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 Romanian Champagne lover & sommelière Julia Scavo. Merci Julia !
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Romanian born, I had passed and obtained a science and bilingual English baccalaureate, before coming to France for University studies in 2002. After my degree and educational masters (CAPES) in Mathematics, I got fond of gastronomy, wine and sommelier art.
I was soon seduced by the field and keen on getting further knowledge, I went back to school to entitle my experience. After a Sensory Analysis course at the Wine University in Suze-la-Rousse, I also got my Sommelier diploma in Lyon, at François Rabelais Hospitality School. Then came a Higher National Diploma in Wine, spirits and beverages’ Trade and Marketing, which I passed after 2 years’ studies at ICOP Aubagne while working as junior sales assistant in Château de Rouët, or as sommelier in Nice for Chef Keisuke Matsushima and wine bar “La Cave de l’Origine”. Other experiences followed soon, including the honor of working for Monsieur Alain Ducasse at the Trattoria Monaco and seasonal working at the Monte-Carlo Sporting. I also took up the WSET path, and my Level 3 in Wines was soon followed by the Level 4 Diploma in Wines with “Distinction” . I have also been awarded the “Gérard Basset Memorial Prize” for a top score student with a sommelier background in the Unit 3 examination and the International Wine and Spirit Competition Trophy Awarded by the WSET to the student from the EMEA who achieved the highest overall mark in the Level 4 Diploma in wines .
Among the most recent certifications I would name my title of WSET Nominated Educator for Level 1&2, but also the Sake Sommelier Certificate recognized by the Saké Sommelier association. Regarding sake, I also hold a WSET level 1 in this field and I have been a judge for the Kura master competition since its beginning in 2017. I am also a Certified Port Educator of the IVDP (The Institute of Wien of Douro and Port).
What I like most is sharing experience and knowledge, hence I have come back to teaching since 2013: professional training, conferences, masterclasses, consulting for many establishments. In my country of origin which is Romania, I am the Development manager for education and youth in the board of the Romanian Sommelier Association.
I also like defeating the limits and always being up to date by the means of the sommelier competitions. Here are some of my latest results: Winner of the Central European Championship 2012, 3rd Best Sommelier of Europe, ranking 5th in the Best Sommelier of the World 2013, 3rd Best Sommelier of Europe and Africa 2017, ASI Diploma 2017 with Gold Distinction, Winner of the Master of Port 2017, Best Sommelier of Romania 2018, First runner-up of the Balkan Sommelier Challenge 2018, Winner of the Ruinart Sommelier Challenge France 2018, 7th Best Sommelier in the World 2019. In 2020 I was the absolute winner of the Web Wine Writing competition of Hungarian Wine and also the winner of the “Cabernet Franc” Category in English.
Which Champagne would You treat your parents or in-laws?
‘My father is the only of them still alive, as I unfortunately lost both my mother and my in- laws. Since I passed my Higher National Diploma in Wine, spirits and beverages’ Trade and Marketing in 2011 and wrote my research paper on Champagne Jacquesson´s Cuvées “700s”, my father fell in love with the 735 that was on the market at that time. Year after year he discovered the other releases and it became his Champagne for celebrations, gifts and treats or simply whenever he came to visit us. Living in Romania he used to ship some bottles back home whenever he came to France.
This is definitely the Champagne I would treat my father with. What he enjoyed about the 735 (2007 base) and what seduced him ever since was that the wine was both rich, vinous and luminous with such complexity mixing up golden apple and flinty hints, almonds and toasted cumin. My father has long rejected crispy, lemony and fruity Champagne as he was afraid of the acidity by smelling them already. And despite the low, almost inexisting dosage of the cuvées 700s, they offered him another perspective of the palate with textured density absorbing the bright acidity while the oak derived structure and umami rich character help this wine have lots of personalities and act as a gastronomy- friendly Champagne with sapid bitter tangerine zests and toasted almonds.‘
Which Champagne would You treat your lover?
