In cold Sweden, the last of April is the date when the arrival of spring is traditionally celebrated. It happens in a similar way as the Germans celebrate their Easter and the Finns their midsummer. That is, with large fires that spread fragrance and warmth around the country and kingdom. The dead and rotten must be set on fire and make room for the new budding life. Usually it is really cold and the winter struggles into the last. Two years ago, a good friend and I sat defying the cold in the drizzle and drank walpurgis-blanc de blancs from Roederer and Count Dampierre, chewing horrible amounts of German asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Last year, the bar was raised and we gathered our families and brought in a chef who used the same German delicacy as a starting point while I picked up 16 fantastically caring-scented blanc de blancs from my cellar. A tradition was created!
This year, the same beautiful gangs gathered around the same theme. After another inspiring look in the cellar, the level of ambition grew and the end result was that we came to taste no less than the 42 top blanc de blancs that exist today, without any gaps. The eight gaps in the cellar was aided by the champagne houses to fill willingly. Our little private tradition became one of the most comprehensive and complete blind tastings of its kind that the world has seen. The vintages varied a bit, but the focus was naturally on younger accessible wines. No house was allowed to have more than one wine represented and all wines came recently or completely directly from the cellars of the houses in the so-called vinothéque version. Some historical names such as Pol Roger Grauves, Venoge Des Princes and Laurent-Perrier Millésime Rare were thus missing because they are no longer produced. I also took the opportunity to invite the master photographer Pål Allan who photographed the strange exercise for my new book ‘A scent of Champagne’ where I evaluate as many as 8,000 different champagnes.