The Decanter Power List 2013

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7 Michel Rolland (18)
International consultant, 65
There are tw o types of consultant: those behind the label and those in front. Michel Rolland is emphatically in the latter camp. And if you thought his influence was beginning to wane, consider the outpouring of dismay when it was announced in March that Château Figeac, bastion of old-fashioned elegance, had engaged him as consultant. Bordeauxbased Rolland, who has 100-plus consultancies in countries as diverse as China (where he works for COFCO, see p34), India and Armenia, was unrepentant. His job is to secure promotion for Figeac from premier grand cru classé B to the coveted A tier, he said. The clichéd view is that he stamps his ‘international’ style on every wine he makes, but Rolland denies this, challenging detractors to find points of similarity in wines as diverse as Mendoza’s Clos de los Siete and Château Smith Haut Lafitte in Bordeaux’s Graves. But if there is an international style of fruit-forward, inoffensively tannic, agreeably oaked, ‘hand-crafted’ wine, Rolland would have to step forward as a prime influence.