TRIPLE SYMPHONIES AROUND CHAMPAGNE MASSE LIÉBART ET FILS
There is food pairing… and there is triple food pairing… A gastronomic experience offered by Champagne Masse Liébart Et Fils from the village of Troissy and Geoffrey Orban – Ambassador of Champagne and terroir expert. A unique tasting pairing champagne, amuse-bouche and Jazz swing played by the fantastic Bid Bang orchestra.
Champagne Massé Liebart et Fils
Located in the village of Troissy in the heart of the Vallée de la Marne area, Champagne Massé Liébart et Fils is a family-run wine-growing estate. In charge of this domain, Emmanuel Massé – winegrower, winemaker, Récoltant coopérateur i.e cooperative-grower, president of the cooperative of the village – look after a total of 3 hectares divided into several plots around the villages of Troissy, Cerseuil and Vauciennes located on the Rive Gauche of the Vallée de la Marne. Sensible father, the winegrower has at heart the quality of his terroirs and the respect of traditions. In the vineyard and at the cooperative, Emmanuel is meticulous and conscientious but he also take the time to create elegant and precise champagnes waiting a minimum of 36 months of aging on lees before the disgorging and the released of the cuvées.
One of the specificity of the champagne of the estate is the minerality character. Indeed, the mark of the marine imprint of the wines, the mineral terroir side stands out strongly through the cuvées. And the Troissy minerality offers different facets : a iodized character from the sand whereas the clay expresses rather an earthy, fleshy, ample, generous side. The champagnes of the village develop those notes but also a great and elegant freshness – especially the 2008 vintage that lasts over time and shows its potential to reveal a lot of surprises…
Emmanuel is proud to be part of the prestigious Bid Bang from Reims. A jazz and swing orchestra with about thirty local and talented musician led by Marc Denimal. The Bid Bang of Reims was founded in September 1980. This great Jazz orchestra has always set high standards as most of the musicians are from the Conservatoire de Reims, and their rigor, dynamism and friendliness have made this ensemble a strength they like to share.
This large regional formation has proposed an exceptional concert to accompany the tasting. A journey through the history of jazz, from its origins to the present day with a very diversify repertoire presenting several styles of Jazz: New Orleans, ragtime, gospel, swing, be bop and latin jazz … a large playlist to pair perfectly the food pairings created by Emmanuel Massé and Geoffrey Orban.
La Ruche – Cooperative of Troissy
As president of the Cooperative, Emmanuel started the afternoon with the visit of the premises. Located in Troissy on the terroir of Vallée de la Marne, between Epernay and Dormans vineyard of Champagne where Pinot Meunier is king. It is on the 8th of June, 1938, that 77 winemakers decided to create their own cooperative and to name it “La Ruche” as everyone brings the product of their work like bees with the pollen. The inauguration took place on December 19th, 1938 after the first harvest. This year 77 cooperators brought 304 000 kg of grapes from 42 hectares in total, pressed the harvest thanks to the 2 presses of 4000 kg and vinified the juices in the concrete vat room of 1500 hectoliters.
Today, the cooperative offers a powerful production tool. Not only, all winemaking works are carried out by the staff of the cooperative but the structure invested in a qualitative pressing system with 7 presses of 12 000 kg and 1 press of 8,000 kg. In the winery, the members and the administration also extended with 80 vats for 3,500 hectoliters dedicated to settling as well as 40,000 hectoliter thermoregulated and 2 vats of 1,400 hectoliters guaranteeing homogeneity for vinification. A reliable and qualitative equipment in order to create elegant and expressive cuvées.
A masterly tasting by Geoffrey Orban
After the visite of the cooperative, Emmanuel opens the doors of the tasting room where Geoffrey Orban received with open arms the visitors for a moment of sharing with the good company of the Bid Bang orchestra. Geoffrey Orban is a multi-hat wine professional : biologist and geologist but also French Ambassador, Vice-European Champagne Ambassador, founder of EducaVin where he is trainer for wine professionals, tastings expert and organizer, consultant for wine syndicates and producers as well as wine tourism guide. A profile with multiple competencies which explains why he is able to establishes so well a correlation between the mineral nature of plots and sensations in the mouth. Meticulous, he is going as far as to taste the soils in solution and the wines coming from the corresponding parcels in order to understand even more the link and tactile , aromatic correlations between the soil and the wine. Finally, if you have the opportunity to do a tasting with him, you will discover his ability for food pairing – no wonder his slogan is “Du terroir à l’assiette” meaning “From the terroir to the plate“.
