1. What is your connection with Champagne?
I was born in Reims, and lived in Aÿ, my father was chairman of Champagne Bollinger. Bollinger was created in 1829 and remains independent, family owned and managed, which is very rare in Champagne. It is also involved in Burgundy (Domaine Chanson), Loire Valley (Langlois Chateau) and Cognac (Delamain)
2. What is your view on Australian Sparkling to Champagne?
Champagne is a very unique region in the wine world. It is a vast area under vines (33,000 hectares), in a climate that remains very cold even with global warming. The region is also very well organised to make the best quality wines (viticulture and winemaking regulations). Finally, it has the possibility of making great wines every year by blending different vintages and different vineyards, so that quality is consistent – this is the reason why the best wines in Champagne come from the Houses.
Australia is still a newcomer in the sparkling wine game. A majority of Australian sparkling wine are still made using the transfer or charmat method, only a minority of sparkling winemakers follow the traditional method designed in Champagne. Finally, our climate here is very different to Champagne, even in the cooler climates. In particular, the sun is much brighter here, and fruit expression is higher than in Champagne. Australia has to define its own style of sparkling using traditional method, and should not try and copy Champagne, it will always be a very pale copy.
3. Can you tell me about a food and champagne experience which blew your mind?
A bowl of strawberries marinated with freshly cut mint leaves and a sprinkle of sugar will always be the best with a glass of Bollinger Special Cuvée.
4. Give me three words that people who know you, would use to describe you?
I do not really care much about other people’s opinion on me, so would find it difficult to answer the question.
5. What is a piece of advice you would leave your younger self?
I am not that old…
6. What is your favourite champagne? What is favourite Australian Sparkling
Bollinger (Aÿ, Champagne) and Daosa (Piccadilly Valley, Australia)
7. What is your favourite city in the world?
8. You get to share a bottle of champagne with anyone in the world, who would it be?
My darling wife.
9. It’s your last night on earth, what are you drinking?
Magnum of Bollinger La Grande Année 2002. And one should drink a bottle of Bollinger Special Cuvée every day, the world would be better for it.
10. If you were not working in wine and you had a choice of another profession (any profession!) what would it be?
I started as a lawyer in a previous life and would happily be a doctor in another life. Any profession that appreciates fine wine… and gives you the means to satisfy your interest.