• Simon Reilly

In champagne we trust

This article was originally published in issue 15 of Glass of Bubbly magazine, November 2016

As with most wine lovers I like nothing more than discovering a new wine. And being a bit of a sucker for funky bottle art, if it’s got an interesting looking label then even better.

My latest discovery is a new Champagne called Gilles & Olivier. Their aim is to turn Champagne from something for toasting a celebrations to an everyday drink. As co-owner Olivier Broyé told me, “we are aiming to produce Champagne that you open for an unexpected visit of friends, for the simple pleasure of being together or to indulge yourself on a Friday evening after a long week.”

I have to say I find it difficult to imagine cracking open a cheeky bottle of Champagne in place of my Friday night post work beer, but if small Champagne houses are going to survive the image has to change. Champagne has to become more accepted as an everyday drink. I think it is a good idea to try to appeal to new drinkers. Look at the success Prosecco has had over the last 5-10 years or so by following this path.

Olivier’s aim is to produce high quality artisan Champagne made 100% from their own vines, targeting wine amateurs as well as wine connoisseurs. There are three cuvées, each an expression of different terroirs in the Champagne region. The focus being the Grand Crus from Cramant.

The bottle labels are a bit different and not too serious. They should appeal to a younger market and those who are just starting to explore wine, which I think is the point. Their slogan “in Champagne we trust”, emblazoned on all of their bottles highlights their passion for the region and Champagne as a product. This innovative approach may alienate the traditional Champagne consumers, but you can’t please everyone can you?

So what are the wines like?

Equilibre; This has really defined flavours of spiced apple and is very smooth. Nice acidity on the fresh finish but not at all drying. Very moreish. I could see this as an everyday wine.

Rose; Very dark pink in colour. Cherry and blackcurrant sweetness but really fresh on the finish. Very quaffable and not too serious. Disappears very quickly!

Grand Cru; Lively mousse and fine bubbles. Aromas of cooked apples and vanilla leads to a lovely complex mouthful with a touch of honeyed sweetness. Lots of energy on the long, powerful finish. An invigorating wine!

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