22 April 1957 – 28 March 2016
By CH’NG Poh Tiong
Part III of III
Paul Pontallier left behind 33 grapechildren between 1983 and 2016. Some of those teenagers such as Chateau Margaux 2009 and 2010, and his last vintage, the infant 2015, will live, thrive, astound and impress into the 22nd Century.
People only die if no one remembers them.
In Paul Pontallier’s case, that would be impossible because of Cloud. Paul is kept forever up there. Whenever someone searches for “Chateau Margaux” – sooner rather than later – his name pops up. People then learn of his contribution to the First Growth.
That discovery is a fitting tribute to a man who had only one full-time job in his life.
In those 33 years – 1983 to 2016 – Paul was responsible for bringing 33 grapechildren into the world.
Some of those teenagers such as 2009 and 2010, and his last vintage, the infant 2015, will live, thrive, astound and impress into the 22nd Century.
When I remember Paul, I don’t think just of his contributions to wine.
I cherish him for his friendship, points of view, outlook on life, wisdom, gentle humour, genuineness, smile, and his endearing gift to my daughter.
One time, walking back to his office after a tasting, he told that there was no television in his house for his two young children.
‘What is the effect on them?’ I asked.
‘Observing them with their classmates and other children, I notice they are less physical and “violent”. When they are on their own at home, they find ways to amuse themselves, to do things,’ Paul enlightened.
I took that to heart. It was a jewel – one of many – I picked up on the grounds of Chateau Margaux.
So, later, after my daughter was born. I cancelled the television licence and cable rental in my house.
My daughter grew up without watching any TV. True enough, as Paul had mentioned, when left on her own, she turned to her imagination.
Thanks to Paul, my daughter grew up without TV. Photographed when she was four, she is making new friends at an open-air pet market in Paris. And at Restaurant Paul Bocuse in Collonges-au-Mont-d’Or outside Lyon.
Playing with a puddle of water, picking up pencils and paper to draw, reading a book, figuring out Rubik’s Cube, making gel, collecting Pokemon cards, and asking her father to play Monopoly, Clue, chess and catch ball.
When she was younger, every weekend we would go either to the Singapore Zoological Gardens or Bird Park. The remarkable Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden too.
When truly fortunate, we meet people whose influence change our lives for the better. I am forever grateful to be able to call Paul Pontallier my friend.You may also want to read … Paul Pontallier Part II