Hello wine lovers and happy wine Wednesday! I hope you are well and enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day! This week I thought I would give you some fun insights into my Master of Champagne class that I am enrolled in.
Our class yesterday was presented by Peter Liem, MW, who is based in Reims, Champagne. Liem ends his hour class with a look into champagne and pop-culture. It lightens the tone after an intensive one hour session on villages, soil types, dominant grape varieties and topography. Yes, all very interesting with highly important information, but I love that Liem brings champagne into todays world…
Liem told us about Branson B. who was named ‘Hip Hop’s unofficial Sommelier’ by Forbes. In the early 90’s, this graffiti artist and pioneer developed a love for champagne. He preferred Veuve Clicquot to Möet & Chandon and introduced Notorious B.I.G and Puff Daddy/P. Diddy/Sean Combs to his drink of choice and it seems like hip-hops’ obsession with champagne was born. Branson B. has gone on to develop his own line of champagne with Guy Charlemagne with some impressive results!
Champagne references in hip hop peaked in 1999. It seemed like everyone dropped the names of their favourite bottle of bubbly along with their favourite ride (Mercedes, Lexus, Porche, Bentley) and clothing or watch designer…it was about ‘bling’ and champagne fed nicely into this excessive lifestyle…
‘Cristal’ by Louis Roederer was the bottle of choice in the early 2000’s. But then, Roederer’s president in 2006 implied that he wasn’t really a fan of the attention the hip hop community brought to the brand. So, it is OK to bask in the clout of rappers rapping about your product but you’d rather a different type of consumer? Hmmm…
What does a famous hip hop artist do when the president of the company of his favourite champagne slams his community? He boycotts it and finds another champagne brand worthy of his money and respect. Enter Shawn Carter (Jay Z). Carter is not just any rapper – he is hip hop’s biggest star, an insanely successful business man, married to Beyoncé, a lover of champagne and now the proud owner of Armand de Brignac “Ace of Spades” champagne brand that happens to be currently rated as the best champagne in the world! Boom! ($349.99 BCLDB)
Indeed, champagne and hip hop go together like craft beer and hipsters. Personally, I haven’t tried ‘Cristal’ or ‘Ace of Spades’ so I can’t weigh in with my opinion – yet! I like having champagne brands on my bucket list to try. What is on yours?