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Pascal Jolivet • A Self-Made Man

Pascal Jolivet – both the man and his Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume wines – is a household name in many of the top and Michelin starred restaurants in Paris.  (Jolivet also makes one of the best wines of lesser known AOC Touraine, also part of the Loire).

The two most dynamic personalities of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume are Baron Patrick de Ladoucette and Pascal Jolivet. Whereas the French aristocrat comes from an old family and is custodian to ancient terroirs including Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, Jolivet is even more remarkable in that he single-handedly created a brand where none existed before.

In every sense of the word, Pascal Jolivet is a self-made man.

He had started as a wine merchant (still is today) but went beyond representing other people’s wines to producing his own. And branding them after his own name. All in barely half a lifetime. At 61 (vintage 1957), Jolivet remains incredibly energetic, boyish in looks, and with enough hair on his head for more than three, four men.

I first met the Frenchman about 25 years ago. And wrote an article in The Wine Review (founded in 1991 but still defunct) describing how Pascal Jolivet tamed the savage Sauvignon Blanc to deliver something more complex and contoured.

A while after the article appeared, Jolivet wrote back to inform that I had inspired him to name one of his wines Sauvage. How kind and honest I thought he was. And remains till this day.

Last month, on 27 March 2019 to be exact, I visited Sancerre the second time after a long absence. Although I had been informed that Pascal would be in Provence on that day, I thought that I could at least taste his wines.

As luck would have it, 2 days before, Jolivet was passing through Singapore after visiting Jakarta. We caught up over dinner for his – and his lovely wife Maharani’s – favourite Chinese dish. Peking Duck. Although it was their first visit to Imperial Treasure Super Peking Duck Paragon, they declared it the best Peking Duck they have eaten.

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