Wine Art Design

Beyond Bubbles: The Essence of Champagne

Champagne is luxury, prestige, glamour, celebration, and romance, both art and science, symbol, dream and reality. Mysteries and physical properties are hidden before secrets are released with effervescence to shine and sparkle.

Champagne is a complex extract of history, geography, geology, climate, and people from a unique place concentrated into the leading world reference for sparkling wines. The intrinsic nature of Champagne before, with, and beyond the bubbles is a wine.

Champagne is made from the most expensive grapes in the world, and represents ten percent of the world’s sparkling wines. Champagne has inherent hierarchies of quality, commercial and aesthetic approaches to style, design, packaging and marketing, from everyday to special occasions based on price, style and rarity.

Beyond place: the essence of nature. Champagne balances on a tightrope risking extreme northern marginal wine growing conditions over unique chalk and limestone soils. The region has ambitious sustainable viticulture objectives.

Beyond varieties: the essence of alchemy. The three principal varieties Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are blended or made into single variety Blanc de Blancs or Blanc de Noirs Champagne styles.

Beyond style: the essence of balance. Historically based on the art of blending different vineyards, varieties and vintage, Champagne is extracted from the vineyards by growers, made from grapes into still wines then blended by cellar masters, and transformed by the second fermentation in bottle into one million magical bubbles in your glass. Champagne blends are famed for being greater than their parts. The variables are probably infinite – the proportions of varieties, crus, reserve wines, oak or stainless steel, malolactic fermentation, and maturation time. Champagne makers have to predict the future.

Beyond brut: the essence of cuvées. While non vintage represents the most popular Champagne consumed, Rosé is still growing, and Vintage offers the opportunity for exploration, education and to understand the complexity of Champagne. Prestige cuvées allow us all to dream.

Beyond regions: the essence of terroir. The Montagne de Reims expresses the rich fruit, power, elegant depth, backbone and depth of Pinot Noir. The Vallée de la Marne where Pinot Meunier reigns, offers fruity characters in a young blend or savoury characteristics with age. The Côte des Blancs gives fresh, intense and direct, mineral characters of Chardonnay when young, with the elegance, finesse and potential to age. The Côte des Bar supplies one fifth of the total production of Champagne with fruity, ripe and rich Pinot Noir additions to non-vintage blends.

Beyond origin: the essence of protection. Champagne only comes from Champagne. The Comité Champagne promotes, protects and defends the brand and image of Champagne as one appellation, to distinguish terroir, heritage, quality and reputation in the international market.

Beyond image: the essence of promotion. The Formula 1 podium and the polo, a contemporary art fair or a fashion parade, the ballet or birth of a baby, Champagne is always present. Although covering only 0.4% of the world vineyard area, over 330 million bottles of Champagne are sold each year in nearly 200 countries.

Beyond time: the essence of myths. Champagne did not discover bubbles and historically bubbles were avoided and considered a fault. Bubbles are now a timeless pleasure of Champagne. Winemaking methods and styles continue to change, with trends of low dosage, rosé and use of oak appealing to different audiences. Contemporary labels and packaging, new generations of Growers making and bottling under their own names, and single vineyard, sustainable and terroir Champagnes continue to trend.

Beyond the party: the essence of taste. With imagination and creativity, you can create the occasion to drink Champagne, any time of any day. Framed with appropriate tulip flutes or wine glasses to express and release aromas, Champagne is a modern independent wine and a perfect gastronomic partner with styles than can accompany each course throughout a meal.

Beyond other bubbles: the essence of Champagne. Champagne is the number one wine export for France, and 41% by value and 13% by volume of world consumption of sparkling wine, despite lower priced sparkling wines. Champagne is the most elegant, refined and sophisticated of all bubbles – in essence, beyond compare.


153rd Hospices de Beaune 2013 Burgundy Auction: The Princess, the Little Princes and White Butterflies

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The charitable, cultural and ethical links around the world of wine and children are reinforced by the choice of charities to benefit from the 2013 Hospices de Beaune wine auction.

The Princess of Savoie, Clotilde Courau is the President of the 153rd auction, supporting the Association Petits Princes. To help very sick children find an identity and live for the future, this charity makes a wish come true every day.

Co-President Laurent Gerra is supporting Les Papillons Blancs – White Butterflies to give social and medical assistance to children with handicaps. Both associations are delighted and grateful to receive the support from this wine auction.

