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Cover Story WINE.LUXE Cover People | 2017  Nov - Dec 

The Inheritance of Knowledge  Champagne Sanger

知識的傳承讚頌

Making a prime quality Champagne is not easy! Thanks to the great determination, innovation, the elite winemaking skills of the winemakers and cellar masters, the Champagne exudes in poise palate and refined bubbles. Otherwise, the severely cool climate will harm the growth of grapes. Champagne Sanger is one of the classic house in Champagne region, which has allowed the student, teachers and professionals of Winegrowing school of Avize to create the astonishing wine together for ninety years. Nicolas Robert, the current Operation Direction of Champagne Sanger and Winegrowing school of Avize, as well as one of the veteran wine master, who believes Champagne is the representation of precious culture that deserve to inherit forever.

WL:WineLuxe   NR: Nicholas Robert

 

WL: Nicolas, could you explain us how Champagne Sanger plays an influential role to Champagne region?

NR: Champagne Sanger is known as “Champagne made by Champenois”, it has trained and taught over 85% aspiring Champagne makers professionally for 90 years. Throughout the continuous opportunities of learning and practices, most of the students grasp the profound wine-making skills. Part of the alumni even create stunning Champagne for their self-name brands or prestigious wine houses. In terms of cultural inheritance and the spread of image, Champagne Sanger offers enormous effort for Champagne region.

WL: What major lessons have you learnt in terms of being a former student and teacher of Avize?

NR: In fact, I could not be a skilled wine-maker without the direction of the teachers. The school has made me to understand Champagne is not a fine product for sales. In contrary, it is alive. It has different charismas as human, and evolve through continuous competitions and new techniques. After being a teacher, I always teach students with the combination of the knowledge I learnt before and new ideas and new techniques. While tasting with my students’ collection (no matter the products from Sanger or from other wineries), I feel very proud they totally apply my theories to make these distinctive quality and style wines. Champagne has legendary history, unique characteristics and great techniques, UNESCO even named its slopes, houses and cellars on its world heritage list. Therefore, this significant culture is worth for me to educate the students, as purpose to pass its charisma to the next generations.

WL: How does Champagne Sanger’s working environment encourages students, teacher and cellar master can work closely together for several decades?

NR: Our colleagues come from three hundreds different villages, their different backgrounds arouse different ideas and opinions. Thus, the teachers’ professional leadership guides them to think collectively, evokes their imaginations and generalize their opinions to discuss and make different fine wines. Our company also welcome all members bring grape varieties from their home village, as purpose for investigation, mutual learning and even winemaking. Each Champagne Sanger’s range (no matter Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs or Rosé ) posseses with the huge effort of our members and their own grape varieties, with the open mind education of the teacher , we builds a profound sense of belonging for them while working in Champagne Sanger.

 

WL: Besides the strong team works of the colleagues, what factor also contributes to the uniqueness and high quality of Sanger’s Champagne?

 

NR: There are several factors— the finest varieties and meticulous production. Champagne is a small but diversified region, the different terroir, soil texture lead to different characteristics of grapes. Champagne Sanger involves a domain of ten hectares of Chardonnay on three Grand Crus of the Cote des Blancs (Avize, Oger and Cramant), and each Grand Crus Chardonnay are distinct. Moreover, we also buy Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier from other villages, where we find the exceptional qualities to produce fine selective types of Champagne. With the detailed management of our winemakers, every grapes from every village is vinified separately, in order to extract their beautiful essence precisely and to offer great diversity to the wine.

 

WL: How do product ranges of your Champagne possess diversified and refined styles?

NR: Our house has taken pride in the excellence of its cuvées since its establishment— We have Terroir Natal, a very elegant and crispy Blanc de Blancs from areas of Avize, Cramant and Oger; Generosite Noire Brut is a Blanc de Noirs (blended with Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) that gives Voluptuously, full-bodied characteristics. Les Oublies 2005 is a pure Grands Crus Chardonnay from Avize. It expresses itself wonderfully balanced between toasty and fruity. A perfect expression of Chardonnay. Then we have Louis Eugenie, an award winning Champagne vinified in oakwood casks and ageing in bottles at least fifty months, it is an expression of profoundly beautiful essence of each grapes. We also have wide arrays of great ranges. Each of our product are different but they are totally representing the elite work of Winegrowing school of Avize and one significant Champagne house.

WL: As an Operation Director of Champagne Sanger, doyou have any expectation for the future development of the Champagne house?

NR: Lots of effort have been dedicated to transform Champagne Sanger into a beautiful brand, with our entire team from marketing research, packaging and winemaking. Everytime when I hear wine enthusiasts praise our product, it proves every colleague’s effort are paid. This happy news make us eager to focus on brand publicizing at other regions. House of Connoisseur is our Hong Kong agent, I believe he can promote Champagne Sanger in different channels effectively after our mutual understanding, in order to allow local and Asian wine lovers know our beautiful story, winemaking concept, as well as the refined ranges.

