I interviewed Odilon de Varine just a couple of months after he became chef de cave for Gosset, following the death of Jean-Pierre Mareigner. I think it was July or August 2016.
The setting is different from usual: the video was shot at the wine bar “L’Evoluzione di Darwine”, a very elegant place in central Kobe with an equally interesting name (commonly shortened in “Wine Bar D”).
First of all, could you introduce us Gosset style and phylosophy?
Wow, how long do you have to explain all of that? I think that the most important thing for the Gosset wine is to have pleasure to drink it. Pleasure to drink it and to share it
What would you tell us about the style?
It is based on freshness and elegance, but you cannot have freshness and elegance if you do not have a backbone behind, to let the wine express.
You are famous for avoiding malolactic fermentation. Why is that? What would malic acid bring to your wine?
We keep the malic acid, it is natural in the grapes. It is the acid of the fruit, the word malic coming from “malus”, apple in latin. We want to keep it to enhance then freshness, the elegance and the fruitiness of the wine.
What about the only cuvée that does malolactic fermentation, the Brut Excellence? Do you do that to achieve more balance?
Well, as we say in France, “every rule has an exception”.
You have been appointed cellar master recently, June 2016. Will we see any changes in how the wine is made, maybe new cuvées or novelties?
I hope that you won’t see a big difference, it’s not the purpose, it’s not the aim. Probably there will be some slight modifications from year to year, but that’s all. I want to keep the same style and philosophy that Jean-Pierre (ed.: Mareigner had for 33 years. I don’t want to change it, it’s not my goal. I will just make small adjustments, because if you don’t change at all you end up going backwards.
Talking about novelties, I could taste today the “15 Ans de Cave a Minima Brut” and it was great. Could you tell us why you decided to make this cuvée and why did you wait for 15 years to release this delicious wine?
It’s our last “baby”, even if it’s fifteen years old now at least. We just wanted to show that Champagne is a wine that you can cellar, that you can keep in your own cellar for fifteen years or even more. The idea was to show that a non-vintage could age like a vintage or probably even better than some vintages.
What is your favorite Gosset champagne and why?
Well, do you have children?
Yes, one! (ed.: well, at the time at least)
Oh, so you have got a favorite. I have got several and I can’t tell which one I prefer. That’s the same for the wine.
I would say that it depends on the moment. It depends on the moment, it depends on the time, it depends on the people that I am drinking with and sharing it. For sure I would not drink the same wine in Summer or Spring and in Autumn or Winter, but I love all of them. That’s my principal problem!