Registrar of the Domaine of the Hospices de Beaune, Roland Masse, has called 2013 a “rare and precious vintage”, referring equally to the unusually challenging conditions of the growing season and the resulting rarity of volume. Masse said “2013 is a year where you have to make your choice” – another double reference to making and buying the wines. Anthony Hanson MW Senior Consultant of Christie’s, added that the vintage is “promising for both red and white wines”.

43 cuvées will be auctioned on November 17, made up of 30 red and 13 white, totalling 433 individual piéces of which there are 333 red and 111 white lots.

While some cuvées have been more severely affected and reduced in volume than others, by as much as half, the President’s Piéce this year has doubled –  a 456 litre Tonneau (a double piece) of Meursault Genevrières Premier Cru  – Cuvée Philippe Le Bon.

Roland Masse said that because the harvest was so late – one of the latest starts in the Hospices Domaine’s history on 1 October  – not all wines have finished fermentation. However, “after such strict triage there are good results from quality selection, therefore, the quality is superior to other years in terms of vinification … reflecting the respect of terroir and the product.”

Anthony Hanson was “surprised by the health of grapes I saw during vintage, despite all of the talk over previous months of rot and mildew”. The grapes that had not been damaged by hail and other events arrived into the winery in a good state. “When you taste the wines, the texture is very silky, the tannins very fine, and the wines are very pretty”.  Hanson said that you can drink these wines young, or keep. Masse added that “there are beautiful red as well as white wines, more classical in a sense with fruit, freshness and elegance of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that you can enjoy young, but with a balanced potential for ageing”.

The winery was 100% gravity fed for the first time this year.  Masse also feels that too much new oak is not especially good, therefore, he has adapted and managed the use of new oak at different stages of fermentation accordingly until the wines are all, by nature of the event, auctioned in new barrels.

Severely affected by hail, cuvées Pommard Billardet and Beaune Premier Cru Hughes et Louis Bétault were selectively and respectively blended into Cuvées Pommard Dames de la Charité and Beaune-Grèves Premier Cru Pierre Floquet. Beaune Premier Cru Cyrot-Chaudron will not be made again this year. Honestly, Roland admits that the Savigny wines are not like 2009 or 2005 great years, but they are good.

Positively, Masse emphasizes that the Pouilly Fuissé this year is a great classic and excellent standard for this cuvée, and also believes that the Cuvée Nicolas Rolin red is better than 2010 and 2012. To illustrate, Mass presented four older wines to taste that he believes represent the best that the Auction 2013 will offer – lots of optimism.

Meursault Genevriéres Philippe le Bon 2010 – The 2013 President’s Piece in 456 litre Tonneau

Pouilly Fuissé 2011 – Masse declared the 2013 is excellent

Beaune Hospitaliers 2010 – representing the spirit of the Auction

Corton Grand Cru Charlotte Dumay 2005 – which raised 270,000€ last year as the 2012 President’s Piece.




Champagne in Art – Les Arts de l’Effervescence CHAMPAGNE! Exhibition

Les Arts de l’Effervescence – CHAMPAGNE !

Musée des Beaux Arts de Reims , 14 December 2012 – 26 May 2013

As Champagne bottles are opened all over the world, 370 works of art depicting champagne have been assembled from 85 international private and public lenders in an exhibition about champagne, in Champagne.

This premier exhibition “examines the relationship of the arts with celebration, luxury and publicity” Famous names such as Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Alfred Hitchock present the history of Champagne imaginatively from the first bubbles in the 17th century to today. Themes cover a range of artistic disciplines and periods: painting, decorative arts, design, architecture, cinema, advertising and publicity, literature, music, glass and accessories.

A tour in four parts through history and styles exposes changes in fashion of how to serve, drink and enjoy Champagne. Art de vivre, cultural myths and legends show how Champagne developed the Arts through promotional appropriation, via the surreal and abstract to contemporary movements.

Part 1 Champagne and Aristocracy: From Reality to Myth

Prestigious clients for Champagne developed as aristocratic nobility married into Champagne families, from the Regent period to Marie Antoinette era at the end of the seventeenth century. Champagne became rare, expensive, and a symbol of aristocratic life reserved for the elite. Champagne portrayed luxury such as in commissions from Louis XV in 1735 for paintings by Jean-Francois de Troy and Nicolas Lancret for the Chateau of Versailles. Crystal glassware for drinking Champagne, and architecture on the Avenue de Champagne in Epernay and La Butte Saint Nicaise in Reims reflected aristocracy.

