My second interview, this one too from 2016. Secondé-Simon is a quite different reality from Philipponnat, a small producer (just 6 hectares) and récoltant-manipulant which is quite a recent player in the Champagne field (1983).
Jérôme Bôle, who manages both the winery and the vineyard, is also a very different character from Monsieur Charles Philipponnat whom I had interviewed before: where the latter is more talkative, outgoing and clearly used to speak in public, Monsieur Bôle seemed more shy and more a technician than a marketer. It has been a pleasure to have him and his wines.
What is the style of Secondé-Simon?
We make Champagne only with our grapes, from our plots that are treated separately during the process of pressing, in order to have different wines at the end and to make the best Champagne possible.
What is the charm of a récoltant-manipulant, as opposed to a négociant?
For me the récoltant-manipulant tries first to make a champagne that he himself can enjoy and then he hopes to give pleasure to his customers as well. This is a bit different from the big brands which generally study the market and decide the style of their wines accordingly.
What is the charm of the Ambonnay terroir, where you are based?
Ambonnay is very well known for the quality of its Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir in Ambonnay is very full body and the big brands like to make it the backbone of their wines.
What Japanese food would you pair with Cuvée N or Cuvée V?
With the Cuvée N I would say white fish sushi, while Mélodie for example is better with salmon or fish with a more expressive taste.
You also make a millesimé which is 95% Chardonnay, which is quite rare in Montagne de Reims. Why did you make this choice?
Because everyone knows the Chardonnay coming from Côte des Blancs, but that from Ambonnay is not known, so this is way to show to our customers that we have a very good Chardonnay there as well. Chardonnay in Ambonnay is very different from the one in Côte des Blancs, it is very round and gives in our millésime an easy to drink champagne, very round and full, although of course not as full body as the Pinot Noir.