I’ll Drink to That: Christian Seely of AXA Millésimes

Episode 351 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently. It features Christian Seely, the Managing Director of AXA Millésimes. Mostly, this is a discussion of Quinta do Noval, where Christian got his start running a property for AXA.

Christian Seely’s wine career began while spending time with his dad, James Seely, who was an author of wine books. At one point the elder Seely brought his boy along for six months of tasting research in Bordeaux, and the trip seems to have proved decisive for Christian’s own career choices. It took some time, but eventually, Christian approached someone he had met during that trip to Bordeaux, Jean-Michel Cazes, and inquired if there might be a home for him in …. drum roll, please … Portugal! You see, Jean-Michel was working with AXA at the time, and AXA had just acquired Quinta do Noval, a producer which Christian had followed closely. The meetings ended up going well, and Christian was sent off to the Douro Valley with a mandate for change in his hand. In this interview, he chronicles what happened next, which is a story of gradual discovery. A drinker of the wine goes to the source to identify and amplify the good qualities in the making and ends up still wondering about some of the more mysterious parts a couple of decades on. Can anyone say, for example, in which years the Noval Nacional will be really, really good? It turns out that maybe no one can, but Christian can give you a clear sense of why not. If you are as curious about Noval as Christian has been, this is a good interview to hear out.

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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @levi_opens_wine