In an experiment to see the pace at which today’s champagne ages under the Baltic, Veuve Clicquot has sunk a cellar of 300 bottles and 50 magnums of its wines to a depth of just over 40 metres off the coast of the privately owned island of Silverskär. The location chosen is close to where bottles were discovered in 2010 in a shipwreck on the seabed, including several identified as Veuve Clicquot dating from 1839 which had been preserved remarkably well below the deep, dark, cool Baltic waters.
In these short video clips, Veuve Clicquot head winemaker Dominique Demarville explains the idea behind sinking the cellar below the Baltic off the island of Silverskär; why this location was chosen and what the ageing experiment will involve over the next few years.
Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger doesn’t come to the UK market very often but when he does it usually makes for interesting copy. The last time I saw him for any length of time was at the Vintners’ Hall fascinating vertical tasting of Comtes de Champagne held nearly two years ago in December 2011. He was on good form again last month and gave a very amusing speech to guests at the Café Royal reception.
Earlier in the day when we talked about the market one of the most interesting things he said was that for the first time in many years Taittinger was able to buy all the grapes it wanted from the 2013 harvest. Perhaps this is the first sign that grape prices might stop rising each year, a regular increase that has effectively forced the major players to raise their prices to retailers annually for more than a decade. Pierre-Emmanuel is not alone in wanting to keep champagne affordable.
Harpers: 3 May 2013 (TBC): Veuve Clicquot President & CEO Jean Marc Lacave
Veuve Clicquot’s President and CEO Jean Marc Lacave says: “We need a relevant new message and the link between wine and gastronomy is an obvious one.” He was speaking at a special lunch in Reims to mark the launch of a new collaboration between the brand and renowned French chef Joël Robuchon. “We like the idea of matching the creativity of a great chef like Joël with that of our chef de cave, Dominique Demarville.”
An outside opinion: Michel Letter was critical of the Champenois when he arrived in the region back in 2006 saying they didn’t always seem to apply logic to the decision making process. Seven years on and he has been accepted by the Champenois as one of their own but his different background has enabled him to bring a new approach to the region and how the houses of GH Mumm and Perrier-Jouët are run.
Devoted sisters: Alexandra Pereyre de Nonancourt talks about how she and her sister Stephanie were handed the reins of the Laurent-Perrier business when her father Bernard died in 2010.
She explains that although their commitment to the business was questioned and there were rumours the company was up for sale, that was never really an option for the two sisters. They were only too aware of their father’s strong desire for them to take over at the helm working together to guide the business.