The ‘passive drinker’ of champagne

The empire Moët & Chandon has managed to build mythomaniacs of their bubbles

Isabel Chuecos-Ruiz. 05/05/2015
Distintas clases de champagne
Isabel Chuecos-Ruiz in Moët y Chandon
Isabel Chuecos-Ruiz in Moët y Chandon

1. It happened this summer, actually it happens every summer, when I go to a hotel I always find someone drinking champagne, even at breakfast time. They drink almost without realizing it, they are what I call ‘passive drinkers’ and as it was expected, they are fond of Moët & Chandon. They are that kind of drinkers subjected to the branding of the momento, anywhere in the world we witness the iconic image of Moët & Chandon, but that makes sense, it is the general taste and the brand has managed to build mythomaniacs of its bubbles.

But, how to turn around the myth? Curiously, without giving much explanation of what is a champagne, they have made it understandable. Sometimes, when curiosity overwhelms me, I ask them why they are drinking Moët and they simply answer me: ‘because I like it’. It is clear that the fate of the brand has always been linked to ‘passive drinker’. Meanwhile Moët & Chandon, displaying his social position, he has managed with exquisite elegance and subtlety, to catch a consumer maybe uninterested in exploring the concept champagne.

Viñedos de Moët & Chandon
Viñedos de Moët & Chandon

2. I use the story of this example to show the inertia and resignation of the consumer when he chooses a champagne for its moments of luxury.I have to say that I am not against the brands, but the archetypal answers bother me and I’m not willing to follow the crowd. The champagne is an art and we are hostages of the great brands and they threaten to overwhelm us. So I want to stress that, in my opinion, a wine must have, above all, personality. So I’ve said a hundred times that in the world around the champagne, sooner or later, something will happen.

3. This week, for instance, I have visited six Champagne growers, who are the other side of the coin. Small growers (vignerons) whose virtue is loyalty to a territory, and there is no good champagne quit the landscape. The potential of these wines that offer a personal and eloquent definition has no limits. I propose not to exclude the known and start a tour of these other venerable champagnes, often ignored but less superficial than the repeated and uniforms. They are less predictable and more intense than the powerful and diffuse.

Distintas clases de champagne

And as a privileged spectators, we should learn to distinguish between the wines that are living in one dimension, and the others that spread themselves in many directions and leave a mark. In this attempt to synthesize the reality of champagne, and apart from the brands, I confess that the curiosity makes me navigate between these two divergent worlds. As Marcel Duchamp said ‘I have always forced myself to settle contradiction to avoid my own taste’, but in any case I can say that I am a ‘passive drinker of champagne.


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