Did someone say (St. Moritz) Champagne?

The new St. Moritz champagne is produced by the renowned Leclerc Briant from Éperney. Dan Roznov curated the project for St. Moritz and tells us why french fries go well with champagne and who still drinks champagne nowadays.
byCarmen Baumann

Mr Roznov, how do you like the St. Moritz champagne climate?
I love it. It’s fresh, sophisticated, contemporary, and sparkling in every respect (laughs).

What does that mean for the champagne you drink up here?
Ultra-crisp champagnes are unsuitable at 1800 m above sea level, so I recommend champagnes with a little more body combining freshness and charm. When curating the champagne for St. Moritz, I wanted something modern: rather dry, organic, and with a hint of wood. Leclerc Briant’s Brut Réserve brings all of these attributes together. And with a little less fizz than other popular champagnes, it is pleasantly smooth to drink.

Describe the taste, please.
Everyone should try it for themselves. To me, it is uncomplicated and yet full of character, crisp but charming. A wholesome apple, lemon, peach and almond brioche in the form of a sparkling wine with a hint of spice.

Should champagne only be drunk as an aperitif?
No, those times are over. Today, champagne is celebrated as a true wine and a versatile food accompaniment. For Leclerc Briant St. Moritz, I recommend, for example, spaghetti carbonara, truffle pizza, Wiener Schnitzel, baked cauliflower, trout, or matured hard cheese. And, of course, French fries.

French fries?
Yes, the acid cuts through fat, so substantial foods pair well with the texture of the bubbles. As you know, one plus one makes three.

What do you think of champagne flutes?
We’re not friends (laughs). Flutes are frowned upon by champagne connoisseurs because they emphasize the acidity too much – I advise against them, especially in the mountains. Rather, take a white wine glass or a slightly bulbous champagne glass.

Leclerc Briant was founded in 1872, and modern St. Moritz in 1864. Are there other parallels between the two brands?
Yes, the commitment to quality – not just on the outside, but deep inside – and the blend of tradition and modernity; the constant courage to innovate.
And, of course, the sustainable symbiosis between nature and people.

How many bottles does Leclerc Briant produce each year?
Only about 150,000. For comparison: Dom Pérignon produces several million. As a modern boutique Maison, Leclerc Briant has dedicated itself to “organic chic”.

That sounds like a marketing cliché.
They live this philosophy one hundred percent. Their cellar master Hervé Jestin is considered the guru of the biodynamic movement, and the production is uncompromisingly organic, with one of the most modern wineries in Champagne.

The house is in American hands...
Yes, the owner couple have been passionate about champagne for a long time. The two bought the Maison fifteen years ago and revolutionised it with a new team. Along the way, they have built two luxury hotels that have raised the bar for hotels in Champagne. They are visionaries with a flair for excellence and thus also personify the top-of-the-world idea of St. Moritz.

Sounds like an ideal collaboration.
Yes, and it is by no means a matter of course in the current market situation. Global demand for champagne exceeds supply. The bottles are literally ripped out of the hands of the Maisons, and organic products from houses like Leclerc Briant are particularly in demand.

How did this market situation come about?
During the pandemic, there was a sharp increase in demand for luxury goods in general and fine wine and champagne in particular. In addition, there was a chain of adverse circumstances, such as the poor harvest in 2021, shortage of materials, and supply chain interruptions. In addition, Champagne is the most strictly regulated wine-growing region in the world. One cannot produce more than the land bears. Everything is harvested by hand, and the main priority is quality.

How long will this shortage last, and how will prices react?
I think a year or two. Prices will continue to rise.

Who is drinking all this champagne anyway?
Most often, it’s “sparkling personalities”, which by definition exude positive energy, have a good sense of humour and attract other people. There are quite a few of these in St. Moritz.

Dan Roznov is best known as the Champagne Spy blogger and founder of the event series Champagne & Friends.

The Brut Réserve St. Moritz is available for purchase in the St. Moritz online shop and at the St. Moritz Tourist Information.

Further information on the maison Leclerc Briant: https://leclercbriant.fr/

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