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THE 3-MINUTE INTERVIEW: Sebastien Marquet

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People,Keith St. Clair

Marquet, who grew up in France, is general manager/winemaker at Loudoun County's Doukenie Winery. October is Virginia Wine Month, and Doukenie is hosting its Harvest Festival on Saturday.

You've made wine in France, California and Virginia, but also in the Caribbean. Which island were you on, and what was the experience like?

Martinique. As we know, there is no winter in Caribbean islands, only two seasons -- the rain season and low humidity season -- with all year round the alize [wind] blowing to dry the hanging clusters. I was able to have 2.5 harvests per year, providing room for winemaking experimentation but also producing 50 tons of table grapes for the local market. Because the weather was quite humid, I learned many ways of dealing with humidity to manage the vineyard.

Virginia is exploding on the wine scene as one of the top producers in the United States and is trailing only California in terms of wine tourism. What are the challenges to making world-class wine in Virginia?

The biggest challenge is to be consistent with the quality. The weather can be a challenge, and vintages can really be different one after another. This year with a warm winter and early spring, we started picking early in the season, and the cool nights of September really made the clusters ripen slowly. That was perfect.

If a wine lover has never tried Doukenie, what would you recommend as the one wine they have to taste?

Dionysus, one of our newer wines, is 100 percent merlot from our best vines. This is a showstopper for sure -- beautiful rich color, deep fruit flavor and a complex finish.

If you found out that tonight was the last time you'd ever get to drink wine, what two bottles would you open?

The two last wines will certainly be a Doukenie Winery Cabernet Franc 2007 that I keep for a very special occasion, and also a Pommard 1er Cru "Clos des Chenes" 1989, my first wine produced in Burgundy at the Domaine Claude Cluzeaud, when I was 16 years old.

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