Jean Dujardin, the epicurean

May 2021

Interview with Jean Dujardin, born and bred in Médoc

By Marielle, Editor-in-Chief

We wanted to find a way to show you just how much “”bons vivants”” love visiting the Bordeaux vineyard. And then we met Jean Dujardin. I went in thinking I’d be doing a mousy interview (it is Jean Dujardin after all!) about growing up in Gironde but came out having had a real conversation, a souvenir album, a great love for the destination and a fantastic encounter with a man who loves wine and Médoc. 

Pulpe: You and the vineyard, do you go back a long way?

J.D: We’ve always been together really: my mother’s from Lesparre, my father’s from Normandy and they got married in Médoc. I grew up in the vineyard. I soaked up the world of vine growing from my father and uncle who actually owned vines. I have family and friends there and I get together with them all the time. I love it for its peace… and social vibe!

What’s your first memory of the vineyard?

J.D: It’s a childhood feeling from when we used to go to the family home (and still do) with my brothers. Playing hide and seek in the rows of vines, finding little bunnies that I wanted to take home, the smell of winemaking too. Actually, the smell of wine, the cellar, the barrels, it’s a real Proust’s madeleine: I remember feelings more than memories.

My memories are also often connected to summer, the slanting light in Médoc, in South West France in general. Plus, having a walk in the vines means you can have some me-time and enjoy the peace and quiet. The landscape is joyful in summer and fairly sad in winter when the vine is sparse.

You travel abroad a lot, how do people see Bordeaux?

J.D: Bordeaux still has a reputation for excellence: you actually just have to put a good bottle of Bordeaux on the table and see how everyone’s faces light up. What’s funny is that foreigners don’t tend to really know where all these appellations are. Bordeaux wine is a cliché, which isn’t all bad as we need clichés. It’s a bit like the New Wave in film: people will talk about Godard and Chabrol. Bordeaux wine’s the same, it’s like Edith Piaf in America. The Australian and Californian wine market may be going for it but the image still stands: plus there are some wines that get your mouth watering!

To you, the vineyard is never without…

J.D: First and foremost, my childhood memories: when you get close to Montalivet, the scent of pine trees makes me want to lay down in the dunes, recapture that amazing light and my traditions like having a Judici ice cream in Soulac.

It’s never without my brothers or friends, there’s more and more of them here, and the kids of course! Obviously my family. I can’t live without lengthy meals that are far too heavy for August. No, lamb and bean stew shouldn’t happen when it’s 35 degrees!

I love going to Soulac market to pick up some good fish and cook it on the plancha, it’s far healthier but I know not everyone agrees. When I come here, I try saying we should eat “”lighter”” meals. It’s never without huge rib steaks on burning vine leaves: smells are the essence of memories.

No trip here would be complete without visiting the butcher who sells his produce in a village of 900 people, I firmly believe his pâté is the best in the world. I went to the South East more often for a while but I naturally came back here, it’s a home from home.

And I love going to Bordeaux, I’ve often been there for previews so I can soak up the city and great places like the Intercontinental and its fabulous rooftop. Plus, it’s right next to a little bar. You know it? La Calle Ocho? It’s been my regular haunt, I even sweep up at closing time!

Last but not least, surfing: it ties into my film Brice de Nice which was shot in Hossegor among other locations. I only surf in groups: it’s far more fun watching other people fall off and not being the only one riding the waves.

Which Bordeaux wine would you recommend to special agent OSS 117?

J.D: A Mouton Rothschild, that would suit Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath, don’t you think? I actually met Camille Rothschild at Les vendanges du 7ème art film festival in Pauillac and she asked me to bring my family for a spot of grape picking in September. I used to pick grapes at my uncle’s when I was younger. We’d spend the day there, we’d all eat together with the seasonal workers, friends of the family, the atmosphere was amazing. The harvests are actually an incredible ancient custom: no matter your age, grape picking takes you back in time and back to basics. You’ll always need two hands, shears and a little basket. There’s still a lot of humanity that goes into winemaking which I find touching and fascinating. It’s noble because it’s honest.

When you get together to eat whilst grape picking, an unlabelled bottle of wine always appears on the table and you always say: my goodness that’s good wine, what is it? And the mystery continues…

I must admit I’m no wine connoisseur, I know as much as the next person in that I can tell when a bottle of wine is very poor or very good. When it goes down fast, it means it’s a very good wine.

Treetop tasting or yoga tasting?

J.D: Once again, it’s all about my memories and how I feel: I like simply tastings in very hot weather. When you step into a cellar and feel the cool air, you can listen to someone telling you about the vine and wine for hours. I’m a man of simple pleasures: I’m a good student when I have a glass in my hand.

And I love the idea of a treetop tasting! My name is Dujardin, meaning from the garden, so that seems natural.

……………. continued HERE!


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