Portrait of Côme Simphal and Timothée Duguit

INTERVIEW AND TASTING OF VEUVE CAPET VODKA

It is not usual for Portraits de bulles to write about something else than champagne or its winegrowers. However today we decided to make an exception. Côme and Timothée are two wines and spirits passionates both attached to their champagne roots who decided to create something else with the grapes of their region – a french vodka with a unique and delicate style.

It is not a surprise that we first met the two creators during a champagne tasting in the city of Reims and we immediately decided to give them a rendez-vous for an interview. A month later, we met with Côme in front of the majestic cathedral of Reims. The opportunity to learn more about him and his ‘partner in crime’ but also to discover the story behind the Veuve Capet Vodka.

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Portrait of a passionate entrepreneur duo

Côme Simphal and Timothée Duguit created together an atypical vodka : Veuve Capet. One is 40 years old and lived for a time in Poland and the other comes from the agribusiness ; the two epicurean partners had two different career paths but share the same passion for wines and spirits as well as terroirs. Born in the champagne region, they are also both very attached to the agricultural values and to their champagne origin.

It is in 2013 that the adventure started with an encounter ‘around the vodka’. 6 months later, the partnership and the project started in Epernay when Côme joined the office of Timothée to work on their project. The duo complements one another perfectly:  one more engineer, the other more commercial / marketing.

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The two entrepreneurs share the same idea for a long time : to produce a vodka from grapes from their region. A project that started in concrete terms in January 2015 and in the course of the year the team completes itself with a committee to help them : one president of a prestigious Champagne House, one designer – Sam Baron -, one manager of a Cognac estate and one Sale Manager. All the conditions were gathered to bring the project of Côme and Timothée to the reality…

A ‘made in France‘ Vodka

It took not less than one year and a half for Côme and Timothée to finalize the vodka and its bottle. Through this project, the two entrepreneurs wanted to value in a different way the grapes from the Champagne region – in an other way than the Ratafia, Marc, Fine or Whisky. They chose to create a distinguishing product and a creation that can be tasted also in mixology through the cocktails of Stéphane Martin who they work with : a 100% chardonnay and ‘made in France’ vodka .

The idea was to break with traditions – 4 000 to 5 000 brands of vodka in the world and the codes are well settled : colors, forms of the bottle,… This is why it was common sense for the two men to use the codes from the champagne universe in order to reinterpret the classic codes and stick with the tradition of their mother-region.

For the making process, the distillation is done by the distillery Jean Goyard using the juices extracted from Chardonnay grapes from the Côte des Blancs harvested by hand only – as the method champenoise requires it. After the fermentation to obtain wines at 10-11°, the fivefold distillation brings the juices at 96° to bring it back down to 38-40°. The precious liquid is then charcoal filtrated and blended with pure water to create the Veuve Capet Vodka. Côme and Timothée chose to work in partnership with the distillery Goyard on the quality of the distillation : using the heart of the distillation only.

The process is respecting perfectly the criterion to be classified as vodka as a vodka needs to be made from an agricultural raw material and a distillation at 96° to bring it back down to 38-40°.

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For the aesthetic appeal, Côme and Timothée worked on the design with Sam Baron – a famous designer. The idea was to use the visual universe of the region of origin – with the approval of the CIVC – and to rehabilitate a bottle of champagne for spirits use. As for the name : Veuve Capet  – feminine -, it is the nickname of Marie Antoinette. A tribute to the queen whom the husband, Louis XVI, was crowned in Reims in her presence on June 11th, 1775, and whose wishes of her royal wedding were sealed by the bishop of Reims. Adding to that, the word Veuve is a reference of the champagne world. Her free and impertinent words she said to the commissioners asked to look for and to punish the culprits the 5 and 6th october – ‘Tout vu, Tout su, Tout oublié’ literally ‘I saw everything, I knew everything, and I forgot everything’ – are also engraved on the top of the bottle of the vodka Veuve Capet with the monogram of the vodka.

Elegance, modernity, impertinence, Veuve Capet is an innovative, original and unconventional product available on the market since may 2016 and a success with rewards ever since.

Tasting and suggestions 

A 100% Chardonnay – from the Côte des Blancs of the Champagne region – vodka. Made from the juice still in the grapes after the press to make champagne – a part called rebeche. Bottling in April, 2016.

The color is crystal-clear. The nose is refreshing, subtle and delicate offering a dominance on citrus and guava notes. The bouquet is elegant and rich. At first, the palate offers the freshness from the chardonnay and all its elegant aromas from the precious grape variety of Champagne : a balance between William pear and lemon notes. Then, after a few second of a “walk in the vineyard of Champagne”, the power of vodka bring us directly to the East of Europe.

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Vesper du Roi, Royal Cocktail of Marie-Antoinette or Veuve Tonic,… Veuve Capet is very interesting for gastronomy and mixology but we recommend you to taste the vodka pure in order to appreciate its refined aromas and its subtlety. And why not choose a seasonal fruit ice cream to match a glass of Veuve Capet or simply choose some more typical food pairings like caviar.

Vodka Veuve Capet 

Responsable : Côme Simphal & Timothée Duguit

Grape variety : Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs

Other grape varieties : None

Contact :

VODKA Veuve Capet
http://www.veuve-capet.com

Photo © SD Spirits / Wisemotion

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