Champagne Besserat
de Bellefon


Interview with Sarah Simson of Le Gloug Gloug

“I love this Champagne!”

With that bubbly and enthusiastic introduction, Sarah proceeded to fill me in on the delights of this 175-year-old Champagne House. Besserat de Bellefon (BB) was founded in Aÿ in 1843 by Edmond Besserat who became recognised for his skill in crafting exceptional cuvées that were served in the best restaurants and hotels. BB Champagne came to be linked with French icons and success. It was selected for the 50th Anniversary of the Liberation of Paris and BB was served on Air France’s Concorde flights. It has also been served at the Élysée Palace, the Moulin Rouge, and the Louvre. Today, BB is the exclusive Champagne of the Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez regatta, so while it may be new in South Africa, it is a well-known and revered Champagne in France.

Why does it stand out for you?

In South Africa, we celebrate diversity, and this should be reflected in the Champagne we drink. Each Champagne House has a story and a philosophy which results in distinct wines, allowing us to be more eclectic in the choices we make. BB Champagne has unique flavour profiles. It is subdued and sophisticated. The BB term “Frenchytude” sums up the French appreciation of freedom, elegance and simplicity, which are celebrated in the separate BB product lines. It is a Champagne of finesse, not fussiness – illustrating that every day should be an occasion!

Also, they have a strong, experienced female CEO, Nathalie Doucet, who is committed to developing women in the industry. I love that women are becoming front runners in this industry.

How do BB achieve this “Frenchytude”?

BB prides itself on being a gastronomic accompaniment through its timeless signature “The Cuvée des Moines”, a unique process which is created by two special processes: a lower “liqueur de tirage” (a mix of sugar, yeast and must) at the moment of bottling which creates a lighter, silkier effervescence. This results in a pressure of 4.5 bars instead of the usual 6 bars, hence the bubbles are 30% finer than a traditional Champagne. Also, the absence of malolactic fermentation gives the Champagne a freshness and crispness, whilst allowing for greater ageing potential and longevity.

The estate owns and grows 15-20% of their own Premier and Grand Crus which are farmed according to the House’s values. Besserat de Bellefon is deeply rooted in the Marne Valley where Pinot Meunier is the most planted grape variety, as a result, they rely strongly on Pinot Meunier to add depth to some of the varietals.

Quality and elegance are the House standards and that is why there is a commitment to not overproduce. BB is specific about distribution; this is not a brand that is readily available on bottle store shelves; it is only available at boutique wine stores and exclusive restaurants.

Which cuvées are your favourites?

The Blanc de Blancs is the flagship. I was blown away the first time I tried it. This is a glorious wine that celebrates the characteristics of Chardonnay at their best; and of course, there is the Cuvée Brigitte Bardot Sec – another French icon - which is sourced exclusively from five Grand Cru and two Premier Cru villages, it is so complex and beautifully balanced, that you may not be able to tell it is a Sec.

As Charles Dickens said, "Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life. Experience BB to reignite your Joie De Vivre”.

“You cannot teach or learn BB; you share BB, you tell BB, you live BB!” Cédric Thiébault Cellar Master

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