Every Saturday TheChampagneSommelier will ask 5 questions about 5 coeur de bouteilles to friends and Champagne lovers from near and far. This week we took a bubbly chat with Rasmus Thingholm and Jesper Kragh-Skriver (also known as Champagne Bandits) – two Danish friends and champagne lovers crashing onto the scene with their reviewing page on Instagram, @champagnebandits.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Rasmus Thingholm and Jesper Kragh-Skriver are the two Copenhagen-based friends behind the popular and fast-growing Instagram page, @ChampagneBandits.
Rasmus and Jesper are both lawyers of profession, but they have been enjoying champagne for many years – both together and separately. But what really kicked off their great joint dedication and passion for champagne was the adventure with the Champagne Bandits, which began in June 2020. Shortly after the reopening of Danish society after the first lockdown due to the outbreak of Covid-19, which in a short time paralyzed Denmark and limited their freedom.
During the lockdown, they could not go out and dine or go to wine bars and indulge their passion for champagne like they used to. This meant that they were stuck in their living rooms instead and in a short time they had dived deep into the magical universe of champagnes.
That was the starting point for Champagne Bandits, which in a short time has gone from being a spontaneous idea on a balmy summer evening after sharing a few good bottles to now being Denmark’s largest review page for champagnes on Instagram with more than 7,700 followers and a private champagne import company.
The past two years have been a fantastic journey with Champagne Bandits, which has offered many special experiences. Both Rasmus and Jesper are very excited and grateful for all the support they have received from their followers, but also for all the wonderful relations they have established with champagne lovers, winemakers, wine merchants, critics, and others in both the Danish, the Nordic, and the global champagne community.
Which Champagne would You treat your parents or in-laws?
Jesper: ‘That would be my in-laws, as my parents do not drink champagne. I know, it is weird. For them that would be a bottle of La Grande Année Rosé 2012 from Bollinger. Absolutely beautiful bottle which demonstrates Bollinger’s firm grasp on the Pinot Noir grape.‘
Rasmus: ‘Unfortunately, my mother does not have much interest in wines nor champagnes, but it was actually an eye opener for her when I served Dom Pérignon 2008 to my family for my birthday. If I were to serve a new bottle toknock her of her legs, it would have to be a bottle of Comtes de Champagne 2007 from Taittinger, which is performing really well now.’
Which Champagne would You treat your lover?
Jesper: ‘Tricky question. A good Blanc de Blancs is always greatly appreciated, so probably a Fleur de Passion 2006. Cramant is really a favourite of hers in Côte des Blancs. If funds were unlimited, a bottle of Krug’s Clos du Mesnil 1990 would be my first choice.’
Which Champagne would You treat your boss?
Jesper: ‘My boss still needs to work on her basics within champagne, and in that context a bottle of Bruno Paillard Extra Brut NV delivers solidly. Also, as I think she would appreciate a rosé, Billecart-Salmon’s rosé NV is so lovely.’
Rasmus: ‘My boss loves a well-made Blanc de Blancs with age and lots of toasted brioche on the nose. I would therefore serve the Millésime 2005 in magnum from Gonet Sulcova, which is a Blancs de Blancs made of grapes solely from Le Mesnil-sûr-Oger.’
Which Champagne would You treat yourself?
Rasmus: ‘If I really should treat myself, I will choose a bottle of Les Enfers 60 months (base 2014) from Ulysse Collin or either a bottle of Les Chantereines or Le Bout du Clos from Jacques Selosse. All three are fantastic champagnes, which I find to be in a class of their own’.
Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why?
Jesper: ‘Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995. What a wonderful bottle. I would serve it for Magnus Carlsen – the current world chess champion and greatest chess player to live. So, if anyone knows him, don’t hesitate to spread the word.’ 😉
Rasmus:‘ ‘I want to serve a bottle of Comtes de Champagne 1976 from Taittinger to my great childhood idol, the Danish badminton player Peter Gade, as he was born precisely in 1976. Peter Gade is an experienced wine connoisseur himself, so of course I wanted to serve it to him blind, so I could test his skills to the limit before we spend the rest of the evening watching highlights and talking about the biggest games of his career.’
[ what piece of music would you listen to drinking wine with Your dream guest ?]
Both Jesper and Rasmus: ‘Queen – and if we must choose a specific song, it would be ‘Don’t stop me now’ or ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’. Both songs are just so joyful, funny, and musical masterpieces, in our humble opinions.’