Michel Rolland is to the world of wine what Mick Jagger is to the world of rock music. For this reason he visited Bodegas Lara last week to present the Rolland-Galaretta line of wines, along with wine entrepreneur Javier Galarreta. Affable, good humoured and elegantly dressed, the most esteemed oenologist on the planet recalls that, according to his 45 years of experience in 21 countries across the world, the global market eagerly awaits new products, but to be successful the line needs to offer volume as well as quality.
When Galarreta rang you about this project, you chose to work in Rioja, Ribera del Duero and Rueda, why was that?
We are making wines aimed at internationalisation. You can make good wines in many areas, and each place should aspire to make the best possible wine, but here are areas that already have an international image, and a significant volume of production. An area that wants to be visible to the rest of the world needs to have a high volume of production.
Nowadays wine is made everywhere. Is there a market for all types?
Yes there is, and it is possible to make a good wine, an acceptable wine, anywhere, but to make the jump to a quality wine you need suitable land and viticulture. After that you need to decide what wine you want to make and what will be the final price because all wines have a price ceiling. Depending on these factors, you can start the process of viticulture to produce the best wine possible in that category.
How can consumers distinguish the chaff from the grain when choosing a wine?
If you look at the markets, the 'expensive' wines represent 1% of world production; they are followed by the middle range: wines of around 20 euros with excellent quality, like the ones that we are presenting. Wine guides should help with this but the best way is the consumer's own choice, a good wine is one that you like.
The Axarquía, with its historical vine-growing past, is trying to revive the tradition. Do you have any advice?
I don't know the area but first of all they should make wines that are marketable and secondly, look for a financial backer to invest. If that happens then Malaga is a fantastic area for wines. I have not been here for years and I've seen how the airport has grown. That means that many people come here, many potential customers, so you have to make wine thinking about people.