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Bubbles Festival in Reims - Les Crayères

Prestige tasting

Prestige tasting Reims

Bubbles Festival in Reims

Les Crayères – October 1st, 2012

For the fourth consecutive year, SommelierS International celebrated the Champagne, on October 1st in Reims, proposing a luxurious palette of nearly 220 wines from 110 Houses to the professional papillae of the 56 sommeliers who came to participate in this Prestige Tasting.

voir la video de la degustation / voir les autres vidéos de la degustation

A wonderful green setting

Victim—if one can say—of its own success, the now traditional Champagne tasting organized each October by SommelierS International this year received more requests for participation than ever. Finding a place that could accommodate with panache such an attendance became necessary. Therefore the Relais & Châteaux Les Crayères, mythical property in the heart of Reims, was the site to highligh these exceptional wines. This legendary castle is nestled in a 7-hectare park which opens perspectives on some of the most beautiful monuments of the city around. As soon as you cross the threshold, a feeling of intimate sophistication envelops you in an atmosphere of rarity and elegance. Formerly the family Polignac’s home, today owned by the Gardinier family, entirely restored by interior architect Pierre-Yves Rochon, this splendid residence revives and modernizes its distinctive “château” class from every perspective in a refined, delicate and subtle spirit.

Prominent tasters

Gérard Basset specially came from England and Philippe Faure-Brac from Paris. These two World’s Best Sommeliers shared the presidency of this day set under the sign of conviviality with Yves Chapier, Association des Sommeliers de Champagne-Ardenne’s President, who orchestrated the talents of the 56 pro­fessionals of the wine world. He was supported by his Vice-President Jean-Pierre Hubaille and Michel Smolarek, president of the Association des Somme­liers de Bourgogne. Divided into 10 tables, the tasters had a lot to do.
Helped by all his team and seconded by his assistant Cédric Pilot, Philippe Jamesse, Head Sommelier of the Crayères, superbly managed the stewardship of this tasting throughout the event.

Active partners

The Verrerie de la Marne, real institution in Reims for over 40 years, both Master glassmaker and industrial designer, has also contributed to the success of the day by kindly providing superb bowls and the flutes Premium of the range Référence, produced respecting the finest glassmaking traditions, using the blown-glass technique. Their piqué is shaped in such a manner as to ensure a long, precise and elegant effervescence for Champagne as well as a precise rotary departure point for white and red wines. The glasses close up slowly and tightly following this round line thus leaving the aromatic elements enough time to arrange themselves in a suitable manner. Their sparkle and transparency perfectly showcase all the different features of still and sparkling wines. This series of glasses has been developed working very closely with Philippe Jamesse who has made full use of his long experience of observing and learning about the world of wine to design this sophisticated, light and slender line.
Hervé Lelarge, Champagne regional manager of the company DIAM Bouchage, had come to present the range MYTIC, specially designed for sparkling wines. He explained that “Yes, cork without cork taint is possible!”. Because the cork is approved by a large majority of consumers, the absence of sensory risk is a major subject that absolutely must be solved. DIAM fully succeeded in eliminating unwanted particles naturally present in the cork and then purifying the obtained fine cork according to an innovative and environment-friendly patented process, offering a solution for custom-made corking adapted to the needs of each wine. MYTIC is made of purified and homogeneous cork; it respects the freshness and richness of wine aromas and their evolution.

Exceptional wines

Both small and big—even very big—Champagne Houses had quite complied with the theme of the tasting by proposing two cuvees: a vintage and a cuvee of their choice. Blanc de blancs, blanc de noirs, 100% Chardonnay, 100% Pinot Meunier, Rosé, Premier Cru or Grand Cru; vintages from 1995 to 2008, all elaborated with passion, delighted the tasters' palate, reserving them very nice surprises and discoveries full of emotion. The Bas Armagnac Dartigalongue 25 ans d’âge majestically closed this studious morning, full of effervescence and pleasure.

A warm aperitif

After the intense concentration they had shown for several hours, the sommeliers came to join, for a relaxed aperitif in the bar La Rotonde, the representatives of the various Houses that had submitted their cuvees to the experienced eyes, nose and palate of these professionals during the morning tasting.

A sumptuous meal

Sophisticated decoration, delicate tableware and careful service, cosy atmosphere in the Woodwork Hall of the restaurant Le Parc or more contemporary at the brasserie Le Jardin, everything had been thought to offer the 150 guests a magnificent moment of relaxation around a gourmet lunch. A Ballottine of foie gras with fig chutney was followed by a subtle Salad of lobster sauce Caesar, then by a tender and tasty Rump of veal with chanterelles. The meal ended with a chocolate mousse “Caramélia” with crispy sesame caramel chips.
Best Craftsman of France and 2011 Michelin star Chef Philippe Mille draws inspiration from the seasons which he captures in each of his dishes. He knows how to sublimate the exceptional qualities of the ingredient to release the ultimate flavours, flawlessly cooked with just the right sauces.

A convivial afternoon

After lunch, the sun having decided to shine, the traditional meeting sommeliers/producers took place on the magnificent terrace of the castle. Parasols were opened, bottles were displayed in order on the tables, the atmosphere became festive and the conversations were rife. This afternoon of exchange and conviviality allowed everyone to share the sensations and the pleasure felt by the sommeliers, while contemplating, beyond the garden and the foliage of the park, the towers of the cathedral and those of the basilica of Reims. A true feast for the senses punctuated by exceptional bubbles.
Champagnes from famous Houses, cooperatives or wine growers … all had accepted to participate in this prestigious event organized by Sommeliers International, who thanks them very sincerely.

Dominique Peyral-Bon

Reportage Photo: Michel JolyotReportage vidéo: Olivier Hennegrave

Vidéo de la dégustation disponible sur :


Meilleurs Sommeliers du Monde :
Gérard Basset
Philippe Faure-Brac

Association des Sommeliers de Champagne-Ardenne

Yves Chapier, président
Jean-Pierre Hubaille,
Paul Aguesse
Roselyne Aguesse
Didier Allix
Eric Arnaud
Frédéric Bouché
Emmanuel Briet
Anne Briet
Rodolphe Casse
Anne-Marie Chabbert
Aurélie Crozet
Quentin Diez
Marie Doyard
Bernard Etien
Jean-Luc Feutry

Jean-Luc Gonot

Laura Guénat

Fabienne Guerdin
Cyril Hamahafahana
Walter Junquet
Thierry Landragin
Michel Larchez
Julien Lardy
Julien Leroux
David Mangeat
Emmanuel Mercier
Maurice Méresse
Olivier Patour
Edwige Sibille
Christophe Vincent
Jean-Luc Vitoux

Association des Sommeliers de Bourgogne

Michel Smolarek, président
Georges Pertuiset
Jean-Claude Wallerand
Yolande Coent-Margerit


Jacques Bastien
Madeleine Brochet
Vanessa Cazeres
Robin Ceccon
Mathieu Copin
Marie-Noëlle Diosca,

Richard Fétré, Directeur du Lycée Saint Pierre Fourmiès

Arnaud Gallimard
Jonathan Jacquart
Erwan Lechien

Hervé Lelarge

Pierre-Hervé Masson,

sommelier consultant
Maxime Oudiette
Hugues Picot
Grégoire Schnerb
Lucie Soltysiak,
Professeur au lycée d’Avize
Laurent Vallet,
Chef des travaux au Lycée Saint Pierre Fourmiès
Michel Véron,
Photos de la manifestation