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A Day in Champagne, with Champagne Gosset

{Video} Interviews Below

A day in Champagne, France with Champagne Gosset
A lunch paired entirely with champagne.

Sometimes wishes do come true. In a wine oriented mind, it might be the bottle of your dreams. A visit to a place you’ve never been but can only imagine. The history of a region emblazoned in your memory from books and photos. As it reveals itself to you in real life, wide-eyed wonderment and childlike excitement take over. Eyes glued to every inch of your experience. Savoring each sip, taste, feeling and trying to memorize all of it.

This is my inaugural visit to Champagne. The 2nd time in France. The thrill of heading to Champagne after an evening in Paris is an intense and brilliant blur because the journey is happening so fast. The land is legendary, the quotes innumerable. From Napoleon Bonaparte to Coco Chanel, Champagne as a destination and as a celebratory spirit has captured Champagne Gosset in Epernay is owned by the Cointreau Familythe imagination of many.

We are one of only two Champagne Houses that have been labeled by the French government for their excellence and know how.  Only two. Bollinger and Gosset.  ~ Jean-Pierre Cointreau

This stop is a landmark arrival. I am spending the day at Champagne Gosset. Established in 1584, this is the very first in Champagne.  A family-owned Champagne House rich in tradition and the oldest, the most revered, the grandfather of all other champagne houses.  In the days of its inception, Gosset was involved in making still wine.

Champagne has to be shared.

Pouring the tasting at Champagne Gosset
Pouring the tasting at Champagne Gosset

What you should know about Champagne. There are three key towns in the region. Épernay, Reims, and Aÿ. The soils primarily chalk.  There is often a lack of ripeness of the grapes lending them to impart a deliciously acidic trait to the Champagne. The grapes planted are primarily Petit Meunier, Pinot Noir (Cote de Noir) and Chardonnay (Cotes de Blanc).

We want to ensure a consistent quality of the cuvées in the market.

There are many big houses of Champagne in the region producing 70+ million bottles a year. Not Gosset. This artisanal brand sticks to doing things by hand, including riddling and disgorgement.  They produce just 1 million bottles a year.  With the exception of the Brut Excellence Champagne, they do not do malolactic fermentation.  The champagne, therefore, retains the characteristics of the fruit far longer and the roundness of the finish.Champagne Gosset on The Wine Siren by Kelly Mitchell This also makes it possible for you to continue to age for a huge amount of time in your own cellar. A delicious benefit.  Preferring a longer time on the lees, and still longer (8-15 years) for the vintage and non-vintage champagnes. They have nearly seven years of stock in the two cellars, one in Aÿ and one in Epernay.

It is known, the oldest vines give the best wine.

The average time for aging Champagne is 2.5 years.  Gosset takes great pride in aging their champagne for 8-15 years with the exception of the Brut Excellence which is 4 years. Still far longer than the others. This house is a family owned house having recently (in terms of history) been acquired by the Cointreau family. Jean-Pierre Cointreau is at the helm of the day to day operations as the CEO.

VIDEO: Interview with Jean-Pierre Cointreau, CEO of Champagne Gosset

 

One of the many highlights of the day is sitting down to an entire lunch paired with many of the vintages and cuvée of Champagne Gosset along with a tour of their intricate caves.

Created in the 1800’s is the signature bottle and design of Champagne Gosset. So unique is the design of the bottle and representative of their artisanal brand, they carry a patent on the bottle itself. The label comes in a full range of bright colors representing the type of cuvée inside. The label is purposely placed high on the bottle so it is visible from the ice bucket.

Riddling rack in the caves at Epernay
Riddling in the rack

I spoke to Gosset’s winemaker/Chef de cave, about the process in depth and the differences in making mass produced wine versus handcrafted wines that took more time.  His response was, “We focus on making a great taste first. Not the bubbles.”  You can be sure the bubbles are there, with the brilliant acidity and the layered complexity you’d expect from a French champagne. To preserve a craft that results in a premium champagne, a tradition that’s been maintained for four centuries you do whatever it takes to maintain your quality.

{VIDEO} Interview with Chef de cave, Odilon de Varin of Champagne Gosset

 

 

 

 

4 Responses

  1. A wine (champagne) lover after our own hearts! This is top of our list to visit in terms of regions and we couldn’t agree more –so much history! And what a fantastic opportunity meeting with the winemaker of Gosset!

  2. Wow, you had me at “lunch entirely paired with Champagne.” What an honor to visit Gosset. Gosset isn’t as common on wine lists out West, which is something I miss about living in Francophile Washington, DC. So it’s a treat just to see pictures and learn more about the product. Very cool!

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