Every Friday TheChampagneSommelier will ask 5 questions about 5 coeur de bouteilles to friends and Champagne lovers from near and far. This week we had a champagne chat with our dear friend Santa Bernahl.
BIO Santa Bernahl
Santa Bernahl is a passionate champagne and Burgundy lover who is constantly traveling around the world for new culinary and wine experiences. She in Diploma program of WSET school in London, currently studying winemaking in UC Davis in California.
She is a founder and owner of Magnum Bar, an award winning premier champagne and wine destination, as well as Signature Wines, a boutique importer of France’s top wine & champagne brands in the Baltic countries. Her wine distribution portfolio consists of Champagne Pierre Peters, Champagne Dhondt-Grellet, Eric Rodez, Vilmart, Comtes Lafon, Les Héritiers du Comte Lafon, Marquis d’Angerville and Trimbach to name a few.
Before starting her wine business, she had extensive experience in public relations and marketing working for top international agencies. Later she went on to open her own agency, which did work for brands like Chanel, Red Bull, KLM airlines, Bentley, and others. She also spent 6 years as an Editor-In-Chief for one of the world’s most influential women’s magazines, Cosmopolitan.
Besides professional career in marketing, PR and wine, she is also a passionate music lover and DJ, who has played in parties and events around the world. Flying planes is another big passion of hers, she has a pilot license.
Here in California her family own and operate a portfolio of hospitality projects as well, most notably the festivals Pebble Beach Food and Wine and the Los Angeles Food and Wine Festival in addition to restaurants.
Her favorite food and wine sin: Vintage Krug and perfect french fries.
Which Champagne would You treat your parents or in-laws?
‘I would bring ‘Cristal’ to my in-laws, my husbands mom adores it and I love it too.’
Which Champagne would You treat your lover?
‘I would treat my husband to a bottle of iconic vintage champagne, like Krug ’88 or Vilmart ’79 or Pierre Peters ‘Lés Chétillons’ ’88.’
Which Champagne would You treat your boss?
‘I don’t have a boss, but if I did – I would choose a bottle of Legras & Haas ‘Cuvee l’Exigence’. It is very elegant yet discreet and it would be a nice discovery for someone who is not in the industry, thoughtfully curated gift.’
Which Champagne would You treat yourself?
‘I love vintage Salon, anytime, but my recent favorite is PIper-Heidsieck ‘Rare’, such a beautiful champagne.’
Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why?
‘A dream guest would require something very special, with a story. I like to surprise people with something they don’t know or have not had, I think a 1976 bottle of Taittinger ‘Comtes de Champagne’ would be a great one to make an impression.’
PS2 [ what piece of music would you listen to drinking wine in question 5 ? ]
‘I would play Jules Massenet’s solo violin Méditation from opera Thaïs. The Méditation is an instrumental entr’acte performed between the scenes of Act II. In the first scene of Act II, Athanaël, a Cenobite monk, confronts Thaïs, a beautiful and hedonistic courtesan and devotée of Venus, and attempts to persuade her to leave her life of luxury and pleasure and find salvation through God.
It is during a time of reflection following the encounter that the Méditation is played by the orchestra. In the second scene of Act II, following the Méditation, Thaïs tells Athanaël that she will follow him to the desert. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of the classical music and it would suite this exceptional champagne perfectly as well as serve as a great background for a conversation with a dream guest.’