Picture: Liger-Belair & Polidori
As time goes by, we realize how much the small pleasures of food matter to us. While we are so sensitive to the sophistication and nuances of champagne, we sometimes find the name "champagne" itself too associated with excessive and meaningless consumption.
Fortunately, there is an infinite world of passionate champagne producers and lovers that reconcile traditions, discovery, slow life, cooking and food pairing, friendship and genuine lightness of being. For those who want to go behind marketing, behind the labels, there is even a web magazine that two friends of ours launched recently:
"Le Web Journal du Champagne is a quarterly magazine entirely devoted to champagne and available for free on the Internet.
It aims to promote the wines, soils and producers of Champagne and to sensitize the greatest number to the diversity and unique qualities of champagne. We are two French champagne lovers and want to tell the stories of vine and wine. We aim to make you discover the vine growers and their work, to share our tastings, to explore wonderful gastronomical pairings with champagne and to honor the hotels, bars, restaurants, as well as activities in the region of Champagne or around champagne."
Le Web Journal du Champagne launched in French in June 2011 and, with its refined attention to details, it has already established itself as a guide. Claire and Julien Zika decided to share their passion and the result is both friendly and professional, quite a precious combination. When reading their comments and columns you cannot but feel desperate to discover the growers, bottles or food pairing they suggest.
Thanks to the gentle pressure of their entourage and the support of Neil Michael Dixon (from Esprit de Champagne), they have started offering an English version of their inspiring journal:
"Every three months, we will be bringing you news and commentary from the very heart of the Champagne Region. We will be inviting you on a voyage of discovery bringing you the best wine-growers and the great champagne houses, through in-depth interviews and tastings. We will be showing you what makes these particular sparkling wines the best in the world (varietals, terroirs, techniques), not forgetting an exploration of the magic of gastronomic food pairings with champagne."
In their first issue, you can learn for instance how to make champagne step by step. The journal is very didactic and keeps things simple so that experts and newcomers alike can benefit from the reading.
What's more, for those who know our love for organic and sustainable products, Claire and Julien have also dedicated quite a lot of their work to natural wines, without any stereotypical or naive approach. On the contrary, they treat and rate such champagnes with the same demanding criteria and passion.
As an example, they meet with "Francis Boulard et Fille", a small and remarkable producer of organic grapes (AB certified) using bio-dynamic principles (uncertified for now), and tell with great humanity the family story of this small House of champagne. If one were not enough, in the same issue, they give visibility to another brave and passionate organic champagne House: David Leclapart who follows strict bio-dynamic rules, receiving both Ecocert and Demeter certifications as a result.
We cannot wait for issue 3 to be translated as well given that it is nothing less than a guide to organic and bio-dynamic champagne.
If you are as passionate about champagne as we are, please let us know and send us your comments. We are preparing a surprise for you and you might want to get involved.
For now enjoy the four issues of Le Web Journal du Champagne and remember that champagne can be enjoyed everyday if you drink with true appreciation and moderation.
Jardins Florian bubbly team
TO GO FURTHER
Le Web Journal du Champagne links are very rich and relevant.
You can follow Claire and Julien on www.twitter.com/web_champagne
A very interesting approach of champagne can also be found in this fascinating book about champagne effervescence: "Voyage au Coeur d'une Bulle de Champagne" by Richard Liger-Belair and Guillaume Polidori. Our friends at Luxury Culture offer a stunning summary and pictures of this key book. You will learn among other things that there are up to 2 million bubbles in a flute! You can find a comment of the book in French in Le Figaro.
If you want to have a good laugh, do not miss the satirical article from our beloved Ed Gillespie as he criticizes the superficial world that champagne can been synonymous with: "Hypocrisy of champagne environmentalists is deceitful and distracting". You will probably find it a bit harsh and, if so, you will be happy to read Ed's answers to critics.