Philippe Cambie was born in Pezenas in Herault,
where his mother's family owned some vineyards. He is so to speak born among the
vines of Languedoc.
His first steps in education were not aimed directly at wine. He got some
degrees from universities aimed at the food industry, Diplôme universitaire
tecnique d’industrielle alimentaire and from École nationale
supérieure de l’industrie agro alimentaire. During his
education he had some courses and jobs in the industry for instanse in the
brewery business and during the courses at the universities and these jobs he
got a deep knowledge of microbiological details in a process which in some ways
are similar to what is going on in the vinification process.
Not quite satisfied with this work he decided to change direction and went to
Montpellier and got a Diplôme d’ œnologue at the university
there. After that he had some jobs in the wine industry - big firms.
The young Philippe Cambie was a passionate rugby player at a national level and
via this sport he met many wine growers from Chateauneuf du Pape and the
surrounding area (In Chateauneuf du Pape rugby is the sport for men). He
had also been a class mate in Montpellier with a wine grower from Rasteau Gilles
Ferrand. He liked these people and got many friends. And he loved the wines from
Maybe this was deciding when he in 1998 joined the oenological laboratory in
Beaumes de Venise - part of ICV. In 2002 a section was established at the ICV
directed to private wine growers. Here was the right platform for Philippe
Cambie. He likes to have a close relation to the single producer.
In French Cambie tells
about his way of working:
”Ma philosophie et mon mode
de fonctionnement vont ensemble; tout passe par beaucoup d’échange
entre les vignerons et moi-même: quel sont leur envies, leurs
espoirs, leurs buts, leurs moyens
Nous étudions ensemble le potentiel de leur
terroir (dans le cas ou les gens ne le maîtriserais pas a 100%)
mon mode de fonctionnement change du tout au tout en fonction des
vignerons bien sur.
Je pense que mon métier est un métier d’écoute
et d’échange pour accompagner les vignerons dans leur démarche
de révélation de leur terroir.
Tous démarre a la vigne, sans grand raisins
les plus sain possible rien n’est possible, c’est pour cela
que j’ai un gros faible pour l’agriculture biologique et
qu’un grosse majorité des domaines avec qui je travaille vont
dans cette direction.
Je veux que tous
les vins soit l’expression de leur terroir. Et surtout ne se
ressemble en aucun point, leur seul ressemblance sera leur belle
English something like this:
My philosophy and my operating mode work well congruent. Everything is done under considerable exchange of views between the
producer and me, what are their desires, their hopes, their goals, their means.
Together we study the potential of their soil and if the producer doesn't agree
or understand completely he/her may take on my methods little by little.
I think that my task is a task of listening and together with the wine growers
develop the potential of his/hers possibilities.
All starts with large and healthy grapes, and they are the basis of making good
wine. Therfore my advice will be to use biological methods in the vinyards and a large majority of the
domains with which I work are moving in that direction.
I want all the wines to express the soil they come from. The wines from
different producers should not be alike, their only uniformity should be their beautiful
ago it was common that the producers blended all their yield in one cuvée.
Later years have given birth to many special cuvées. When you want to
make wines expressing the different soils (terroirs) it's natural to seek out
the potential of the different soils. Phillippe Cambie is not a "one-cuvée-man".
Would we have had the pleasure of enjoying Combe des Fous or Deux ex Machina
from Clos Saint Jean or for that matter 4 different cuvées from Isabell
Ferrando at Saint Prefert without the influence of Philippe Cambie?
About ten years ago when I was planning which domains I should visit during a
trip to Rhone. I consulted Robert Parker's (at that time) new book about the wines
of the Rhone Valley. Today I will advise anyone, take a Cambie-route.