Sun fun and champagne, those are the ingredients for a great weekend. And a great weekend it has been indeed; time well spent in Helsinki and the Grand Champagne wine fair. Grand Champagne is a one of a kind event. Fifty great names from my favorite wine region in France, all under one roof for three days, filling the glasses of the wider public. There are also master classes for those who are deeply interested.
I will write a separate post from the event during the coming week. I am now sitting at Helsinki airport, ready to return home and have not had the time to edit all of my photos. But what I think is worth mentioning already now is how impressed I was with the interest showed by all the participating champagne houses. I was kind of joking when I mentioned the last time that I was looking forward to mingling with all the great champagne personalities. But that was actually exactly what I did. I was not as bold as I was with Anselme Selosse, and did not ask to pose in pictures (damn). However, we chatted with Cyril Janisson from Janisson-Baradon, Michel Drappier from Champagne Drappier and Cédric Thiébault from Champagne Besserat. I also had the pleasure of hearing Benoît Gouez of Möet & Chandon, Jea-Babtiste Lécaillon (Mr. Cristal) of Louis Rhoederer and Charles Philipponat of Champagne Philipponat speak on stage about their thoughts, philosophy and wines. All were genuinely happy to be in Helsinki and happy for the event organized by Essi Avellan and Taru and Christian From from Ceesta Shop. I have to say that for a champagne geek, this was a dream come true. And, I did not even get started yet with what delicacies I got to taste during the day. Perhaps you already got a peak of that from my Instagram.
Another activity worth mentioning is that on Saturday, we opened a bottle of Finland 100 year champagne. Yes, my little (big) home country is turning 100 in December, and there is a cooperation with Champagne Ayala for a birthday champagne. What is good to know is that this bottle contains Brut Majeur, which is Ayalas entry level cuvee. The label is just different as well as the price tag. We purchased this bottle from the Viking Line boat for just 25€. Ridiculous! I just saw the same product now at the airport “duty free” for 39€. Ayala is a great house with well made entry level champagnes. The style is crispy and fresh due to the heavy dose of Chardonnay in the mix; very different from its Pinot Noir heavy big brother Bollinger. I really think the bottle is a bargain (at least on Viking Line), so we might do another boat trip this year to top up.
Now it’s time to head to the flight, so good night and more about champagne the coming week.