Wine Art Design

Category: Champagne

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.

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”.

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


Les Artisans du Champagne Fête La Saint Vincent

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La Saint Vincent des Artisans du Champagne

Domaine Lancelot Pienne, Cramant, 21 janvier 2012

To celebrate Saint Vincent 2012, Les Artisans du Champagne had a party in Cramant, a prelude to the second group tasting of vins clairs in Reims in April.

Each Artisan presented a magnum ranging from non millesimé, 2004, 2002, 1998, and 1996 to 1990, then one vin clair to prevue a taste of 2011.

One wine ‘canon’ by every guest was invited to the dinner table.

The second Vins Clairs tasting by Les Artisans du Champagne, with samples of still wines from 2011 and Champagnes representing final blend styles is on 17 April 2012 in Reims.

Le Mesnil sur Oger Pierre Peters & JL Vergnon Vins Clairs & Champagne

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Vins Clairs 2011 tasting and blending Le Mesnil sur Oger 19 January 2012

Rodolphe Peters from Champagne Pierre Peters and Christophe Constant at Champagne JL Vergnon

Following Rodolphe and Christophe in August and September 2011 from trying grapes in vineyards to determine picking dates, harvest, pressings and tastings of cuvées in tank, it is exciting to taste the corresponding vins clairs nearly five months later. Still wine trials prior to blending are the final steps before bottling for second fermentation, and waiting at least a few years to see their progress again.

Conversation usually turns quickly to Burgundy each time I meet Rodolphe Peters. From the age, site and exposition of his vineyards, to the texture of his wines, there is always a comparison to the climats of Burgundy, the structure of Chablis (he calls his solera back to 1988 of reserve wines ‘le Chablis’), and the texture and taste of Puligny. Le Mesnil and Le Montrachet.

9 tanks were sampled from 4 grand cru Côte des Blancs villages Oger 100%, Avize and Cramant already blended together, and Le Mesnil sur Oger. Five vineyards from the top, middle and lower slopes of Le Mesnil express the Burgundian link. Traditionally the wines all went through malolactic fermentation, however, today depending on grape ripeness, not all do. The final three were old vines (67+ years old) , younger vines (46+ years old), and young vines picked and stored in separate tanks. The photos show Rodolphe doing a blending trial of his preferred of the three best blends he thinks will soon be the final assemblage  of “Les Chétillons” 2011.

Christophe Constant has tightened his bow to seemingly breaking point but has hit targets seemingly out of range for Le Mesnil. The first and second tailles are separated immediately from the cuvées and blended together in one tank to form the base of the Vergnon NV. The cuvées that form his philosophical suite of titles range from storage in stainless steel tanks to 100% new oak barrels. Le Mesnil sur Oger in 100% new oak, no MLF and O dosage. A lot to talk about, over his 100% Mesnil vintage Conversation.