Thierry Lombard, president of Lombard & Cie -- rated as one of the five top winemakers by Dussert-Gerber -- is a third generation wine maker. He was recently in Mumbai to launch two new champagnes. CS caught up with him for a small interview.
Heart and soul
The House of Lombard was founded in 1925 by my grandfather. I took over in 1980. For us, the champagne business is not just about money. It's our passion. You can't produce great wines with only money. It needs your heart and soul.
I believe that no technology can replace the nose, the tasting and expert eye of the cellar master during the blending process.
Champagne is a lifestyle statement in itself. It reflects fine living. Unlike beer or vodka, champagne doesn't have a casual appeal. It stands for elegance, class and hi-fashion. I always say that champagne is a naturally elegant drink.
In India, champagne was known as a celebratory drink, but it is gaining a lot of popularity nowadays. Unlike in Australia, Italy and Spain, there is sparkling wine production in India.
The local brands have popularised wine and champagne here, and people are eager to experiment with different varieties. There are a number of champagne events in the city, which is a good sign.
A great combo
The best time to enjoy champagne is before a meal. In fact, a bubbly champagne can balance the spicy Indian food very well. The fruity taste of the drink complements the rich spices. You can drink it before a spicy meal or at night post-dinner.