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That Man from Champagne

Would you say the prices are kept high as a marketing strategy?

Before 1940 there was no set strategy. Now prices are kept high due to inter-personnel agreement. The growers cannot sell directly

Like most places where people drink mostly the regional wine, do the locals drink mostly champagne?

Smaller companied making champagne generally stick to it. Otherwise people have taken to red and white still wines too.

Is there any friendly rivalry between Champagne and Bordeaux like it is between Bordeaux and Burgundy?

I don't think so. After all champagne is also wine – a particular wine from our region.

Many Indian complain getting a headache with Champagne. Why?

I don't think headaches are related to champagne. Bad quality champagne may give hangover just like cheap wine can cause them. I have had plenty of good champagne at a sitting and I was always fresh the next morning.

I should add that use of Sulphur that could also cause headaches has been banned in most places, certainly in Champagne.

What do you think of Michel Gonet Champagne served at the VinExpo Launch?

I think they make pretty decent Champagne-especially the Blanc de Blanc from Chardonnay. They are a very respecteed name in their region.

Cava in Spain and sparkling wine made even by champagne houses in Australia and USA etc is much cheaper. Don't you think they offer good value for money?

You should not compare the two. They both have their own place in wine drinking. I don't mind taking some sparkling wine occasionally myself but Champagne is a class in itself, especially if one can afford it.

What is your view on champagne aging in the bottle?

While wine under right circumstances may mature and get better with age, champagne does not age in the bottle. After it is bottled and released, it should be consumed within two years. Vintage champagnes age better; they get more complex when kept vertically during second fermentation in the bottle intact with the yeast for a longer period. Of course, cork can be a limiting factor too as it does not last beyond 7-8 years.

Can champagne be an integral part of food ?

There are some people who drink different champagnes with different courses in the meal. Light champagne goes with cheese although oysters and fish are ideal accompaniments. Usually cheese does not go too well with it.

Would you recommend champagne with Indian food?

I love India food. But pepper is a problem for wine. I prefer a red with a lot of peppery food. When the food is not too spicy, one can have champagne. Heavier wines go better with food, I feel. For example slightly spicy Chateauneuf-de-Pape may go better with Indian food. Champagne may be too light for this cuisine.



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