Every Friday TheChampagneSommelier will ask 5 questions about 5 coeur de bouteilles to friends and Champagne lovers from near and far.
Krister Bengtsson is the founder of Star Wine List, www.starwinelist.com, the guide to great wine bars and wine restaurants. It started in Stockholm and is now live in more than 20 countries. You can also search for your favourite champagne and see where they are listed in restaurants and wine bars!
Which Champagne would You treat your parents or in-laws?
’When I was 11 I spent a summer with a French family south of Paris. Going home, my French family wanted to pack a bottle of champagne as a gift to my parents. I said that my parents don’t really drink alcohol but my French hosts laughed and said everybody drinks champagne! Unpacking the bag in Gothenburg, my parents asked: what is this?! Champagne, I said. But it’s alcohol, they said and were concerned that I had been smuggling. In the end, they gave it away to a friend. (Sadly I do not recall what champagne it was) All this to say that my French in-laws will be the recipients of this particular question. They are familiar with the grandes marques of course so I would pick a grower, something small and well-made, like Dhondt-Grellet.’
Which Champagne would You treat your lover?
’My wife, also being French, loves champagne of course. A grand vin like Krug ‘Grande Cuvée’ always works. It’s a wonder of nature. And it would bring back memories of the greatest champagne occasion I’ve had: When I spent an afternoon with Rémi Krug at the cellar in Reims, just drinking Krug and talking, back in my freelance writing days.’
Which Champagne would You treat your boss?
’Running my own firm I don’t have one boss but many: The users of Star Wine List, our customers and my team… Charles Heidsieck is one of those wines that everybody loves, very balanced and quite rich. So we’ll do magnums of that, thank you.’
Which Champagne would You treat yourself?
’Another small-ish winery in Champagne I really love is Larmandier-Bernier. Their wines have precision and balance – getting the balance just right between low dosage and fruit. ‘(Otherwise too many low dosage champagnes should just add more dosage, to be honest.)
Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why?
’I have never tasted one of the shipwreck champagnes, 1907 Heidsieck Monopole ‘Goût Américaine’, salvaged from the Jönköping in the Baltic sea. That would be something one day. And why not with the master himself, Richard Juhlin. It would be interesting to hear him put that wine in perspective and history.’