Paris | champagne blends perfectly with the radish: the agreement has been scientifically proven for decades, but for many it is a revelation thanks to the tastings connected bubbles noble launched during the pandemic.
The bottles are sent in advance with the access code to the event and tasting tips: the temperature at which to serve champagne and nibbles that go with it.
Lift the glass alone, in front of a screen is not something natural for this drink, festive, the symbol of lightness and ease, recognize the leaders of the great houses interviewed by the AFP.
But for them, these tastings unpublished are the main way to stay in touch with their customers while sales fell by up to 80 % in some segments during the confinement.
To keep all the participants scattered across France or abroad, these virtual meetings are short and entertaining.
After a day of (tele)work, if one follows to the letter the instructions of the house of Delamotte, which is celebrating its 260 years, one out two bottles and stands to the side of the computer a tray with breadsticks, a slice of smoked salmon, ham, in the county refined and … radishes.
“It is the agreement the most perfect”, says Didier Depond, president of Delamotte which anime this tasting with 28 guests.
Nor flutes, nor cups, ice cubes sometimes
He learned from Jacques Take, the famous chemist and oenologist French, now aged 93, and that began 50 years ago to explore scientifically the wine and food pairings, and the interaction of tastes in the mouth.
“Since then, I grow radishes in my garden to eat while drinking my champagne, that has all the virtues, it does not cost anything and does not grow”, says Didier Depond to the AFP.
Everyone watch what he eats, and then his glass, another topic that triggers the holy wars, in the world of champagne.
“This opens up the debate, really,” quips Didier Depond. “I’m anti-flute, anti-cutting. The old cup very flat, it was good at the beginning of the Twentieth century, but it has made little progress in the matter, fortunately. From the moment it is a tulip glass, it fits me well.”
Olivier Krug, sixth generation director of the house Krug, founded in 1843, is also a fierce anti-flute for that taste in this type of glass, it is like listening to the music in ears.
He notes, however, that he is touched by the comments of people at these tastings, which allowed him to “travel” in 27 countries with 7,000 people without leaving his studio.
“The next discovery” for these online experiences, “struck me and has changed my way of doing business. I’m going to see how to speak to broader audiences,” said to the AFP Olivier Krug who said “do not have a plane ticket booked for the first time since 30 years” of his career.
“It’s got to be fun. We speak of history, of Mrs. Pommery, architecture, wine cellars, exhibitions of contemporary art,” says Nathalie Vranken, administrator of the house Vranken-Pommery.
“When one is unhappy, confined and cut off from his family, we do not drink champagne.”
The tastings are open, therefore, for “other questions such as “is it possible to put ice in her champagne”?”
The answer is “yes, provided that it is made to do this, otherwise it rises to its acidity.”
The containment is generally raised, the return to business-they?
“This is not the word,” says Olivier Krug, which sells a lot of them in restaurants around the world that are closed.
“We’ve reopened the area on may 11, people are coming back a little bit, but we are very far from the attendance at prior to the crisis. My life has completely changed,” says Ms. Vranken, who was flying several times a week and every 10 days for routes across the atlantic.
For Didier Depond, “it is unfortunately not out of this pandemic,” and the tasting classics are not “for now”.
Same observation for Olivier Krug who hope, however, that those connected will stop of themselves.”
“It’s still against the order of nature in our business. Even in tasting techniques, there is a time in which we drink deep. As soon as we have the right to re-live this moment of sharing elegant, it will, I hope,” he concludes.