First, Geoffrey reminded everybody how to create a perfect food-pairings tasting. No matter if it set in contrast or based on perfect match of the aromas, the appetizer must be in the mouth at the same time as the champagne. As for the order, it should be known that champagne bubbles has a virtue of grease remover. The pairing is matching the texture and structure facilitating the incorporation of the bubbles and the acidity inside the food. It also means that it is easy to move from one pairing to another when they are well done.
The tasting started with the Cuvée Première going through all the range of champagne of Champagne Massé Liébart et Fils with paired with exceptional product of different region. All accompanied by Jazz pieces played by musical ensemble – the associative Bid bang orchestra based in Reims in Champagne Ardenne…
This non-vintage champagne is a blend of 80% of Pinot Meunier, 20% of Chardonnay, with a Brut dosage.
It unveils a golden yellow color with a delicate effervescence. The nose is powerful with hints of honey and roasting. The palate offers both freshness and power with a remarkable length. A festive cuvée.
The Amuse-bouche chosen by Geoffrey to pair this brut cuvée is a 15 months refined Comté cheese with delicate fruity notes. As for the music, the Bid Bang starts with a ragtime : Tiger Rag – Maple Leaf Rag followed by Big swing face by Buddy Rich (1967). Two songs that carry you away to celebration moment and shared time but also make you travel. A pleasure préambule with an ethereal tasting with elegant hazelnut notes.
2008 DE TROISSY
As second wine, Emmanuel chose his vintage from the 2008 harvest and made 1/3 of Chardonnay, 1/3 of Pinot Noir and 1/3 of Pinot Meunier. Not less than 7 years of aging for this great vintage of 2008.
The color is a light gold. The nose develops fruity and iodine notes found again on the palate with an elegant salinity and a great fruity richness. A 2008 vintage wine with a perfect balance between maturity and freshness with still a lot of surprise to offer. The iodized, airy aspect last on the palate.
The amuse-bouche to pair this great cuvée was an exceptional product of the region : the Champenois salmon from the village of Mardeuil. A salmon originally coming from a Loch Duart in the north of Scotland where on 100% of surface, 80% are for the fish offering a lot of space for the fishes to live. An unique environment with waters naturally filtered thanks to specific algae and oysters that have been introduced. The salmon was prepared by Dominique Libra and his wife from the Au Saumon Champenois fishmonger’s and is served raw to match the wine. The final touch for this food pairing, two pieces of jazz. First, Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve seen by Louis Armstrong (1962) which was references to the vintage as it starts slowly like the aging of a wine in the cellar. The second piece was Pattes de mouche by Sidney Bechet.
The first encounter of this food-pairing is done visually. The mineral footprint is impressive : during the tasting, the minerality of salmon and its environment last on the palate. It allows to rediscover the mineral footprint of the salmon and to feel the purity of water of the Loch, which blends perfectly with the purity of 2008 vintage. The mineral footprint of Salmon matching the mineral footprint of 2008 make it an exceptional food-pairing and an intimate encounter. The perfect pairing is made through the vivacity of the vintage and the minerality of the salmon rocked by the jazz music to get the soul of the salmon back.
Same blending than the Cuvée Première – 80% of Meunier, 20% of Chardonnay – but with 30g/L i.e. a demi-sec dosage.
The color is a light golden yellow. Both the nose and the palate are perfectly balanced between roundness and freshness. This wine offers smoothness, sweetness and generosity.
The champagne is served with a lemon pie and fresh meringue amuse-bouche – a typical sweet dessert but with a lot of freshness – and accompanied two jazz pieces. The first one, a 1940’s sweet jazz : Pennsylvania by Glenn Miller – languorous and hopping like fish. A seductive music with the same roundness and freshness that characterizes the champagne. The second piece is a classic jazz from 1942 : A night in Tunisia by Dizzy Gillespie and Frank Paparelli.