Part 2 Ivresse La Fete

Champagne was the nineteenth century symbol of party and joy, effervescence and decadence. The exhibition identifies the second Empire with images of entertainment, frivoloity, vanity and seduction, depicting festive and fashionable restaurants, cafés, concerts and cabarets in Paris. Artists and writers found new inspiration in the effervescence of Champagne. “Les Dixeuses” cabaret singers became the models for Mucha posters, creating advertising and publicity for Champagne.

Part 3 Art Nouveau and Art Deco

Modernity arrived at the end of the nineteenth century. Commercial and industrial production of Champagne was shown in spectacular fashion at the World Fairs in 1889, 1900, 1925 and 1937.

Champagne houses sought graphic brand images through artists Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre Bonnard and Mucha, and embraced the curves of Art Nouveau as an aesthetic match with bubbles.  In 1990 Henri Vasnier, Director of Champagne Pommery commissioned Emile Gallé to create a dining room in Reims with poetic symbols of grapevines.

Champagne Mercier made the first cinematic publicity in 1995 with the Lumiere brothers “Vie d’une bouteille de Champagne depuis la grape jusqu’a la coupe”. Champagne stars in Charlie Chaplin’s “A Night Out” film of 1915, and Alfred Hitchcock’s first film in 1928 was called “Champagne”. The energy of bubbles painted by Severini in“La Danse du Pan Pan” in 1922 during the Italian Futurist movement.

The movement of bubbles was also captured by photography, and access to Champagne was democratized through reproductions. Until then interest was only in the display of bubbles depicted in 18th and 19th century paintings, not on a brand.

After 1918, Reims was restored during the Art Deco era with symbolic designs in the Cathedrals and Town Hall.

Part 4 Avant Garde 20th Century Champagne

Destabilized by war and chaos, art became a metaphor of resurrection for artists. 1920s symbols were synonymous with luxury, parties and decadence.

Picasso made a series of prints in 1933 depicting Bacchus and Minotaures drinking Champagne. From 1945 Surrealist and Abstract artists incarnated Champagne as a symbol of peace, rebirth and optimism. Turning to humour for the millennium, Marteen Baas deconstructs the heritage of Champagne with a table setting reminiscent of Dali with a melting Murano glass chandelier and bottles of Champagne.

Champagne in The Great Gatsby

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There was music from my neighbor’s house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars. (Chapter 3)

Champagne flows throughout The Great Gatsby novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Champagne continues to play a role in the latest film version by Baz Lurhmann, selected to open the Cannes Film Festival 2013, starring life size bottles of Moet & Chandon.

A pair of stage twins, who turned out to be the girls in yellow, did a baby act in costume, and champagne was served in glasses bigger than finger-bowls. (Chapter 3)

Set in the post-war and pre-depression summer of 1922, champagne is portrayed as defying prohibition before the appellation AOC Champagne was created.

The Great Show

There was dancing now on the canvas in the garden … By midnight the hilarity had increased. … I was enjoying myself now. I had taken two finger-bowls of champagne, and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental, and profound. (Chapter 3)

Great Gatsby themed bars and parties and have been hosted around the world to coincide with the release of the film.

The large room was full of people. One of the girls in yellow was playing the piano, and beside her stood a tall, red-haired young lady from a famous chorus, engaged in song. She had drunk a quantity of champagne, and during the course of her song she had decided, ineptly, that everything was very, very sad — she was not only singing, she was weeping too. (Chapter 3)

The Great Growth

The title implies wealth, celebrity, magic, impression and deception. References to happy Champagne in Chapter 3 lose their sparkle towards the end of that chapter, and in Chapter 6 a flatter reference is released.

I remember the portrait of him up in Gatsby’s bedroom … It was indirectly due to Cody that Gatsby drank so little. Sometimes in the course of gay parties women used to rub champagne into his hair; for himself he formed the habit of letting liquor alone. (Chapter 6)

Playing a great role as a salacious drink during prohibition, symbolic references to illegality and imitation, social tensions and class rivalry, seduction and disillusion may appear to reflect the history of Champagne prior to the establishment of the CIVC the decade after The Great Gatsby first appeared.

