Meet the Maker – Hilde Chevillot from Le Chat Noir
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Meet the Maker – Hilde Chevillot from Le Chat Noir

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Vintage Cellars
February 16, 2017
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From the slopes of the historic Aude Valley in France, Hilde tells us what makes French wine truly magical.

Can you describe yourself as a winemaker?

Hilde: I try to be humble and diligent – ensuring that all the work we have done in the vineyard comes to life in the wine and that we are making wine for people to enjoy.

How did you get started?

Hilde: After studying both viniculture and viticulture, I started making wine in Chateauneuf du Pape before stops in Chile and the south east of France.

What is the inspiration behind what you make?

Hilde: The vineyards! I am very passionate about reflecting in the wines the unique character of our vineyards – situated on the high slopes of the beautiful and historic Aude Valley.

Can you describe the process for us? Is there anything unique or unusual about your process?

Hilde: We pride ourselves in the south of France at having a good balance of traditional and modern techniques. We don’t jump on every new fashion or technology, nor do we stick our head in the sand. I have learnt a lot from visiting winemakers and aim to use the best of both worlds. The freshness and aromatics in our white wines due to lower fermentation temperatures was a result of an Australian winemaker’s influence.

In your opinion, what do you think makes a good wine?

Hilde: I think it is pretty simple – quality, complexity and drinkability.

How do you feel your role or work impacts the final product?

Hilde: Like a chef – you give the vision and philosophy, set the standard and coach the team through the process and then have complete responsibility for the final wine. There are no excuses, the buck stops with you.

How does your personality show through in what you do?

Hilde: Hopefully through wines that are vibrant, expressive and full of character!

What are the most enjoyable parts of what you do?

Hilde: I am like a child in a toy store during final blending – just so excited to see ‘our new babies’ – to drink and discuss them, share our passion and reflect with satisfaction all the work that went into them

What are the most difficult parts of what you do?

Hilde: As with many wine regions, the south of France has occasional late autumn storms, which can bring such devastation and despair after months of promise. Picking up the pieces is tough but it is part of nature.

Where do you see yourself and your industry headed in the next few years?

Hilde: It is an exciting time in the south of France – with recognition starting to come for the ever-increasing quality and diversity of the wines. This recognition and demand gives us the scope to continue to improve and to focus more on individual terroirs and specific varieties.

Do you have a secret you can leave with us?

Hilde: The Aude Valley is one of the world’s best kept secrets, come and visit! It’s south of the famed walled city of Carcassonne, across the Canal du Midi and alongside the historic ruins of the Cathar castles in the foothills of the Pyrenees.