‘My husband and I married with Champagne Agrapart – Terroirs Extra Brut, pure Chardonnay sourced from Grand cru terroirs like Avize, Oger, Cramant and Oiry. Not only does this Champagne remind us of wonderful souvenirs, but it also suits my lover´s palate. Partially wood fermented and with total malo- lactic fermentation, this brings layers of complexity, leaving a pristine citrusy, blossomy nose with still reductive smokiness reminiscent of a stony character, as close as possible to mineral. Textural bubbles, fresh crisp, silky mouthfeel with a certain depth but also a fantastic sense of poise and millimetric dosage. This Champagne also accompanied the birth of our daughter.‘
Which Champagne would You treat your boss?
‘As a freelancer I do not have a boss, but Champagne Gimonnet Père & Fils Blanc de Blancs Cuis 1er Cru would be the choice to offer if I had one: vibrancy and purity are words that come into my mind when I think of this Blanc de Blancs. Floral veil, juicy peach, fleshy pomelo. Fine autolysis that doesn’t overpower the nose and brings fresh bread, biscuity hints. The pure Chardonnay dynamics with no austerity thanks to a mild dosage, allied with tonic little bubbles, bursting with citrusy freshness, the wine is salivating with sapid chalky finish, glints of fresh almonds and zest to give a whipping to the persistent finish. Fabulous quality/price/pleasure ratio, and easy to understand for everybody. ‘
Which Champagne would You treat yourself?
‘Champagne Pierre Peters “Les Chétillons”, the rocky essence of the Mesnil- sur- Oger, with superb stony reductiveness unveiling a fresh core of citrus, pomelo mingling with notes of verbena and punchy citron fruit. Though restrained in its youth, it encapsulates such an energy with the purest Chardonnay tonus and its inconfundible fresh almond signature. Crystalline acidity, tremendous depth, subtle and precise autolysis bursting with every tiny bubble down to an interminable sapid, almost salty finish entwining zests and reductive, flinty toast. A ballerina with the character of a dramatic opera diva, Les Chétillons offers me the feeling of pointe shoes performance: precision, grace, density and dynamics with a racy, airy sensation. ‘
Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why, and who’s is Your dream guest?
‘Dom Ruinart 2007 would be my perfect treat for my dream guest for its clean and pure nose of vine peaches, grapefruit and citrus essences, interlacing biscuity autolysis with reductive toast and brossomy hints. With almost musical construction on the palate it offers tonic pace with satin- like mouthfeel imbued with tiny silky bubbles. This subtle effervescence is almost vibratory, conducting the freshness to different chords, like bitter glints of pomelo, zesty hints or juicy fruitiness to combine with bready notes, fresh almonds or a touch of fern. It perfectly combines down- to – earth chalkiness with airy veil and citrusy dynamics offering that specific Grand Cru vein to bring Chardonnay to an incredibly lively expression.
This dream guest would be PhD Gérard Liger- Belair, leading authority of the effervescence. I believe he would be happy to discuss the mathematical architecture of this wine and its musical vibration where the bubble allows linking emotions to cartesian construction.’
What piece of music would you listen to drinking wine in question 5 ?
‘Beethoven – Piano Concerto No 5 , Op. 73 ” Emperor” conducted by Herbert von Karajan. The concerto opens with the orchestra giving 3 sonorous chords like the 3 main steps for the 2007 “uneven” vintage: unusually warm spring with early flowering, then cold, wet summer and the glorious weather during harvest from the end of August and over the 3 first weeks of September. The solo piano responds to these chords like the precise gestures of the producer. The radiant genius of Beethoven reproduces this threefold construction during the whole concerto transcending periods with heroic romanticism, almost baroque richness and fantastic Germanic classicism. Work of a visionary, just like this 2007, first Dom Ruinart vintage of the visionary cellar master Frédéric Panaiotis. The piano is floating in the air like the Chardonnay expression and its fine airy mousse, but the orchestra brings it down to earth under the magic wand of Herbert von Karajan.‘