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Portrait

Cyrille Faure, Sales Director of Tonnellerie Bernard, narrated by Stéphane Ebel

7 December 2023

One job, one passion: wine.

 

The appointment is set for late afternoon on a Tuesday in Bordeaux. For Cyrille Faure, 48, sales manager at Tonnellerie Bernard in Lignières-Sonneville, it’s a day almost like any other. Between customer meetings and wine tasting. Interview.

 

If you’re going to take the risk of talking wine with Cyrille, make sure you’ve taken out a subscription to La Revue des Vins de France and studied all wine guides from the last two decades. It’s simple: Cyrille knows his subject and has an almost perfect command of it. From North to South, East to West, from the Médoc to the Loire, via Alsatian vintages and Burgundian grape varieties, not forgetting the wines of Bordeaux, crucible of his oenological passion.

 

Wine, a destiny

Nothing predestined Cyrille for a wine career. A native of Ile-de-France, Tremblay-lès-Gonesse (renamed Tremblay-en-France in 1989) to be exact. As far back as I can remember,” says Cyrille, “I’ve always wanted to work in agriculture, on the land. In Faure’s family, we love “eating and drinking (in moderation, of course) was, and still is, sacred. That’s probably where this passion was born”. Epicurean, the adjective fits him like a glove. Although studies weren’t Cyrille’s strong point, he left Paris and enrolled at the Lycée Viticole de Beaune. It marked the beginning of a long adventure that would take Cyrille to the Gironde. This was followed by a BTS in wine and oenology, then Paris and a training course in Wine and Spirits Sales. “It’s a profession in which you produce and sell pleasure”.

 

Cellar master

When it came to his professional life, Cyrille was naturally drawn to the wine world. In the field. “I had to do something with my hands. It was an obvious choice. Cyrille put all his skills acquired during his training into practice on the winery production side. “I successively held positions as cellar master, technical manager and then operations manager”. It’s a profession that has become a passion, and one that plays an important part in Cyrille’s life. His shelves are filled with books on wine. Not a week goes by without a wine tasting. Cyrille is inexhaustible. Give him a domain name, and he’ll tell you the wines, the grape varieties, the terroir, the owners, the name of the cellar master. Tell him about a wine, and he’ll tell you its story. Ask him what a good bottle is, and he’ll tell you “an empty bottle shared with friends”.

 

From wine to barrels

In all his years of winemaking, Cyrille has seen just how important oak and barrels can be to a wine. At a time when a career change was taking shape for him, he decided to go over to another side of wine. The year was 2014. “I heard that Charlois Group was recruiting a sales manager. I also like the business aspect”. The step was taken and Cyrille joined the Nièvre-based group as sales manager for France, Austria and Germany. A new stage in his professional life. “The work is certainly different, but just as interesting, and always in contact with estates, winemakers, oenologists and cellar masters. You’re involved in making wines, in developing them. We’re dealing with top-of-the-range, renowned wines, and the products we market are in line with what winemakers are looking for: authentic and natural. This is the strength of a group like ours, and I’m delighted with this job, which allows me to combine a profession with a passion.

 

 

Questions to Cyrille Faure :

Cyrille, if someone says “wine” to you, what do you answer?

Oula…. huge question…. I could mention an estate, a château, a vintage. But I’d rather say pleasure, friendliness, gastronomy… Wine is a package deal. Every tasting is a moment of pleasure. The world of wine is full of emblematic characters. I’m going to say, however, a Château Figeac 2009. I’ll remember it for the rest of my life. And I would add that in my wildest dreams, I could see myself at the head of a Montrachet parcel. But that…

 

What do you like about wine?

So many things. I’d say wine’s four flavors: acid, bitter, sweet and sour, to which we must add a fifth flavor: Umami. The one that makes you want to eat or drink and reveals aromas, perfumes, a roundness in the palate that gives an extra soul to what you’re drinking. Wine is more than just smell or taste.

 

 

Photo © Christophe Deschanel

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