On the screen, two new films and his very first vintages produced entirely in his Luberon vineyard. The cult director opens the doors of Mas des Infermières to us.
As usual, Ridley Scott juggles with films being written, scouting for upcoming sets, filming in progress and theatrical releases. For the director of Alien, Blade Runner or Thelma and Louise, who released two films this fall, The Last Duel and House of Gucci, the winning recipe is always the same: good writers, good writers, good actors and fantastic scenery. For its Oppède vineyard, in Provence, acquired thirty years ago, it’s roughly the same story: you need good terroirs, winegrowers, grapes, cellars and vats. Since last summer, everything is finally in place. The vineyard, cultivated according to organic principles and planted with Syrah, Grenache, Carignan, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Vermentino and Roussane, has grown from 10 to 30 hectares. Its two cuvées in red and rosé, Chevalier and Source, with a silky, voluptuous, balanced, fresh and tense profile, sell for 70,000 bottles (target of 200,000 within three years) sold for 15 euros, barely more expensive than a cinema chair. Ridley Scott is remaking the film for us …
How did your love affair begin with the Luberon and the Mas des Infermières?
My attraction to Provence was born after ten drizzly summers in the Cotswolds, England. Although spectacularly beautiful, it rains frequently and it is often cloudy. I decided to seek the sun in France to relax and paint. I ended up finding the Mas des Infermières. I fell in love with this jewel in a modest vineyard straight away.
What was your idea of a vineyard in Provence?
I was too busy with my job to consider working as a full-time winegrower. Initially, it was a local cellar that harvested and vinified my grapes. But I immediately designed the label for the bottles (Ridley Scott graduated from the Royal College of Art in London, note). The red wine made from syrah quickly turned out to be quite surprising. This reinforced my idea of one day building my own facilities, vat room and cellar. We finished construction in September. The terroir of Mas des Infermières is quite special and I have since realized how lucky I was to make a purchase.
How long do you spend at Mas des Infermières?
Not as much as I would like. Either way, extended vacations are not my style. But when I’m there, I write a little, I read a lot, I reflect and I rest in this “sun cave” that is Provence, so joyful, so pleasant. And where there is always something to do or visit.
Which wines do you like?
During my shoots in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Italy, the United States, I tasted many wines. In France, I like Bordeaux, Aloxe-Corton in Burgundy, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas. Luberon wines have improved a lot. Our red was distinguished by a gold medal at the Concours Général Agricole de Paris in 2012 and 2016.
Does making a wine have anything in common with making a film?
I am often asked this and, of course, it is not! Even if the two professions are full of constraints and challenges. Cinema remains my passion – I am already preparing my next film which will be shot in Malta and the UK. The wine comes right after … The cold snap of last winter was right about 40% of the harvest. That’s life !