Photo: Consultant Pascal Madevon
Pascal Madevon had not made white wines for about 20 years when he joined
Culmina Family Estate Winery in 2013. There, in addition to several excellent reds,
he began making acclaimed whites from Chardonnay, Riesling and Grüner
recent release from Culmina is the Dilemma 2014, a very elegant Chardonnay
which is reviewed below.
All of this
white winemaking speaks well for Pascal’s latest career move. He has just
launched Pascal Madevon Signature Ltd., a wine consultancy, with Culmina as his
His news release says that
the consultancy will advise Canadian wineries regarding terroir, vineyard
management, winemaking, and the marketing of red, white, and rosé wines.
"The potential, the
spirit of a wine emerges from its terroir, but there is also an important human
element that drives a wine's final creation," Pascal said in the release.
"I am eager to work with passionate proprietors and winemakers who, like
me, are looking to unleash the true signature of each and every wine."
Trained in France, Pascal
came to the Okanagan in 2001 as the initial winemaker for Osoyoos Larose
Winery. He was impressed by the quality of the grapes the terroir produces, so
much so that he has become a Canadian citizen, underlining his commitment to
“I am very surprised by the quality
of the wine here because it is a very young industry,” he told me in 2003. “If
I compare it to the Médoc, except for the classified growths, there is very nice wine here.”
Before Groupe Taillan (owner of
Osoyoos Larose) sent Pascal to Canada in 2001, he briefly managed Château La
Tour-Carnet [a fourth growth]. Before
that, he spent 11 years at Château La Tour-Blanche, a cru bourgeois of Médoc. Before that, he worked at
Château Laffitte-Carcasset in Saint-Estèphe.
He was born in Paris in 1963. He
decided to take up studies in agriculture after specializing in mathematics in
“I like to be outside, I like nature,”
Pascal once told me in an interview. “That’s why I chose agriculture. And I
chose wine because my grandfather had a very small vineyard in Burgundy, in
Aloxe-Corton. From that, it was the beginning. I studied in Bordeaux. I am a
technician in viticulture and enology, and a graduate in enology from Bordeaux.
It was important for me to do viticulture to understand all the system. When
you are only an enologist, you know only enology. I wanted to know everything
When he was studying, many of his classmates
were the sons of winegrowers. “Me, I am a Parisian, I knew nothing,” he said. “I
didn’t even know how to drive a tractor. Now, I never go on a tractor – but I
know how it works. My advantage is to know everything. That is important.”
He also found time to write two
books. One is a hardcover called Le Livre
du Vin. The other, Les Vins de France,
is a paperback, of which 25,000 copies were sold.
Pascal’s attention to detail has
always been remarkable. The entire Osoyoos Larose vineyard, about 70 acres, was
laid out on his computer in small blocks that reflected the soils and the
productivity of the vines. The image looked much like a crossword puzzle.
He also made it a practice to take
photographs regularly in the vineyard, not only to monitor its progress over
the season but to compare the vineyard from year to year.
When he took over the vineyard at
Culmina, it was already laid out in computerized detail. It may be one of the
most technical vineyards in the Okanagan.
And there is no doubt of his
winemaking ability. Here is a note on the Culmina release.
Culmina Dilemma 2014 ($34). This is an elegant and restrained Chardonnay. It beings with
aromas of citrus. On the palate, the fruit flavours are pristine, with notes of
lemon and orange framed by subtle toasty oak. There is a hint of spice on the
finish. The texture is rich with fresh acidity to give the wine ability to age.