Every Friday 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 Norwegian sommelier Champion & Champagne lover Henrik Dahl Jahnsen. Merci Henrik!
Henrik Dahl Jahnsen
Henrik Dahl Jahnsen, 30 years old, born in the south of Norway in Kristiansand and lived there most of my life except a 7-week stage at a 1* Michelin restaurant in Bourg-Charente. Currently based in Trondheim where I work as Wine Director for the Britannia Hotel with 4 restaurants, 1 Wine Bar and 1 Cocktail Bar.
Started out as a chef, but quickly found an interest in wine after I was introduced to the serious difference between a Petit Chablis and a Chablis, whilst I was still a minor! Won my first wine competition whilst finishing my chef apprenticeship and continued working both sides for the next few years as I moved on to the senior competition, starting in 2012, and won it on my third attempt in 2014. It’s been 4 more victories, and 9 top 3 positions out of 10 championships. At the 2016 World Championships I ranked 11th and was one of the youngest, if not the youngest, candidate to reach the semi-finals at that time.
I absolutely adore wine, and Champagne especially. You could probably call me an old man in a young body as my preference is somewhat passée, with Champagne and Bordeaux being my favourite regions (and German Riesling!) However, classics never die, and there is something about Champagne that simply never seizes to amaze and I guess we all have some pretty memorable experiences involving some serious amounts of Champagne… with by-line photo.
5 bottles & 5 questions Henrik Dahl Jahnsen [nor]
Which Champagne would You treat your parents or in-laws?
‘So much to choose from… but I guess it’s always smart to make a good impression with the in-laws anyway. They might not be all that experienced but I always want to treat them with high quality bubbles and find that Blanc de Blancs Champagnes tends to do the trick. For a casual week-day visit let’s roll with a Vintage from Diebolt-Vallois; the 2004 shows great development at present, or even the 2013 which currently sells in Norway. For a little extra; Fleur du Passion, one of my favourite BdB Prestige Champagnes! Did I mention 2008?’
Which Champagne would You treat your lover?
‘Call me a cliché romantic if you want. High quality Rosé Champagne has a certain seductive quality to it and I can’t help myself. With the slight fear of inducing a somewhat expensive taste I really think there is only one Champagne suitable; Armand de Brignac Rosé. The allure of Armand the Brignac should not be underestimated, and their Rosé offers all the mesmerizing and invigorating qualities one could want for such an occasion.’
Which Champagne would You treat your boss?
‘Everyone has their favourite Champagne, and for many it will be a Champagne from a bigger house, which of course can be great. However I would prefer to challenge my boss a bit, as this would spark a rewarding and educative conversation from which we both could learn something. A grower Champagne is perfect for such an occasion, perhaps a bottle of Egly-Ouriet V.P., Selosse Initial or Jérôme Prevost La Closerie Les Béguines.’
Which Champagne would You treat yourself?
‘I am an absolute Krug Lover and treat myself to their Grande Cuvée as often as possible. There is just something about it that appeals to all my senses and triggers both emotions and thoughts whenever I start to smell a glass. The subtle differences between the Éditions are all part of the package and ensures the infatuation never dies and I am continuously amazed by the combination of complexity and nerve they showcase each and every time.’
Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why, and who’s is Your dream guest?
‘An almost impossible question. I guess I would also be a little bit selfish and open something I would love to taste myself? We recently got hold of the 2008 VVF from Bollinger which is an obvious candidate, but my real dream would be to be able to treat them with 1979 Clos du Mesnil, the first vintage of this singular Champagne. A dream guest deserves the best I can possibly offer, I would love to offer something they cannot get their hands on that easily and be thrilled to have reserved these bottles for them especially. I think it is important to get acquainted with your best guests and find that often they are so used to people just giving them the easiest option that they truly appreciate knowledgeable and service-minded staff that genuinely wants to make their visit memorable. With a time machine the options would be vast, but in present time there can only be one; Her Majesty The Queen Elisabeth II. Imagine the things she has seen and experienced and how she has stood her ground from when she ascended in ’53, just 27 years old. A living legend.’
What piece of music would you listen to drinking wine in question 5 ?
‘As a gentleman, it is of course the lady’s privilege. I would let Her Majesty choose whatever she prefers, but I’ve got a sense that she’s seen and heard so much she would be more than happy to simply relax and enjoy the Champagne. Should we put on something from a Norwegian composer or band perhaps? Rolf Løvland and Secret Garden?’