"A Year in Champagne".
The film is the second in a series of three, all devoted to the celebration of wine and the people who populate that other-worldly universe. It's an amazing achievement even for the likes of this legendary wine importer. I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Saunier last summer during Nashville's premiere wine event, the annual
l'Eté du Vin hosted by The Nashville Wine Auction
(fund raising auction that supports numerous cancer charities in
Talk about a mover and a shaker! Martine Saunier, the founder of Martine's Wines, Inc., is well known and loved in America as the go-to importer of fine French wines that were previously missing from our cellars. She has personal relationships with growers, both large and small, in her home country and understands the process to bring it to our shores. After selling her firm, she devoted time and energy to producing films that offer a real point-of-view into the character of those who bring us pleasure in a bottle.
Her champagne movie is quite an achievement. "A Year in Champagne" offers a behind-the-scenes peek into the méthode champenoise from vine to bottle. You feel the growers' pain when the weather nearly ruins the crop. Watching this experience makes you realize that the best champagne, as glamorous and glorious as we think it is, is a crop and though we elevate our language referring to them as growers, these families are farmers, depending on hard work and luck of the weather gods much like the produce guys we know at Farmer's Market. The magical film offers us a front row seat in lessons from the family farm as they toil and suffer through the unpredictable weather of the growing season.
Back to Chez Charbaut, we enjoyed a fine dinner of squab (very pink pigeon) and other delicacies, ending in what looked at first like the lemon jello from my childhood elementary school nightmares. I was aghast to see it served as the finish to a spectacular meal --- until I took my first bite and realized this was not your mother's jello. In fact, I'm 100% certain there was not one tsp. of the fake chemicals and flavoring that go into that old goo we used to eat. It was an inspired creation that included a healthy dose of champagne, delicious and surprising. The next morning, we had a private tour of the champagne making facility, caves and fields led by the proud Monsieur Charbaut. He was genial and fun and although he spoke very little English, we all managed to converse.
*There were a couple of Brits who chatted us up at dinner and then let me sit in their fabulous Morgan for a birthday pose. They filled the whole vehicle from end to end with cases of champagne and then drove home the following day. They return every time they run out, usually twice a year. If only......
You're going to get very thirsty!
A Votre Santé!