Baudouin grew up in the vineyards of Champagne. The five-hour French family lunch on Sunday is where he discovered fine wines at a young age. He spent years in Bordeaux learning about wine before traveling extensively around the world to calibrate his palate. For Baudouin, wine is the culmination of all things natural and good in the world. Tasting wine is never finished: there is always more to explore and learn.
What’s your favorite memory from growing up in the Champagne vineyards?
Champagne was the first beverage I had when I was a baby, after water and milk. I always feel the limestone of my homeland on my palate! I cherish the many sunrises I have seen over the region’s magical vineyards.
How did you get into wine and why did you want to pursue a career in it?
I was born into the world of wine. The first step was to study and improve my wine knowledge. I went to Bordeaux to explore and meet people dedicating their lives to making the best wine. I worked at Château Coutet in Barsac for a year. My mentor there, Philippe Baly, the owner, gave me his passion for wine. From there, I was absolutely certain about my future.
Favorite champagne cuvée and what’s the pairing?
Larmandier Bernier, Terre de Vertus Brut Nature. It’s full of expression, has amazing tension, aromas of green apple, lemon zest, pastry cream and oyster shell. Pair it with a truffle cheese from a local farmer.
You’re having a five-hour French family Sunday lunch. What wine do you bring?
We have a tradition to always bring a mystery bottle to dinner so we can guess what it is. I remember one day, I had a wine that was brownish-red in color, with a lot of moss, dead leaves and an earthy nose. It was my great grandmother who brought it, a 1985 Pommard from Domaine Clos des Épeneaux, a vintage I will always remember. My palate was in Bordeaux for four years, but my family wine memories are definitely rooted in Burgundy.
If you had to choose a wine that defines you, what would it be and why?
I would say a blend, because I’m a multitasker. Blended wines are found mostly in the western part of France. I really like the Graves appellation and I’m in love with Château Haut-Brion. It’s well-known and pricey, but great quality. For me, it’s a symbol of perfection, which is something I strive for daily. Like Haut-Brion, I aim to be balanced and subtle but energetic.
If you could change one thing about the evolution of the wine world right now, what would it be?
The world of wine is too shy. I would get rid of the stuffy old habits and take more advantage of technology. My opinion is that older generations are keeping the wine market down because of their unfashionable views.
When you’re not hosting experiences on VIVANT, what are you up to in your free time?
I love sports, mostly riding horses and running in the vineyards. That’s how I escape from routine. I also volunteer with charity organizations, something I started doing after traveling in the Philippines for a few months working with orphanages.
What’s your best advice to learn how to taste wine and develop your palate?
Practice, practice, practice. The more you taste the more you will improve. And travel—to smell, to feel, to perceive. This is how you build your wine personality and skills. And of course, you can taste, learn and enjoy with us on VIVANT. I’d be happy to see you in an experience and walk you through our Interactive Tasting Method.
If you could share a glass of wine with one person, who would it be, what would you drink and where?
With my father, after a long horse ride, with a Blanc de Blancs champagne from the nearest plot of Chardonnay.
Follow Baudouin to see his favorite wines and save your spot in one of his upcoming Live Experiences.