He was profoundly affected by the fact that Tom was there. But he would be uneasy anyhow until he had given them something, realizing in a vague way that that was all they came for. Mr. Sloane wanted nothing. A lemonade? No, thanks. A little champagne? Nothing at all, thanks. . . . I’m sorry. (Chapter 6)

Baz Lurhman said ‘F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote some of the most poignant and beautiful passages of his extraordinary novel just a short distance away [from Cannes]”.

There were the same people, or at least the same sort of people, the same profusion of champagne, the same many-colored, many-keyed commotion, but I felt an unpleasantness in the air, a pervading harshness that hadn’t been there before. (Chapter 6)

On the red carpet again, The Great Gatsby may toast to a century of success with a coupe of legally celebrated Champagne, and with a pervading freshness that is there now, “among the whisperings … and the stars”.

152nd Hospices de Beaune 2012 Wine Auction: A Brilliant Year, Première Dame and Hôte Depardieu

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The theme of the 152nd Hospices de Beaune 2012 Burgundy Wine Auction is to help the young disadvantaged by epilepsy or access to education.

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy and the actor-vigneron Gérard Depardieu will be present to auction this year’s President’s Piéce.

Money raised from bidding on the 350 litre barrel of Corton Grand Cru “Charlotte de Dumay” will be shared between two foundations.

“Fondation Idée” is helping fight epilepsy and “Fondation Carla Bruni-Sarkozy” with the patronage of Gérard Depardieu wishes to eliminate illiteracy and encourage education, access to culture and the arts, under the motto “Knowledge is Power”.

As Anthony Hanson highlighted the importance of partership between the growers, the houses that mature the wine, and the exporters of each barrel for auction, the Carla Bruni-Sarkozy Foundation echoed this sentiment with the combined work of terroir and spirit, functioning a little like this to support education, culture and literacy.

Six piéces of Grand Cru Echezeaux Cuvée “Jean-Luc Bissey” have been donated by the fourth generation family producer from Burgundy from 10 ares of very old vines planted by their grandfather after the war at the end of the 1940’s in the heart of “Echezeaux du Dessus”. “The wine is marvellously fleshy, rich and perfumed, with finesse and elegance” said Roland Masse, delighted to receive a third Grand Cru from the Côte de Nuits to join Clos de la Roche and Mazis-Chambertin.

Masse, Director of the Hospices de Beaune vineyards, has declared Burgundy 2012 “a brilliant vintage”.

Depite every meteorological event possible experienced in Burgundy this year – snow, rain, frost, difficult flowering, hail, heat – this has created an environment for perfect concentration in the grapes, and superb wine.

2012 will win with quality over quantity with healthy, rich reds, and fresh whites, says Masse. There is disparity between quality of one vineyard to the next in the Cote de Beaune. The Cote de Nuits escaped all weather and disease pressures.

Roland Masse said that silky tannins with long finish are almost ideal, with perfect quality. Small, ripe, healthy berries give concentration and complexity.

Anthony Hanson tasted the wines for the first time with Masse in Beaune yesterday, and is very excited, comparing 2012 in Burgundy to 1961 in Bordeaux, a small havest resulting from millerandange following poor flowering, which produced perfect concentration.

The smallest harvest in 25 years, Hanson is confident not to worry if there is not so much wine available, as any amateurs passionate about Burgundy will appreciate this subtely, silky, fresh and exciting vintage.

There is a 33% reduction in barrels available for auction compared to last year.

A resurging interest from the USA and evolution of discovery, knowledge and passion from China may help balance the auction results.

85% of the Hospices wines are Grand and Premier Crus.

31 red and 13 white cuvées totalling 44, will be sold as 410 red and 111 white barrels- piéces.

Quality over quantity should encourage bidding on 18 November in the Beaune market place.

The stage is set for the 2012 Hospices Presidents First Lady and Depardieu act at the Hotel de Dieu.

Champagne Charles Heidsieck: The Great Charlie

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Champagne Charles Heidsieck Crayeres and Garden Party

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.”

“Turning a corner, I saw that it was Gatsby’s house, lit from tower to cellar.”

 F. Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby

Reims, Saturday 30 June 2012

Champagne Vignerons Vins Clairs Festival 2012 – Trait – D – Union I

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Monday 16 April 2012, Domaine Jacques Selosse, Avize

In Anselme Selosse style this was the “On”.

A note-card with tasting details, simply folded in three, with design and support to write and rest your glass on at once.

