The L’Art du Vin philosophy is that we don’t need an excuse to pull the cork on our favourite bottles. However, with signs of normality emerging after a difficult time for everyone, there’s even more reason to enjoy a glass of something a little bit special.
And we’re clearly not alone, although that desire to enjoy wine with a meal or on its own is nothing new. Throughout history, some great figures have seen it as a way to make life more enjoyable or, in some cases, just a bit more tolerable. We sought some inspiration from important characters of the past, and we’ve matched it up with suggestions from our current list.
“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.” – Benjamin Franklin
Franklin was the founding father of the US, and an all-round clever guy. His roles included writer, politician, scientist, inventor, statesman, and diplomat. He spent a decade as American ambassador to France, so if he were seeking a recommendation from our current list, we might point him in the direction of a classic French wine.
So, Mr Franklin, may we suggest Volnay Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Henri Lagrange from Burgundy. The estate has been managed by the Delagrange family for six generations. At present, Didier Delagrange is at the helm. He has modernised the process while retaining many traditional techniques, and the Volnay Vieilles Vignes is a superb example of his output. This is a fantastic Pinot Noir which has velvety, morello cherry flavours that Benjamin Franklin would surely approve of.
“Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.” – Louis Pasteur
Health has been high on everyone’s agenda over recent months, so it’s interesting to know that Pasteur favoured wine as part of an overall regime. As a scientist whose discoveries included vaccines and, in the context of wine, fermentation and, of course, pasteurisation, his talents would surely have been in demand right now. His views on winemaking would also have been interesting.
We suspect Pasteur would have been a fan of this Prosecco from Casa Belfi in the Veneto. It is unfiltered and biodynamic and, as a result, can be extremely cloudy. All stages of the production processes are eco-friendly, from the use of natural manures and green fertilisers in the vineyard, to gentle crushing of grapes in the winery.
And, being a man who liked to experiment, Pasteur would surely also have taken great pleasure in shaking the lees at the bottom of the bottle to add a buttery- spicy flavour to his bubbly.
“In victory, you deserve Champagne. In defeat you need it.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
We couldn’t fault Bonaparte’s approach to finding an excuse to enjoy a glass of something sparkling. Alongside his many military successes, he had a few bad days at the office in the course of his 51-year lifetime. We’re sure the bitter taste of defeat could be sweetened by a flute of non-vintage Billecart Salmon from a Champagne house that was founded three years before Napoleon’s death and is still run by the original family, now in its seventh generation.
Our choice for the Little Corporal is a blend of 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir. The most recent bottling is a light and delicately fruit-filled cuvée with aromatic and spicy notes from the Pinot Meunier, together with redcurrant, chalky notes and hints of ripe pears – a perfect way to unwind after a tough day out conquering neighbouring countries.