Champagne is the drink of choice for those who appreciate that true luxury cannot be bottled on demand.
Despite a growing demand and supply for affordably priced champagne, Frédéric Mairesse, Managing Director of Champagne Barons de Rothschild, explains this is not possible in the long-term as the costs of producing a luxury champagne continue to increase. If you appreciate an excellent quality champagne, expect to wait for it, and to pay for the pleasure.
The Rothschild family name is synonymous with quality. They have earned and maintained their reputation for centuries, and they are not going to relinquish it by cutting corners between their vineyards and your champagne glass.
The Rothschilds have established their name in banking, business, philanthropy, art, and of course, wine. In 2005, three branches of the Rothschild family came together to create a champagne befitting their collective legacy, and this Champagne Barons de Rothschild was born. Their creations include Barons de Rothschild Brut, Barons de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs and Barons de Rothschild Rosé.
Frédéric attributes the success of the Barons de Rothschild brand to the Rothschild’s commitment to consistent quality. He adds that it is in the Rothschild family’s DNA to be conservative and discreet, so there is no need to rush a product to the market until they feel it is ready. By law, vintage champagnes must age for a minimum of three years, but time is not an issue for the Rothschilds because they aim to be the best. They will age their champagnes for five to eights years until they are satisfied that it is ready for market.
I mention that time is still money for any business, but Frédéric smiles as he reminds me that the Rothschilds are not nouveau riche, they are one of the wealthiest families in the world, so time is a luxury that they can afford. Time is more important than money when it comes to preserving the Rothschild name. Ironically, Barons de Rothschild remains competitively priced alongside other luxury champagne brands, yet enjoys an unashamed position of exclusivity in the market.
If time is not not an issue, I have to ask Frédéric what is an issue for the Rothschilds. He explains that their main issue to create a product that is in harmony with the family values of quality. Everyone involved in any undertaking that carries the Rothschild name must be respectful of that legacy – which Frédéric attributes to their primary goal of protecting their brand “not for the son, but for the grandson.
Frédéric reiterates that the Rothschilds have made few mistakes since their foray into wine-making. They’ve always done a good job maintaining consistency through thegenerations for eight generations. Sometimes family names disappear after a generation yet the Rothschilds have maintained theirs through consistency and excellence.
They’ve also maintained very exclusive distribution to avoid being perceived as a mass market brand. This includes using their family and business networks who have elected to serve their champagne at all of their formal events and functions, worldwide, to stand behind their product.
All Champagne Barons de Rothschild champagnes are subject to rigorous testing and blind taste testing. Frédéric briefly outlines their tasting criteria which leaves very little room for doubt. Their champagnes need to be unequivocally brilliant before they are allowed to enter the market.
I try to not sound flippant when I mention that what passes for a bad wine from Barons de Rothschild can still make for a good glass from someone else. Frédéric smiles as admits that what is not good enough for Barons de Rothschild is perfectly good to drink under someone else’s label, but wines that don’t pass muster under the Rothschild’s name are declassified and sold wholesale to other wine brands. It can be a costly write-off but the Rothschild’s obligation to clients expectations needs to be consistent. I assure Frédéric that I wont mention these brands under any circumstance if he chooses to share their information with me but he doesn’t.
Instead, we raise our glasses of Brut to toast discretion, nobility, and, of course, Champagne Barons de Rothschild!
Champagne Barons de Rothschild is distributed in South Africa by www.meridianwines.co.za.