It advised:

A common appellation
Paths that cross
Villages that share
Gestures that connect and give a sense
Of wines of reference
From the same sun and different soils
Words exchanged
A moment ‘avisé’
A tasting
A hyphen. ‘Trait-d-union’

(my translation)


Une appellation commune
Des chemins qui se croisent
Des villages qui se partagent
Des gestes qui relient et qui donnent sens
A des vins référents
D’un même soleil et de sols différénts
Des mots échangés
Un moment avisé
Une dégustation

The six:

Domaine Roger Coulon, Vrigny
Isabelle and Eric Coulon

Domaine Egly-Ouriet, Ambonnay
Annick and Francis Egly

Domaine Jacquesson, Dizy
Jean-Hervé and Laurent Chiquet

Domaine La Closerie, Gueux
Agnés and Jérôme Prevost

Domaine Larmandier-Bernier, Vertus
Sophie and Pierre Larmandier

Domaine Jacques Selosse, Avize
Corinne and Anselme Selosse

Champagne Vignerons Vins Clairs Festival 2012 – Terroirs et Talents I

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Terroirs & Talents de Champagne

Sunday 15 April 2012, Epernay

The “Off” introduced another 14 growers to the Champagne vins clairs festival.

The weekend viewing showed established terroirs and exposed new talents:

Champagne Aspasie (Brouillet)
Champagne Coessens (Fouchères)
Champagne de Sousa (Avize)
Champagne Fallet-Dart (Drachy)
Champagne Philippe Gonet (le-Mesnil-sur-Oger)
Champagne Jacques Copinet (Montgenost)
Champagne Janisson Baradon et Fils (epernay)
Champagne Maurice Vesselle (Bouzy)
Champagne Maxime Blin (Trigny)
Champagne Michel Loriot (Festigny)
Champagne Penet Chardonnet (Verzy)
Champagne Sélèque (Pierry)
Champagne Serge Mathieu (avirey Lingey)
Champagne Vazart Coquart (Chouilly)








Champagne Vignerons Vins Clairs Festival 2012 – Les Artisans II

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Les Artisans de Champagne Le Salon à Reims 17 April 2012

Making its debut as a “Salon des refusés” in 2011, Les Artisans de Champagne again showed their Champagnes in a Reims annex the day after the third edition of Terres et Vin in Aÿ.

14 Artisans from Champagne each presented 3 vins clairs and 3 Champagnes.

1 guest invited from Burgundy, Nicolas Rossignol, showed a trio of vintages 2008, 2009 and 2012 from two Volnay 1er Crus Cevret and Cailleret.

Following an evening eating and drinking stars with the Artisans at L’Assiete de Champagne, the second exhibition installed this impressive avant-garde “Salon des Admis”.

Invité pour le Salon 2012

Nicolas Rossignol, Volnay

Les Artisans

Nicolas Maillart
Marc Hebrart
Gilles Lancelot
François Huré
Antoine Paillard
Jérôme Dehours
Christophe Constant
Nicolas Jaeger
Laurent Champs
Frédéric Savart
Arnaud Margaine
Julie et Xavier Gonet Medeville
Pascal Gerbais
Yannick Doyard

Champagne Vignerons Vins Clairs Festival 2012 – Terres et Vins IV

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Terres et Vins de Champagne IV 2012

Vagabondages en Coteaux Sunday 15 April

19 wines by 19 producers. Champagnes were tasted in vineyards where they grew and with the vignerons who made them, and Coteaux Rouge vins accompanied a vine-fire and candle-lit BBQ banquet in the harvesters’ building in one of the Laherte terres.

Terres et Vins IV edition of Vins Clairs 2011 & Champagne selection at Aÿ, Monday 16 April

19 producers presented 3 Vins Clairs and 3 Champagnes by each member of the inaugural group of Vins Clairs April vignerons.

Last year moustached for the anniversary of the 1911 revolt, this year like convicts in stripes:

Pascal Agrapart
Françoise Bedel
Raphaël Bérèche
Francis Boulard
Alexandre Chartogne
Vincent Couche
Pascal Doquet
Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy
Etienne Gourtorbe
Olivier Horiot
Cyril Jeaunaux
Benoït Lahaye
Aurélien Laherte
David Léclapart
Dominique Moreau
Franck Pascal
Olivier Paulet
Frabrice Pouillon
Benoït Tarlant