A Photo Essay Capturing Richard Geoffroy’s (le chef de cave de Dom Pérignon) Natural Character

Written and Photographed by Liz Palmer

This photo essay is a collection of images of my interview with Richard Geoffrey, Chef de Cave, Dom Pérignon, capturing his expressions and movements.

Outside on the grounds of the Abbey

I met Richard Geoffroy at the Abbey of Hautvillers, the celestial home of Champagne, where in the 17th century the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon conducted research and experiments on the wines of Champagne.


Richard Geoffroy has been the head winemaker for over 20 years of Moët & Chandon’s Cuvée Dom Pérignon, and shows no signs of slowing down. He greets me with a warm smile, quite personable and relaxed.

Tasting

The scientist at work: focused, attention to detail and perfection – wines often mirror their maker. I was absolutely thrilled to taste with one of the world’s premier Champagne artists. I paced myself in elegant moderation.

Richard Geoffroy’s comments:

“A seamless, silky texture is what I’m looking for – I am not looking for weight or power.”

“Dom Pérignon must be vibrant and long.”

“Dom Pérignon is all about pleasure and joy!” Richard Geoffroy

“Perfectly Balanced!” Liz Palmer

@Champagnehouses

CELEBRATE WITH CHAMPAGNE – EASY TIPS ON CHOOSING CHAMPAGNE FOR YOUR WEDDING

Selecting the right effervescent is a must for your wedding as it is the first bottle to be opened ….but not all bubbly is the same! While there are many quality sparkling wines produced around the world, true Champagne only comes Champagne France!

CHAMPAGNE STYLES

• Not all Champagne is alike. There are a variety of Champagne styles available, from full to light-bodied, Vintage to Rosé, as well as various levels of sweetness. One fun way of finding out which Champagne is right for your wedding is to host a Champagne tasting party as a bridesmaids’ activity. Using half bottles is a great way to cut costs while exploring the diversity of Champagne.

• Levels of sweetness include: Brut Natural (driest of the dry);
brut (very dry); extra brut (extra dry, but sweeter than brut); sec (medium sweet); demi-sec (sweet, considered a dessert wine) and doux (very sweet, considered a dessert wine) – keep this as a guide when ordering.

• Types of Champagne include: blanc de blancs which is made entirely from the Chardonnay grape. These Champagnes are light, elegant, and refreshing. A richer style is blanc de noir which is made entirely from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes. This Champagne will have a dark gold color with the slightest tinge of pink, and finally rosé Champagne. The winemaker adds a small amount of Pinot Noir to base the wine blend.

SHOPPING ADVICE

• Having an accurate and up-to-date guest list will assist you when ordering.

• You should plan for 2 glasses of Champagne per guest.

• A bottle of Champagne fills 6 glasses (8 if the flutes are narrow).

• You don’t have to break the bank to serve Champagne at your wedding. This one-of-a-kind wine is available at a wide range of price points.

SERVING

• Champagne should be well chilled – this can be done by placing the bottle in a bucket of ice and water for 30 minutes prior to serving.

• Champagne should be poured in front of guests – part of the pleasure is seeing the bubbles froth up in the glass as it’s poured, and at the same time capturing the aromas.

• Use tall, tulip or flute glasses, which capture and promote bubbles and concentrate its aromas, while improving the experience. Saucer-type glasses should not be used as they cause the bubbles to disappear rapidly and are awkward to hold.

T I P S

• Brut is considered the classic choice.

• If you plan to use Champagne for cocktails choose extra brut Champagne.

• Rosé Champagne with its pink hue not only contributes to the romantic twist of the celebration but also stands out as a unique and memorable alternative.

• In serving a glass of champagne with the wedding cake, I recommend sweeter demi-sec champagne.

• Suggest to the venue manager that you would like to taste the Champagnes before you decide – this is a perfectly reasonable request.

MY PICK

Blanc de Blancs Champagne is a perfect wine for toasts. The name literally means “white of white,” a perfect complement to the wedding gown.

No matter what Champagne you choose, it is certain to add an air of festivity to your special day. After all, Champagne is the quintessential wine of celebration!

Liz Palmer
@Champagnehouses

Spectrum Wine’s Second Anniversary Auction Includes Krug and Cristal Champagne Brunch

Spectrum Wine Auctions’ Second Anniversary Auction will take place December 3rd & 4th at 11:00 a.m. at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong Hotel.

All registered bidders are invited to celebrate the auction with a Champagne brunch featuring pours of Krug and Cristal, which starts promptly at 11:00 a.m. The two-day event features a total of 1,631 lots of rare and collectible wines, and carries a pre-sale estimate of HK $50.4 million.

Highlights include more than 600 lots of top-shelf Burgundy including nearly 175 lots of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, as well as H. Jayer Richebourg, Domaine Méo-Camuzet, Domaine Leroy. The sale also offers several cases of First Growth Bordeaux in OWC.

Bids may be placed live in the auction room, online, by phone, in advance via fax or through Spectrum Wine’s new iPhone/iPad bidding app. Interested buyers may preview 360-degree photographs of bottles from each lot prior to the sale, and may request a complimentary catalog at spectrumwine.com.

Liz Palmer
@champagnehouses

LATEST POLL SHOWS EXTENSIVE SUPPORT FOR WINE TRUTH-IN-LABELLING

UNPRECEDENTED COALITION OF INTERNAIONAL WINE REGIONS JOINED BY NOTABLE CHEFS IN EFFORT TO PROTECT WINE PLACE NAMES.

Leaders from 15 of the World’s Premier Wine Regions gather in New York today, along with top international chefs to call on policymakers to heed growing consumer demand for wine truth-in-labelling.

