Champagne Love Stories - Happy Valentine's Day 2021!

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On this day celebrating love, I thought you'd enjoy hearing some Champagne-born love stories. 

Champagne & Love Stories

Throughout the years, the Champagne region has been shaped by marriages. In addition to bringing lovers together, these marriages joined families and built holdings of land, vineyards and wealth. Sadly, some of these marriages met a tragic end with champagne house owners being amonst the many men killed in WW1 and WW2. 

Many women then had to step into their late husband's shoes and take over the business. These widows became globally famous as pioneers of their industry.

Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin (Veuve Clicquot) created the first vintage champagne, the first rosé champagne, and also invented the riddling table process – she was quite the visionary. Louise Pommery invented the first brut champagne, at a time when most Champagnes were excessively sweetened with sugar. Lily Bollinger expanded the production of the house by buying more vineyards, but is better known for travelling the world to promote the Bollinger brand, leaving noteworthy articles and quotes behind her.

"I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty."
Lily Bollinger


Contemporary Love Stories

Some Champagne love stories do have a happy ending. Today, some of the best grower champagne producers are couples! Here are a few of my favourite couple-led houses. 

La Rogerie

Founded in 2016, this boutique champagne house (0.6ha) located at the heart of the Côte des Blancs is run by Francois Petit and Justine Boxler. This young couple both come from a family of vignerons, as Francois’ family bought vineyards in Avize in the 1940s.

This house is a real gem, with a simple, pure approach to life and winemaking and a focus on maintaining biodiversity. Their 2 cuvées are a magnificent expression of Chardonnay; the first one (with only 503 bottles produced last year) is called ‘La Grande Vie’ which translates into ‘The Great Life’. All bottles are designed by a local artist – and they are hot! Check out image below. Their second bottle, a 2008 vintage called ‘Heroine’, aged for 96 months.

With their beautiful packaging and high-quality champagne, this is couple goals material right here.

R. Pouillon

Working in the grand cru of Aÿ, Fabrice Pouillon is crafting articulate, expressive, terroir-driven wines. But not without the help of his beloved partner, Bénédicte, who quit her corporate career to work alongside Fabrice in the vineyards.

Dedicated to the vitality of their vines, Fabrice and Bénédicte started the conversion to organic viticulture back in 2003 and incorporate biodynamic principles into their winemaking.

Last year, Fabrice and Bénédicte came over for an Australian Tour, visiting the Emperor Club members in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne. These events were great successes. Our club members were astonished by the quality of the R. Pouillon wines, and so were we! Another fabulous couple to keep an eye on!

Petit & Bajan

Richard Petit and Véronique Bajan met in 1992 and married five years later. Whilst Richard’s family roots in Avize go back centuries, Véronique’s family owns vineyards in Verzenay, grand cru land in the Montagne de Reims. The union of two grand crus, a perfect marriage you may say?

Realising the opportunity, Richard and Véronique decided to start producing their wines onsite at Richard’s family vineyards in Avize. With Richard’s winemaking knowledge and Véronique expert tasting, this union was destined for success. Just like their neighbour Anselme Selosse, Petit & Bajan harvest perfectly ripe grapes and focus on the small, yet important, details. Every step of the process is essential to them.

The result? Bold and elegant champagnes setting the bar high for Grand Cru Champagne in the Côte des Blancs region. The Emperor team loved their champagne so much that they decided to include it in this month's Club. Two grand cru champions!


Maud Piovesan

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