasting, not the other way round!
Q: If there’s only one wine that you can drink for the rest of your life, which wine would it be?
It would be a shame to drink only one wine and to deprive ourselves of all the others! I wish I would never have to experience such a punishment! But if I have to choose… Corton! I like the volume in mouth, the silkiness of the tannins, the balance. I think that if there is only a wine that I would never been tired of, it is Corton. If I chose from Edouard Delaunay, I would pick 2018 vintage, but I doubt there would be enough stocks to last until the rest of my life!
Q: If you can drink any wines in the world, what would you like to drink?
When we close a bottle of wine, this is a whole piece of history that we lock inside: the weather of the vintage, but also the history of the men who made the wine and the time in which they lived. I hope that one day, I would have the chance to experience the emotion of tasting a wine made during the 18th or 19th century and to live again a part of the story of these men.
Q: What’s your source of happiness?
My family: my wife, Marie, and my children.
Q: What are your other interests outside of winemaking?
I am passionate by History. Wherever I go, I first look at the local History as it usually shapes Man and landscape. Naturally, I am very curious about architecture and to pictorial art. I also have a big interest for landscaping of garden and orchard.