If Bertrand Soalhat was to have his choice of reincarnation, he would come back to his wife and son, to the business he has recently begun and to a life of wine. He is the founder, owner and one man band behind Bare Wines, a new importing company with a long history in drinks behind it. He spoke to www.joellethomson.com about what has helped him to start a new business, about leaving France at the tender age of 19 and the types of wines that make it worth getting through to Friday drinks each week.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I am fortunate that I was able to travel a lot early in my life after I left France at 19 years old. I now feel settled with my wife and son. My wife has given me the chance to do exactly what I wanted in starting a business that is my passion. That kind of opportunity doesn't show up often.
What's your favourite thing about wine?
The discovery behind every bottle. A vintage change, the influence of a winemaker or a new find. The beauty about wine is you get to keep on tasting and searching. Wines are alive, full of energy and life.
Do you have a most treasured wine?
Seriously, I treasure them all. I might have a couple of extra special bottles I'm hiding away, such as a Morgon and a Chablis…
Where and when are you at your happiest?
Usually it involves being gathered around a long table for lunch with my family and good friends. We’re eating home made dishes and have a wine lineup you could only dream of.
What do you most dislike in wine?
I really don't like wines that try to pretend to be something that they are not. Major faults and overpriced wines that can’t hold the challenge.
What is your greatest extravagance?
I have a million ideas a minute. Some are great, like starting a wine importing and distribution business, and a whole lot of ideas are just not to be mentioned…
What is your greatest regret?
I try to avoid having regrets but in saying that, leaving France early meant I’ve been far from home for a long time and missed my nieces and nephews growing up. When I went back earlier this year, they’re now the ones serving me a glass of wine.
What talent would you most like to have?
I would love to have more crafty artisan skills, like wood working.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“I’ve got an idea...”
What is your favourite meal?
It’d have to be three courses. I’d start with heirloom tomato and buratta with lots of basil. Then, give me a fresh, white fish, panfried with scampi on the side. I’m from Brittany where seafood is life. And to finish it off, a tiramisu.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing what would it be?
I’ve been told this is my fifth life, that I was previously a Chinese trader and yellow is my lucky colour. I’m pretty happy with how things are going in this life so if I was to die and be able to come back, it’d be great to come back as me once again and go back to my son and wife.