A Tribute to the Wine World
In the past two weeks we lost a few very important people in the wine world; Paul Pontallier of Bordeaux, Louis Latour of Burgundy and Etienne Hugel of Alsace. These are people who made an impact on the wines that we drink today. One of these people, whom I knew personally was Paul Pontallier of Chateau Margaux. He loved what he did and it showed. When visiting Chateau Margaux for the en-Primeur tastings, Paul would always take the time and effort to point out the highlights and detractors of a vintage, and describe how it helped create the Chateau Margaux of that particular vintage we were tasting. I have one very vivid memory of a time in Manhattan, when I was somewhat new to the New York wine scene and Paul Pontallier walked through the door of an important retailer. I was visiting this particular retailer who had been reluctant to give me an appointment so that I may sell wine to them. As I waited my turn to present my wines, who walked through the door, but the president of a New York importer and the famous Paul Pontallier. As he walked into the store, Paul and I made eye contact immediately, Paul did not greet the store owner first, but instead called out my name, came over to where I was waiting, we shook hands, gave each other a hug and spoke briefly. After a few minutes of speaking, he then went back to the nature of his business and greeted the owner of the store. Paul Pontallier did not know this, but he altered the way this particular retailer and others would treat me from this point forward on the Manhattan wine scene. Paul produced wines that were elegant and refined, much like himself. He was a man of eloquence and kindness, and I will miss him!