Rencontre avec Gautier Capuçon

Meeting with Gautier Capuçon

Posted by Armand Heitz on

Gautier Capuçon is a true ambassador of today's cello. He performs every season with the most renowned conductors and instrumentalists. Recognized worldwide for his expressive musicality, his virtuosity and the deep sound of his Matteo Goffriller cello from 1701 "The Ambassador", he is also the founder and artistic director of the Classe d'Excellence de Violoncelle of the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris. . A great lover of wines, especially Burgundy, he regularly performs at the Musique & Vin festival at Clos Vougeot.

The interview "Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Maltroie 2018"

Can you describe how you taste this Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Maltroie 2018?

It's the end of the day, around 7:45 p.m. A very pleasant moment, I sit down with this wine that I have been opening for more than twenty-four hours so that it can breathe. I enjoy it in a stemless Riedel Chardonnay glass, which I really like to use when I'm at home. It has a less ceremonial side but it is magnificent and allows you to really feel all the aromas. I am very happy to taste this Chassagne Maltroie 2018 to answer your questions.

In your opinion, what is the ideal atmosphere for drinking a good wine? And how do you usually consume it?

I have two ways of tasting. Either I have a drink in the evening when I'm at home, having dinner with my daughters or sometimes after having dinner. It's a moment for me, very pleasant, time stops in a way. I relax from the activities of the day, I find that it really allows me to appreciate a good wine. The second way, obviously the most important, is to be in good company, because it is a question of sharing, of emotions, and these emotions are increased tenfold when we share them. These are moments of great conviviality, of expression of all the senses.

Gautier Capuçon dégustation Chassagne Montrachet Maltroie 2018

A musical chord comes to mind when tasting this wine?

Immediately, what comes to me is richness, sensuality. I will stay on this immense sensuality in the mouth. I can think of two pieces that could go very well with this wine. First with Après un rêve by Fauré, which has great sensuality and delicacy. And also to Rachmaninoff's Vocalise. So there, we are in a more Slavic sensuality with Rachmaninoff obviously. But these two pieces, for different reasons, would work wonderfully with this Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Maltroie 2018.

How did your passion for music come about?

I discovered music when I was very young, I was born into a musical family. I started the cello at four and a half years old. But even before that, I saw my older sister who played the piano, my brother who played the violin. My parents were not musicians but great music lovers.

And the one for the wine?

She was born a little later, I assure you (laughs). I discovered the Bordeaux region when I was young. We always say that Burgundy comes later, for me it actually came a little later. I had quite extraordinary sponsors who introduced me to Burgundy. First of all, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, eminent pianist, and Charles Dutoit, eminent conductor. Both great musicians and great friends, whom I have known since I was twenty. They are the ones who initiated me and made me explore Burgundy little by little. Two luxury sponsors! And then the third is obviously Bernard Hervet, whom I also met many years ago.These three people made me discover wine, and continue to do so, because that's what I also love in this world, like that of music, it's that it's infinite, wonderful Like music , a wine never stops evolving, you can never know everything and I think that even the greatest connoisseur discovers each time different facets and all the multitude of riches to explore in a wine.

Gautier Capuçon photographié par Jamie Beck
Gautier Capuçon photographed by Jamie Beck

Your best tasting memory?

Pardon me, but I can't resist... (He takes a sip of Chassagne Maltroie) So, it's at the Domaine de la Romanée Conti. It was an extraordinary tasting, with Aubert de Villaine, in the holy of holies, a moment of immense magic, immense poetry, guided by the words of Aubert which illuminated the tasting. Just like with music, just like with art, with wine, you feel emotions, and it's not necessarily easy to put words to them, so when you have an expert with a heart guiding you with words, it's wonderful to be able to access this universe in an enlightened way. I love it, and I understand more and more when I do it in music, to explain, to give a few words about a work, and to highlight, that's what is magic. To be able to give access to a different world. It was a truly extraordinary tasting.