Disclosed today were results from a recent poll of U.S. consumers (conducted by Public Opinion Strategies). Surprisingly, findings showed that Americans have very strong feelings about the role of location in making wine-purchasing decisions. Key findings from the poll of 1,000 U.S. wine drinkers include:

• 79 percent consider the region where a wine comes from an important factor when buying a bottle of wine;
• 75 percent report they would be less likely to buy a wine if they learned that it claimed to be from a place like Champagne, Napa Valley or Oregon, but in actuality was not;
• 84 percent think that the region a wine comes from is extremely important in determining its quality;
• 96 percent say that consumers deserve to know that the location where wine grapes are grown is accurately stated on wine labels; and
• 98 percent support establishing worldwide standards for all winemakers that would require that they accurately state the location where wine grapes are grown on wine labels.

“In over 20 years of polling, rarely have we seen such strong feelings on an issue like this,” said Rob Autry, partner of Public Opinion Strategies and the lead pollster on this project. “Consumer sentiment this strong is a clear signal that Americans care a great deal about the location a wine comes from and clearly want ready access to that information when looking at a bottle.”

Perhaps most troubling was the fact that despite broad interest in wine location from all sectors of the U.S. wine-consuming populace, when presented with two labels to compare side by side, most consumers were unable to determine the correct origin of the wine. This underscores the challenges winemakers face with current labelling laws.

“The research released today shows consumers are more focused on product origins than ever before and it isn’t just a passing concern, but one they feel extraordinarily strong about,” said Linda Reiff, executive director of Napa Valley Vintners. “When a place name is misused, a part of the identity of that distinctive wine region is lost and consumers can be misled. This poll also shows that U.S. consumers understand this and are looking for clear labelling of wine place names when they purchase wines.”

“The 15 regions gathered here today agree that great wine is made in unique places all over the world and that these unique place names must be protected. A failure to do so undermines all of these wine-growing regions and, as the research shows, runs counter to the expectations of the consumer,” said Bruno Paillard, representing the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne. “People want to know where their wines come from. The Declaration signatories have taken a global stand for truth-in-labelling and we are committed to working together to maintain and protect the integrity of wine place names.”

The poll was released by the signatories to the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin, a coalition first formed in 2005 when the initial global declaration was signed. The organization has since doubled in size, welcoming two new members – Rioja and Long Island – at this year’s meeting in New York.

In addition to the growing number of wine regions joining the campaign to protect place names, some of the world’s preeminent names in food and wine have joined hands with the coalition as well. An open letter was released today signed by chefs and sommeliers lending their support for truth in wine labelling. Signatories include Thomas Keller from Per Se and the French Laundry; Ferran Adrià from El Bulli; Daniel Boulud from Daniel; Alexandre Ferrand from Alain Ducasse; Wolfgang Puck from Wolfgang Puck Restaurants; Antoine Hernandez from Joël Robuchon; Michel Richard from Citronelle; José Andrés from Jaleo and minibar; Pontus Elofsson from Noma; Charlie Palmer from Charlie Palmer Restaurants and many others.

“We support the Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin because place names are central to understanding the foods and wines we work with every day,” says José Andrés, a James Beard Award-winning chef with restaurants in Washington, D.C.; Las Vegas and Los Angeles. “We celebrate foods and wines from all over the world every day, because they bring special elements to the table and we believe that clear labelling is central to this experience.”

“Americans care about where their food and wine are from more than ever before, so we must stand together to ensure that consumers accurately receive the location-driven products they desire,” says Chef Ken Frank of Napa Valley’s landmark restaurant, La Toque.

The coalition hopes that the clear and resounding results of consumer survey data, combined with the accelerated interest on the part of chefs and other food and wine experts and an overwhelming majority of the world’s leading wine regions now working in unison will push lawmakers and others around the globe to better protect wine place names in the U.S. and beyond.

By signing the Declaration, the 15 wine regions have collectively affirmed that geographic names are fundamental tools for consumers to identify the wines from specific wine-growing areas. In their meetings today in New York, the regions renewed their commitment to working together on the consumer education and public advocacy necessary to ensure that these names are protected and respected worldwide.

The Joint Declaration to Protect Wine Place & Origin was originally signed on July 26, 2005, and now has the support of 15 international wine regions including Champagne, France; Chianti Classico, Italy; Jerez, Spain; Long Island, New York; Napa Valley, California; Oregon state; Paso Robles, California; Porto, Portugal; Rioja, Spain; Sonoma County, California; Tokaj, Hungary; Victoria, Australia; Walla Walla Valley, Washington; Washington state; and Western Australia. These quality wine regions have come together to foster the growing global recognition that location is the most important ingredient in wine. To lend support and read the full text of the Declaration, visit www.protectplace.com

Liz Palmer
@ChampagneHouses

SEPTEMBER 1ST DEADLINE: AUSTRALIA CORKS ITS USE OF “CHAMPAGNE”

On September 1 Australia joins the global movement to support robust truth-in-labelling laws that protect consumers by requiring that wine growing place names are reserved exclusively for the regions where the wines come from.

Any bubbly produced in Australia after September 1 can no longer be labeled as “Champagne”, and will have to be called ‘sparkling wine’ or other term.

There has been a trade agreement signed between Australia and European Union which is meant to protect winegrowers around the world, and to enforce labelling laws, an initiative of the Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne, or CIVC in France.

Russia and Vietnam continue to mislabel their bottles, says a CIVC spokeperson, and more than 50 percent of sparkling wine in the US is mislabeled as champagne.

Canada has robust labeling laws and consumers have been educated and are aware they are purchasing a bottle from the Champagne region of France.

To mark this industry milestone, CIVC has created this website to count down the days and minutes until the new Australian law comes into force http://countdown.champagne.us/