“The man maketh the wine and the wine maketh the man”
Last year I had the absolute pleasure of meeting and photographing the amazing Jacques Lardiere. He had just retired from 42 years as winemaker with Louis Jadot and we had been invited to taste some of his wonderful wines.
I was on the first GC road trip (grandcrue.com) with fellow members Finkus Bripp GC and Vincent Brundlmayer GC of the superb Austrian winery. We had spent a week in Burgundy meeting various winemakers, owners and people from the area. This was our last day and what better than to be visiting Louis Jadot.
Not knowing really what to expect, we all waited expectantly in the splendid lobby of the winery for Mr Lardiere to make an appearance. When he arrived and began the tour of the winery I soon realised I was in the presence of one of THE GREAT wine characters of all time.
His personality exploded with genuine animation and we were all absolutely spellbound by the pure excitement of this man as he talked about wine, his extraordinary life, his family, his friends, tastings he had participated in, and places he had visited. Every second in his company was joyful!
As we began the tasting, I explained, that I was there as a photographer and, regrettably, I would not therefore be tasting the wines with the others, but hopefully would try one or two at the end of the tour. (Mad as this might seem to all you wine buffs out there I need to take pictures for my living.) With a twinkle in his eye, Jacques just nodded and said “There may be one or two that you should try though, I’ll let you know when we open them” To this I agreed.
The tasting began and I could see on the faces of my fellow GC members that there were some top dollar wines seeing the light of day. After about five bottles, Jacques turned to me and said sympathetically, “This one you may want to try, in fact you really should have a couple of glasses” Finkus later whispered to me that’ it was one of the greats’.
Jacques Lardiere as a photographic subject was phenomenal to work with. As he talked with his semi Beethoven/Einstein wavy mop of fantastic grey hair and his constantly moving hands and sparkling, expressive eyes, I just focussed and photographed, realising that this man’s personality was as good as the best wine you could drink.
At the end of the tasting I noticed this great light outside. There was a storm brewing and it was that special Spring light when the sun is drifting behind a big rain cloud. For about twenty minutes there was a magical glow in the air. I quickly asked Jacques to stand in front of me. I took a reading from the sky and set my strobe to manual. Then I just talked with the man. These are a few of the images I got. He needed no directing: his reactions to my questions were enough.
I hope you enjoy these photos.
P.S. The wines I tasted were damn good