My Stainless Steel Giants
When I was a little boy, I loved walking around the wine-making cellar.
In my imagination, the enormous wine tanks transformed and became champions, guardians protectors of the wine…My Heros!
Creaking, wheezing, groaning, squealing, sweating…sometimes they even seemed to be laughing!. I watched the noisy show, as some were gushing from of their nozzles, while others were being filled up.
I grew up learning to play with my heros who live in the wine-cellars.
Each has its own name and personality to share and their attributes come alive in the wines:
Superman, Zeus, and Thor lend their power to the Cuvée Grande Reserve.
Laser, D’artagnan and Zorro transmit their intensity, tension and minerality to the Brut Silver.
Sophie Marceau, Heather Locklear and Michelle Pheiffer flirt beautifully with the Rosé.
Rocky comes out swinging to make a Dream Vintage!
As I blend to create champagne, I work to find the perfect balance of characteristics, that come from all my remarkable, dauntless heros : the Stainless Steel Giants.
Hot Chocolate & brioche
Lessons learned outside the classroom are the ones that stick with you the most…
When I was 12 years old, I left my little school in the village for the big school in the city and it was close to harvest time.
I explained to my new classmates, with their perfectly clean, shiny shoes, that back home, while the women were tasked with putting the dormitory and dining hall in order, the men were making their last little adjustments to their wine-press and trying to agree about the starting date of the harvest.
My new friends were fascinated by my lifestyle. I noticed that when I spoke about it, their eyes started to shine with longing. To them, being a winegrower meant living in the great outdoors, driving big tractors and spending endless long weekends in the countryside.
So I informed my parents, not long after, that we would have some new Harvesters coming on Saturday afternoon. I asked my parents to come pick us up with the best thing we had for transport from REIMS to BOUZY. They did not disappoint me! They showed up in front of the school in presidential procession with a 2CV, a MEHARI and a van…They even brought my grandmother’s Citroën DS!
Soon we were on our way, to the southern slopes of the Reims mountain.
When we arrived at the House, thirty minutes later, the three centuries-old porch opened its arms to us.
My mother and the kitchen women welcomed us and gave each one the traditional white apron used by master winegrowers. Having been awarded this emblem of honor and stature, we were allowed to sit at the head table. As the conversation about the harvest became heated, my classmates made sure not to miss a thing.
2pm: Sergeant Serge, former officer of the Foreign Legion, sounded our depart with the same bugle that had played for the French Colonial Army in 1953 after the bloody battle of DIEN BIEN PHU in Vietnam.
After we put on our pants and camouflage jackets and jumped into our boots, the sergeant inspected our ranks with military scrutiny. Nothing escaped his eye: A missing cup, improperly attached pruning shears…
Once he was satisfied that all our equipment was in order, he called out, “Off we go for the great adventure!”
We all climbed into the trailer like paratroopers freshly inducted to the Foreign Legion.
My new comrades in arms were thrilled and excited as we rolled along the bumpy dirt roads, the truck dangerously pitching from side to side, sometimes even getting stuck…
We arrived in front of a vineyard plot, ready to crouch down between the rows of vines and start clipping off the grape bunches.
3pm: Our troops were attacked by heavy rainfall and gusts of wind. Unable to stand our ground, our brave sergeant sounded the retreat, extracting us for a return to base.
No deaths to report, but some of us were injured and seriously soaked! First aid was administered by our nurses, who were waiting for us in the kitchen.
We were happy, warm and dry now, as we were served hot chocolate and Nutella on brioche by the fireplace.
This was my first lesson as a winegrower: Just like any great mission in life, a harvest is a succession of unforeseen events to overcome.