Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 16

Moving On

On the eve of her departure from Rouge Tomate Chelsea, Loire Valley native and
Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier talks with Jane Gladstone about economics,
biodynamic chenin and her next steps.

If God came to you and said, "I'm sorry but you've got
to go now. But you can have one last glass." What
would you drink? Green Chartreuse from the Tarragona
period, when the Chartreux were banned from France, and, if
possible, one from the 1920s or 1930s. This is probably the
most complex, exhilarating and delicious beverage one can
encounter.
If you could change one thing about the wine world,
what would it be? I would have the world pay more attention to the economic, social and ecological possibilities and
responsibilities. The organic and biodynamic movements
should not be the marginal ones.
Emmanuel Verstraeten, in his farewell-from-RougeTomate letter to you, referred to a passionate conversation about Amartya Sen, Nobel Prize winner in economics, when he first met you 11 years ago. Can you
share the gist of that conversation? When I met Manu
[Emmanuel] in our Paris office, I had no idea he had come
to fire me: The director of the Paris office hired me as a corporate sommelier without letting him know, and he did not
approve of it. But we started to chat and he asked me about
the transition from philosophy to wine, and to the business
of wine. He asked me if I knew Amartya Sen-which I did.
I had read Development as Freedom and parts of Collective
Choice and Social Welfare during my philosophy studies, and
it led me to rethink my prejudices about economics-not as a
mechanism that is structurally predetermined but as another
way of thinking about how the economy affects social happiness and human goals-economy with a purpose. Manu happened to be an avid reader of Sen, and wanted to build his
business inspired by his vision for an ethical business, positive freedom and individual capabilities. I have to say this is
probably what saved me from being fired.
One of the many things I love about the wine list at
Rouge Tomate is if there was an exceptional wine made
in Georgia or Slovenia or Croatia you had it alongside
the aged René Engel. But I also consider you an ambassador for your hometown of the Loire. What makes the
Loire so important a wine region to you? The Loire is just
the wine lover's paradise: every color, every style and every
personality of wine, with a palpable history, a charm, freshness and elegance. The region offers a fantastic diversity
of wines, at every price point, to drink now or to cellar for
decades. And visiting, you will more certainly be welcomed by

16

WINE & SPIRITS

OCTOBER 2017

the person farming and making the wines. The landscapes
are beautiful, the gastronomy unique. And because of the
price of the land, there is an extraordinary dynamic of new
producers, making the area a center for forward-thinking
farming and winemaking.
Is there a wine you never had that you would really like
to have? I am lucky to have tried a lot of the wines I would
consider benchmarks for me...but I would not say no to a
glass of Romanée-Conti made from the time the vineyards
were still pre-phylloxera.
Madonna, Jesus and Pascaline are all known simply by
their first name. Hey, when you're good, you're good.
You can kind of name your next job. So let's brainstorm
a bit. We've set up an email address where readers can
submit ideas: pascaline@pascalinelepeltier.com
Ha ha ha .... Obviously, with the examples you are naming, it
can only be rock and save the world! My brain is definitely on
fire, but I will take more wood to fan the flame! I know who I
don't want to work for or with: companies with no social nor
ecological ethos. From that, everything is possible-being a
buyer for the right global, forward-thinking organization for
whom I would design a beverage program that can impact
the way we drink and eat; writing books or producing documentaries to demystify yet illuminate the work of producing
wine and food the right way, encouraging critical thinking;
teaching and researching while collaborating with worldwide
influencers from multiple fields; supporting wine events and
organizing trips to wine regions.
Might you try your hand at making wine? I am doing a
collaboration with winemaker Nathan Kendall: chëpìka, a
wine project to rediscover the potential of organically grown
native grapes and sparkling wines in [New York's] Finger
Lakes, inspired by the original wine history of the region
(chëpìka means "root" in the Delaware [native American]
language). We did two pét-nats in 2016, a 100 percent
delaware and a 100 percent catawba, both certified organic,
with zero free sulfur and 15 parts per million total [sulfur],
with spontaneous fermentation. Barely ten percent abv and
really quaffable.
What is your idea of happiness? When you are not preoccupied-always thinking about what is next, what is not
here, what could have been done-and you are fully living the
moment. n



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - October 2017

Contents
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - Cover1
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - Cover2
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 1
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 2
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 3
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 4
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - Contents
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 6
Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - 7
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Wine & Spirits - October 2017 - Cover3
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https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/winespirits/2014fall
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