An harmony of freshness and generosity caused by the sound of brass instrument and percussion of the Pennsylvania piece. The lemon pie creates a sweet and honeyed moment that keeps the freshness of the moment while remaining generous. A seductive and caressing pairing which, as explains Geoffrey, is “like a naughty breeze that finally only wants your own good”. The demi-sec champagne is especially suited to the freshness of lemon – it could also works with apple or pear, peach melba or pear melba and you could dare a salted-pairing too. This perfectly balanced pairing keeps the palate surprisingly clean and alert for the next pairing. With the second music piece, we travel to Tunisia at nightfall for a moment of seduction…
BLANC DE BLANCS
The tasting goes on with a 100% of Chardonnay cuvée. Emmanuel chose a brut dosage for this delicate champagne.
The wine is straw-colored. The nose is fresh and offers aromas of white flowers whereas the palate is frank and develops elegant and delicate citrus fruit notes.
This champagne is perfectly paired with a marinated salmon with lemon from Au Saumon Champenois. The citrus aromas of the wine highlights ideally the lemon notes of the salmon amuse-bouche awaking all our senses.. An harmony enhance thanks to the dynamic jazz piece of Now is the time. The iodized character of the salmon allows to express the terroir of the Blanc de Blancs champagne. The finish is sumptuous and refined. The second music piece – Round Midnight – brings generosity and tenderness to this elegant tasting evoking a dance cheek against cheek. The time suspends its time.
CUVEE RESERVE ROSE
This Brut Rosé cuvée is a blending of both the Pinot Meunier and the Pinot Noir.
The color is a deep raspberry pink. The nose is generous and offers aromas of morello cherries as well as grapefruit and red fruit notes. The palate is fruity and elegant with strawberry and pastry notes.
The amuse-bouche paired with this fruity rosé is a small grape tomato stuffed with a whipped cheese and oregano. The whipped cheese highlights delicately the structure of the wine whereas the oregano and the tomato enhance the morello cherry notes of this rosé. While we take the first bite into this amuse-bouche, the Bid Bang initiates the first jazz piece called Lazy girl by Claude Bolling with his pace of a woman who advances elegantly.
A tasting offering a cheeky instant – eyes in the eyes lit by the lights and the rosé reflections of the champagne similar to the halo of a lantern. A moment full of sensuality thanks to the fruity aromas of the rosé wine and the caressing structure on the palate. A torrid finish enhance by the music Jelly Roll.
CUVEE DE RESERVE
A champagne made from a blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% of Chardonnay with a 2012 base – an exceptional vintage in champagne with fruity character, structure and body – with an addition of 3% of reserve wines. The Pinot Noir enhances the feeling of structure with the balance and freshness of Chardonnay.
The color is an old delicate gold. The nose is delicate and generous with red and black fruits aromas from coming from the expression of the Pinot Noir. The palate offers a gentle strengh with a raspberry character as well as aromas of white flowers and warm brioche. A balanced palate between power and maturity.
The food-pairing is done with a dry duck breast amuse-bouche dredged with Timut pepper – a spicy pepper from Nepal and naturally expressing pink grapefruit and lemon. The duck comes from the Canardises des 3 Vallées of Fanny & Bertrand Fagot who raise their own ducks in Condé-en-Brie. The Timut get to and match perfectly the fresh finish of the champagne and the pomelos notes. A duo of character underlined by Bid Bang music pieces. First, Tutu by Milles Davis (1986) and its rhythm recalling that of the gait, the rate of a duck and the structure of the champagne followed by The git, a jazz piece boosting the spirit with positive wave and peps.
QUINTESCENCE DE CUVEE 2004
Quintescence Vintage 2004 is a pure expression of the harvest 2004 and a blend of the 3 grape varieties – Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay.
The tasting of the champagne offers a golden color. The nose is fruity with a lot of finesse and elegance offering lemon and lime notes melted with apple and ripe fruit aromas. The palate and its velvety texture offers a subtle association of the 3 grape varieties. It develops fruity, mineral and fresh character with quince, brioche and white fruits notes.
For this final food-pairing, the 2004 vintage is go with a verrine of Duck foie gras and crystallized peaches coming from the Canardises des 3 Vallées. A dulcet moment cradled by the jazz notes of the band Bid Bang through the jazz piece of Desafinado – a true caress resonating with class – followed by Que reste-il de nos amours marking the end of this unique tasting.
As the applause flies, the thanks-you speeches start and it is with emotion that Emmanuel Masse thanks tears in his eyes the whole of the Bid Bang orchestra he plays with as well as his family, Geoffrey Orban and all the participants of this tasting. An event full of emotions for exceptional pairings and a first-class tasting.