Olivier, can you tell us about your professional background?
I joined the house when I was 21 years old. I was in wine school at the time and my parents had just founded Legras et Haas. It was a no-brainer that I should join them! I love this craft, I love my region and Legras & Haas was an exciting new adventure.
I’ve heard that you choose to work with no smartphone and no computer. How do you manage that?
It’s not strictly true as I do sometimes use a computer but only for very specific tasks such as checking the weather forecast every day, organising our team’s work or writing a letter.
But it’s true that I prefer paper. It helps us to concentrate, focus and see the bigger picture. Almost never using a computer also helps us to have a better relationship with our team, to spend more time together and to communicate. Work is when our ideas are created, in the vineyards and in the cellars. When labelling the bottles first thing in the morning, for example, this hour of manual work often proves much more fruitful than a meeting.
You’re always the first to arrive and the last to leave, you could say the guardian of the temple but also the keyholder. Why do you have this ritual?
Locking up and knowing when it’s time to go home, making sure everything is in order before leaving, this is quite a meditative and very important moment in the day.
What are your passions other than champagne?
Running, I’ve always loved running and I still do. Also swimming, tennis and skiing when our agenda permits!
And do you have any less conventional interests?
20th century history. National novels that are constantly challenged by new discoveries and new documents, I find that very interesting.
Is it easy working with your brothers?
Working with family definitely isn’t for everyone. It’s not always easy to stay cool when we share our work as well as our family lives. But the important events throughout the year are beautiful moments to be shared. The harvests, the bottling, the end of year festivities especially with the flurry of orders just before Christmas time. All of these moments create a special kind of atmosphere for us.
What was your earliest champagne-related emotion?
I think it would have to be my communion. I was given a glass of champagne for the very first time. Over time, and thanks to my parents’ infleunces, I have definitely developed a love for the chardonnays of the Champagne region. I love chardonnay in all its shapes and forms, I adore the discretion of the Côte des Blancs just as much as I love the wines of the Côte de Beaune. It is a varietal that reflects its origins beautifully. Impossible to tire of it!
And your most recent champagne-related emotion?
We have just started the first tastings of the 2014 vintage. We’ll have to patient though as they won’t be released until 2023. I have a soft spot for this vintage. It’s elegant, refined and precise.
What is your favourite of the House’s champagnes?
Without a doubt Intuition, regardless of my soft spot for chardonnay. This is the wine that requires us to question ourselves the most in order to keep quality levels as high as they are, year after year. It is also the champagne that I feel best embodies the festive and relaxed image of champagne. I particularly enjoy serving it.
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