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 Hungarian Champagne lover Péter Tüű. Merci Péter!
My name is Péter Tüű. (Quite unusually, in Hungary we use family name first and given name second.) Currently my primary job is as Head Sommelier in the Michelin-recommended restaurant Laurel Budapest, but I am also working as a consultant for restaurants (wine programs, wine lists, etc.) and wineries, as well as a lecturer at several wine education institutions and courses. I also have a few recurring masterclasses, the ‘Food and wine pairing in practice’ being extremely popular among aficionados.
To be honest, I cannot remember the exact date when I fell in love with champagne, but it must have been somewhere around 2011 when I was working in Switzerland. Another milestone was when I visited Champagne for the first time a few years later, when a lot of things became clear about the region that cannot really be taught in a classroom but must be experienced firsthand. Tasting the base wines of Larmandier-Bernier from those beautiful Stockinger barrels, or taking part in the ‘Vin Clair’ Tasting at the Maison of Bollinger were really life-changing experiences. So, no matter when my love for champagne started, it surely still lasts! Recently, I have taken the Champagne Master-Level Course at Wine Scholar Guild, and passed the exam with Highest Honors, which I am really proud of and which helped me to even better understand this favourite drink and wine-region of mine.
Which Champagne would You treat your parents or in-laws?
‘On the 1st birthday of our little son we toasted with Bollinger Special Cuvée and my mother loved it very much, and since she likes to stick to tried-and-tested things, I would serve Bollinger for her. My father is a huge James Bond fan (not as huge as me!), so I would treat him Bollinger as well – same champagne for a different reason!’
Which Champagne would You treat your lover?
‘She prefers her champagne very very dry, so I would definitely go for something like Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut or Louis Roederer Brut Nature. But she also loved Agrapart ‘Terroirs’ Extra Brut the other day, so I might as well get her another bottle of that.‘
Which Champagne would You treat your boss?
‘My boss is rather a Blanc de Blancs guy, so I would present him one of my new discoveries: Étienne Calsac L’échappée Belle Extra Brut.’
Which Champagne would You treat yourself?
‘My most recent „Oh my God!” experience was with Pierre Gimonnet Special Club 2014. It was so light and easy-going but still so deep and structured, so floral at the front yet so chalky in the finish, so youthful and vibrant yet so layered and complex that it really blew my mind. So why not have another bottle? Or case ... ‘
Which Champagne would You treat a dream guest, and why?
‘I would invite (or rather visit :)) Gérald Passedat, the chef of Le Petit Nice in Marseille with 3 Michelin stars. One, because I love his philosophy, two, because I love the Mediterranean (his primary source of inspiration) and three, because probably the most interesting aspect of champagne for me is pairing it with food. So I would bring all kinds of bottles of champagne with me representing every style possible (brut nature vs. extra dry, normal bottle vs. Magnum, Blanc de Blancs vs. Blanc de Noirs, younger vintage vs. older vintage) and try them with his different dishes created with fresh fish, crustaceans, shellfish, etc. I would describe the winning pairings in a nice little essay sitting on his terrace at sunset and then die a happy man. 🙂 ‘
[ what piece of music would you listen to drinking wine with Your dream guest ?]
‘I love great music as much as the next guy, be it rock, opera, movie score, musical, you name it – but I also admire silence. So if I would like to concentrate on the champagne in front of me as much as possible, I probably would require silence around me. But if it is drinking champagne for the fun of it, then it can be a lot of different pieces of music. No Guns n’ Roses or Mötley Crüe this time, since they don’t really go with champagne, although one of GnR’s covers might have a distant connection to a certain champagne-loving secret agent .. Let’s say ‘Some Girls’ by The Rolling Stones or ‘Rio’ by Duran Duran could be a pretty good accompaniment to sipping champagne.’