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 Canadian born Champagne lover Kathleen Smith. Merci Kathleen !
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Kathleen Smith aka @thehappyvineks
I am in love with wine and its world, its colors, perfumes and charm. Through travel, connecting with people and most certainly tasting their creations, you discover the passion, the journey and story that each and every bottle tells.
Growing up in multi-cultural Montreal, Canada, I was heavily influenced by the city’s diverse food and wine culture. This passion for food and wine grew over time as my travels and experiences shaped my passion. After many years as an IT Project Management Consultant, I moved to the United States with my family where I decided to pursue my true calling, which is everything wine.
Being fully bilingual (English and French) has well positioned me as a wine judge in many globally recognized wine competitions. My enthusiasm and knowledge are shared through winery collaborations, online publications, blogs and social media as well as corporate wine events. My wine education led me to my journey of WSET Diploma as well as an ambassador for the Concours Mondiale Feminalise.
Which Champagne would you treat your best friend?
‘A Bollinger ‘La Grande Année’ from an outstanding vintage, say 2008, no question. My parents were each other’s one true love. They were married for 33 years before my father passed away and my mother 10 years later. They had a truly special relationship and a love that lasts a lifetime. It deserves a symbolic La Grande Année of regal finesse and sublime beauty that would take them back to the day they met as kids. ‘
Which Champagne would You treat your lover?
‘Amour de Deutz, which is a Blanc de Blanc 2011 – the name says it all. I visited the historic Maison Deutz this past year and was instantly enamored – Champagne Deutz’s history, the underground candlelit staircases, the maison and its ambiance are purely magical. This wine is an extension of the art of their Champagne, the love and romance of Deutz. It is truly captivating Champagne – subtle, delicate and enchanting wine with a seductive purity that is indescribable.’
Which Champagne would You treat your boss?
‘I am an entrepreneur/my own boss so I would treat myself to a Champagne from a winemaker who I not only greatly admire but had the immense pleasure of meeting, Dominque Moreau of Marie Courtin Champagne. Her ‘Blanc de Blancs Amphora’ would be my choice. Her wines are single-vineyard, single-vintage, zero-dosage Champagnes from biodynamically-grown grapes raised with meticulous care. However, this is a special project of hers, a unique blend of 60% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Blanc, 5% Arbanne – her wines are all aged 11 months in amphora, unfined and unfiltered. So divinely special.‘
Which Champagne would You treat yourself?
‘A Rosé Champagne which I do not enjoy very often. I would open a grower champagne from Laherte Frères Champagne. Laherte Frères ‘Rosé Meunier & Meslier Brut Nature’, is a rare blend of 50% Petit Meslier and 50% Meunier. The Meunier is made in the saignée method (hence the incredible color) balanced with the aromatics of Meslier. After a 24-hour maceration the grapes were naturally fermented in a single, neutral barrel then aged on the lees for 36 months, produced in very small amounts (336 bottles of rare goodness). It captures the best of both varietals – the elegant floral femininity of the Meunier, and the Meslier verve and minerality. It’s a beauty of a bottle to just sit back and savor its lovely playful decadence and compelling energy.’
Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why?
‘Julia Child – I am not only wine-passionate but cooking-passionate as well. I have been baking and cooking since I was 5 years old. I have had her Mastering The Art of French Cooking cookbook since I was 12. Her perseverance, strength and courage are a true inspiration, as well as her engaging personality, her infectious bubbly laugh and joie de vivre. I would open a stunning bottle of Blanc de Noirs from Champagne Egly-Ouriet and cook one of her infamous dishes such as Boeuf Bourgingnon. Champagne Egly-Ouriet ‘Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru Les Crayères’ NV is amongst the first recognizable grower producers in Champagne. Their meticulous commitment to Pinot Noir through reduced yields, only using tete de cuvée (the first pressing) and extended lees ageing are formidable, a pure expression of their terroirs. This one is from 70-year-old vines, a completely barrel fermented blend consisting of 50% each 2008 and 2009 and aged 70 months on the lees.’
[ what piece of music would you listen to drinking wine with Your dream guest ?]
‘Chet Baker – It Never Entered My Mind – very chill jazz in the background while we chat, drink wine and cook together.’