Earlier this year, we got to meet and chat with Didier Mariotti from the famous Champagne house of G.H.MUMM. He has the prestigious role of “Chef de Caves” (cellar master) but interestingly his background involved specialising in beer. He did an internship in Champagne and never looked back.
The House of G.H.MUMM can be found in the region of Reims, northern France and is the country’s number 1 selling champagne (and 3rd in the world).
We asked Didier a few questions while he was in South Africa…
1. Is there a secret to sabrage? If so, would you share it?
Be gentle with the bottle. Don’t try and break the bottle. Every bottle has a weak point and you need to know where it is. From there, it’s more about speed and impact.
2. How would you describe champagne to someone with no taste buds?
Bubbles… fresh and fruity.
3. How do you think SA MCC (Methode Cap Classique) could be made better?
I’ve never tasted it so I cannot say.
4. How many bottles of champagne do you have in your fridge at any given time?
Uhhhh.. not so many because I have a very good cellar that keeps the bottles at the optimum temperature. So I would probably have just one in the fridge ready. If I need more, I can just go to the cellar.
5. Which part of the champagne-making process are you most passionate about?
Blending. It truly is the art of making champagne.
6. What are some of the current trends in the champagne industry?
We are seeing more and more champagne connoisseurs that are looking for wines that express terroir or vintage. We have a few limited edition products for these consumers.
7. What advice would you offer to someone who is starting out as a winemaker?
Be humble – because everything comes from nature. You need to listen to nature and you need to listen to the wine.