I have lost my mentor, friend, confidant and spiritual father. I had known Gérard for 20 years. I think about what always impressed me, with Gégé, was the way he would tell or explain things.
When I was preparing for competitions, he was always sacrificing his time to help me. One day, I asked him how I should start to study all this wine from all these books. He told me “choose a country and come back and see me in two weeks”. I came back two weeks later, and I was very tired. I had tried to study Italy, and the reason was because every wine book starts with France, and after that Italy, and then Germany and Spain. All the biggest countries, and the most difficult to study. When we were finishing the discussion about what I’d done, he told me it was very good but that I should start with smaller countries, areas like New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Oregon and so on. “Start with the end of the book, it’s easier,” he said. I was quite disappointed, because he made me realise that despite all the work I did with Italy, I was not ready.
Also, I’m all about competition, like Gégé. In football, he was a supporter of St Étienne and me, Strasbourg. Every time he wanted to make me understand something about wine competitions, he gave me examples of what a football player would do.