The day after a good tasting, do you prefer a glass of Meursault or a jogging?

(Laughs) Both! Jogging first, obviously, eight to ten kilometers, in the morning. Just like every morning. It is essential to clean up and get back in shape. And be able to drink Meursault!

You travel a lot with your job, it must have allowed you to discover wines and terroirs from all over the world. Which surprised you the most?

Indeed, I had the chance to discover different wines, universes, different ways of making wine, grape varieties, climates. Recently, I drank a Harlan Estate from California, Napa, with a friend in Switzerland after a concert. It was a magical moment, I had heard about this wine for a very long time and had never tasted it so I was very happy. In Australia too, with a very dear friend, I was able to taste the Chardonnay Pierro in Margaret River, a real marvel this Chardonnay. In Spain too, Ribera del Duero obviously, Vega Sicilia. In Italy, Cervaro Della Sala, Antinori, I really like that too. Here, different wines, and then champagne too, I had the chance to taste Champagne Salon a few days ago, with our friend Didier Depond, very nice tasting. Billecart-Salmon too, with Alexandre Bader, not too long ago either. And then of course Armand, whom I have known for a few years now, I am very happy to regularly taste his wines which I love, his Meursaults are extraordinary. There, I chose to taste this Chassagne Maltroie 2018, but his Meursaults are magnificent, just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Gautier Capuçon jardi Versailles par Jamie Beck
© Jamie Beck

Music and wine are often associated, we evoke the emotion they provide, the notion of sharing, harmony or drunkenness. In your opinion, are the profession of winegrower and that of musician similar?

They look absolutely alike. It is a notion of sharing as you say, it is excellence, it is above all our heritage.This link with the earth, the soil, simplicity and at the same time excellence: all this ultimately to share emotions And music is that. That's why this festival in Burgundy, Music & Wine, is so extraordinary. We highlight these strong common points. The reading of a terroir is different according to the winemaker who will bring his soul, his heart, it is the same thing in music finally. The same piece of music with a different cellist and you will have a different result. The DNA is there, but the way we shape this wine, this music, these notes, gives another flavor.

In 2014, you created a Cello Excellence Class that you have been leading every year since, transmission is something important to you?

Yes, it is essential for me. First of all, it is knowing in turn to give back what we have been able to give you since your youngest age. I was lucky to have fantastic masters, it's my turn now to be able to share my experience with people younger than me. Once again it's a question of sharing, of exchanging, there is nothing more beautiful than trying to bring to fruition a talent which sometimes needs a little help to evolve, to to open, to bloom.

Classe d'excellence de violoncelle Gautier Capuçon Fondation Vuitton
Cello Excellence Class promotion 2019-2020

How are you coping with the current period? It will be difficult for some time for the music world...

I live it very well because I am active and positive so I try to recreate, to invent projects. I made a charity record Symphony for Life for the benefit of the Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris - Hôpitaux de France, with a solidarity collective of musicians but also of artists and personalities, in particular Plantu, Franck Ferrand, Stéphane Bern, a whole troop with an energy of music and love in support of caregivers. It was a very rich adventure, which is not over by the way, the disc comes out on June 12, and we are going to do a concert at the Théâtre du Châtelet which will be broadcast on June 28 in prime time on France 5. Then a another project, which is finally to return to the sources and to go in all simplicity to meet the public, the inhabitants of France, to find this link which was very strong during confinement, this living link. Bring them music like a pilgrim, go to towns and villages with my cello. I say "solitary but united", for a sharing, an exchange, because I hope that this initiative, this dynamic momentum, will be taken up by other musicians, living music must return. We need to rediscover this sharing of culture that we missed during confinement, while respecting health rules and barrier gestures of course.

Finally, what is your most beautiful bottle opened recently?

I can't hold back from sharing with you an extraordinary bottle that we tasted in the cellars of Romanée Conti with Aubert de Villaine and Bernard Hervet: a Grand Echezeaux 1943. I let you dream.

Comments collected by Fabrice Pastre


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