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La Connivence, or the art of upholding traditions

Interview with Alexandre de Malet Roquefort

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European Food: Monsieur de Malet Roquefort, you have been a wine lover since you were very young. What has motivated you to try something new with your friends Matthieu Chalmé* and Johan Micoud?

Alexandre de Malet Roquefort: The history of Château La Connivence is a history of friendship, a human adventure of 3 oenophile friends deciding not to create “a good wine” but a very good wine. As the owner of Château La Gaffelière in Saint Émilion, I naturally wanted to stay on the right bank of the Dordogne river. It took us two years before we found the parcel that suited us.

The Château La Connivence vineyard is located in the legendary Pomerol region, the smallest surface area of the Bordeaux region, but one of the biggest appellations worldwide! With its less than 1,5 ha and its soils of an extraordinary variety, the parcel seemed an obvious choice for us to develop the wine that we wished for. In 2008, we harvested our first vintage wine.

Alexandre de Malet Roquefort
At every harvest, for every vintage, we have to adapt and display creativity in order to obtain excellence. Alexandre de Malet Roquefort

European Food: You are experts from different professional backgrounds managing the production of the Grand Cru de Pomerol. What are the strengths that each of you can contribute to the success of your business?

Alexandre de Malet Roquefort: I have finally discovered a world that is quite close to my profession as a winemaker. We need each and every one to achieve our goal of adapting to our environment.

For Johan, [a former professional football player, Ed.] it’s the team, the opponent but also the playing field.... For me, it’s nature and the terroir.

Producing a great wine, vintage after vintage, or taking part in a championship amounts to a constant reassessment. At every harvest, for every vintage, we have to adapt and display creativity in order to obtain excellence.

All this is achieved with a lot of work and rigor, like Johan does in every match.

European Food: How would you describe your Grand Cru and what would be the perfect occasion for enjoying it according to you?

Alexandre de Malet Roquefort: The size of the estate and the low yield makes the Château La Connivence an exceptional cru. We favour quality, the exceptional, the top range. Only 2.500 bottles are produced for every vintage.

Our wines have very diverse characteristics, intense and dense, of a dark shade. They are both bold and subtle.

Alexandre de Malet Roquefort
Studying and respecting our environment is crucial for La Connivence. Alexandre de Malet Roquefort

European Food: What role do the respect for the terroir and the study of nature play for making a great wine?

Alexandre de Malet Roquefort: Since the terroir is so beautiful, we cannot leave the handling of the grapevine to chance. We have put in place an integrated viticulture that respects the environment and requires minimal treatment, with a moderate yield and manual harvesting, with sorting at the vine stock and the sorting table. Studying and respecting our environment is crucial for La Connivence.

European Food: According to you, what is more important for being a good winemaker nowadays – tradition or entrepreneurial innovation?

Alexandre de Malet Roquefort: Innovation is more effective when traditions are respected. For centuries, the viticultural profession has combined tradition, empiricism and technological innovations. We also have to make our wines known. It’s a comprehensive profession.

Interview: Eleytheria Heine / Credits: Alexandre de Malet Roquefort

*NB: Matthieu Chalmé is not one of the owners anymore.