The Interview – Philippe Larue

Philippe Larue in the Aviator Brasserie


Managing Director of l?Art du Vin, Philippe Larue is a true multi-national — a Frenchman, living in Scotland and travelling the world to discover new and exciting wines.

The thing I love about wine is the marriage of the region and producer. I discovered a beautiful wine Albariño, Abadia de San Campio, Rias Baixas from Northern Spain last year. It was fresh, aromatic and summery – just like the fish and seafood the serve in the region. I remember my first glass of wine when visiting a vineyard in Bordeaux every summer with my parents, but I think I was 22 or 23 before I developed a real passion.

The more I travel the more I enjoy simple things. Top quality ingredients and a good bottle of wine, ideally accompanied by some fresh fish from a barbecue. I found a beautiful village called Getaria on the edge of a small harbour with a restaurant Elkano, where they served the most delicious turbot served on the bone, straight from the barbecue outside.

I think if you have to travel, do it when it’s raining or dark. It seems wasteful to travel in sunshine. This year I hoped to have done all my travelling in time to spend July and August enjoying the Scottish summer ? but it was disastrous ? it rained all the time!

“Our current top seller is our Chenin Blanc from the Imbuko Farm in Wellington. It?s a wine that we blended and bottled ourselves in South Africa.”
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Our current top seller is our Cannonberg Chenin Blanc from the Imbuko Farm in Wellington. It?s a wine that we blended and bottled ourselves in South Africa. We launched the Cannonberg Project about seven years ago with the Faritrade Organisation and now manage it independently on a more personal level. The great thing about it is it?s ethically produced and also great value for money.

It moves me to sell a wine and help the community it came from. I actually stopped Fairtrade last year, as I prefer to raise money myself and give it directly to the farmers, or to other projects. A lot of money gets lost in Fairtrade, and I like to do different things. A few years ago we collected computers from a school in Edinburgh and shipped them directly out to the farmers in South Africa. This year we are hoping to recruit an after school teacher for one of the local villages to benefit the local kids.

My last holiday was spent in Italy in a tiny village called Montone in Umbria. I love Italian food and although I was in the middle of nowhere, the village had three great restaurants.

Filippa K is a Scandinavian designer I discovered recently and I buy their shirts and suits. They design modern clothes with a British style which is what I like ? a bit like Paul Smith who is another of my favourite designers. I tend to wear relaxed clothes ? I love jackets and jeans, but when I come to London I like to make sure I look professional will enjoy wearing a good suit.

I live on the north side of Edinburgh in a place called Trinity. It’s an old tannery with very high ceiling and I just love it! It’s very close to the water and has a great fish shop, nice gastro pubs and great restaurants… for me it’s perfect!

I never leave home without my phone ? and an umbrella. I live in Scotland!

“I think a glass of champagne, followed by a bottle of Albariño is ideal…”
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A recent passion is whisky ? at the moment my favourite is Glenfarclas – a 15 year old Malt. I think a glass of champagne, followed by glass or maybe a bottle of Albarino is ideal ? then my Scottish instinct kicks in and I think Whisky!

There’s very little to do during the Scottish winter, so I like to spend all day in the kitchen, then invite some friends round for a party. I throw good parties with lots of wine, but I don’t actually keep a great deal of wine in the house. I have found that living in Scotland, friends don’t leave until the cellars are empty!

I don?t like hiking. I love sport, particularly mountain-biking, but I really won?t go for a walk. I have recently taken up golf. I am terrible, but my coach assures me I have potential!

I feel surprisingly passionate about our new warehouse in Fife. It burned down catastrophically last year during construction. There was a huge delay moving in and we had to find a temporary one. Now we are there it is a state of the art place with wonderful facilities. My plan is to cook for the staff on Friday nights, although I have been too busy until now. I have just bought a large barbecue however, so we are hoping to have a big barbecue day.

A great day off would be spent wandering to my superb local fishmonger to buy some fish, and to spend the entire day preparing a meal for friends. I find cooking relaxing and it keeps me busy for the whole day.