要釀造出品質卓越的香檳絕非易事!當地冷涼氣侯不利葡萄生長,絕對依靠釀酒師和酒窖師的持之以恆的決心、豐富創意和資深釀製技術,才可以賦予香檳高雅味道和細膩氣泡。在香檳區擁有悠久歷史的Sanger酒莊,過去九十年來一直由享譽盛名阿維茲釀酒學校的學生、老師和專業人士攜手釀造頂緻佳釀。

而現任酒莊及阿維茲釀酒學校的董事Nicolas Robert更是當中其中一位資深大師,對他來說香檳的意義是代表瑰麗的文化,很值得永遠傳承讚頌。

 

WL:WineLuxe   NR: Nicholas Robert

WL: Sanger酒莊怎樣為整個香檳區擔當重要影響角色?

 

NR: Sanger酒莊被喻為「香檳釀製者的香檳」,多年來一直為超過八成半的志向擔當香檳釀造者提供專業訓練和教育。透過不斷的學習和實踐機會,大部分學生領悟深厚釀酒技術。部分人士分別自立門戶,以及為其他顯著酒莊釀造十分出色的香檳。在擔當薪火相傳和發揚光大的角色,Sanger酒莊為香檳區確實付出莫大的努力。

WL: 在阿維茲學校你擔當學生和老師角色,當中有甚麼體會?

 

NR: 沒有良師教導我便不可能成為釀酒師。學校讓我明白香檳不是一件精美產品作為銷售用途,它是有生命的,如人一樣有不同的魅力個性,而且它透過不斷的競爭和新技術來演變進步。擔當老師後我經常引入新思想、新技術來滙聚以往所學的知識給予學生。當我品嚐我的學生的作品(不論是Sanger酒莊還是其他酒莊作品),品質和風格皆優異,這是令我十分驕傲的事情,因為他們完全應用我授教的理論來創造新的美麗作品。從中深刻明白知識傳遞的重要性,香檳的知識寶庫會一直傳遞下去,屆時由我的學生擔任我現在的職責。香檳有傳奇歷史,個性、技術,它的葡萄園、酒莊和酒窖更列入世界文化遺產。這項重要文化很值得讓我教育不少學生,並希望把這份魅力一直傳遞下去。

WL: Sanger酒莊怎樣促進同學、老師和酒窖師多年來一直融洽合作?

 

NR: 酒莊所有成員來自三百多個不同村莊,基於不同背景出現不同想法和意見,在老師的專業領導能力下,引導他們集體思考和激發想像力,並歸納他們意見來討論製造不同的佳釀。另外酒莊亦歡迎所有成員拿取自己村莊種植的葡萄品種來研究、互相學習,甚至釀造。Sanger每一款酒不論是Blanc de Blancs、Blanc de Noirs、Rosé都擁有酒莊成員的心血和自己葡萄品種,配合老師開放式教育,培養他們對Sanger建立深厚歸屬感。

WL: 甚麼原因令到Sanger香檳質數更高?

NR: 有數個原因—優美品種和精準製作。香檳區雖然細小但多元化,不同的氣侯及土壤衍生不同個性葡萄。Sanger酒莊擁有合共十公頃,來自Cote des Blanc三塊Grand Cru田地(分別在Avize、Oger和Cramant)的Chardonnay葡萄。另外我們更從其他村內購買Chardonnay、Pinot Noir和Pinot Meunier,當地的品種風格細緻,更可以釀造其他香檳種類。透過釀酒師一絲不苟的管理,來自每條村落的每款葡萄都是分開釀造,確保提取它們精髓和為葡萄酒塑造多元風格。

WL: 你們的香檳系列如何展現多元而頂緻風格?

NR:自開業以來我們對自己的高級特釀為榮—Terroir Natal是十分優雅和清脆白中白,從Avize、Cramant和Oger三處Grand Cru田地採摘葡萄;Generosite Noire Brut (由Pinot Noir和Pinot Meunier混合釀造)呈現誘人、豐厚個性。Les Oublies 2005完全由Avize的Grand Cru Chardonnay釀成,散發極緻平衡的果味和烤烘風味,可謂最完美的Chardonnay表現;曾經獲獎的Louis Eugenie經橡木桶釀造後於瓶中陳釀至少五十個月,呈現每種葡萄深刻漂亮精髓。我們都有不少其他高品質產品,每款雖然風格相異但同時都代表阿維茲學校的傑出工作表現和一間偉大的香檳酒莊。

WL: 作為Sanger香檳董事,對品牌的業務有甚麼期望?​

NR: 我們所有團隊不論市場推廣、包裝設計、釀酒都盡心把Sanger塑造成美麗品牌,每當我聽見品酒人士對香檳讚口不絕,證明我們每一個員工的努力也沒有白費。因此我們更注重在其他地區宣傳品牌。House of Connoisseur是香港的代理商,經過雙方會面理解後我認為他可以有效地幫助Sanger香檳在不同渠道推廣,讓本地和亞洲品酒愛好者知道我們的故事、釀酒理念、細緻品質系列。

Charles Belliard, Wine Specialist of House of Connoisseur (Left) is toasting with Nicolas Robert
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