The new F1 Champagne partner Champagne Carbon celebrated its launch in the UK earlier this week. Fine and exquisite, the 2006 Vintage Carbon champagne was flowing from massive 6L bottles at the Kadies club in Mayfair well into the early hours of Thursday.
VIP’s including Joe Alvarez, Laura Pradelska, Dr Shirin Lakhani among others, were joined in a toast by the founder of the brand, Alexandre Mea. The Carbon Champagne Ascension Brut made of 46% Chardonnay – 24% Pinot Noir – 30% Pinot Meunier was savoured with fine and rich Exmoor beluga caviar harvested in Devon, UK.
Guests were able to appreciate the taste of this dry vintage champagne sipping from branded Carbon champagne glasses. A maturation of 5 years –in comparison to 18-month minimum requirement- allowed a very good development of aromas, with a subtle sugar dosage of 6 grams per litre. This vintage dry Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier champagne has a pale gold colour and a fine cordon of bubbles. The initial bouquet is complex with buttery, brioche aromas, and yellow fruit. (!)
The $3000 per Magnum bottle (1,5L) champagne privy to the Formula 1 has finally arrived to the UK. But Carbon appears to be a ‘very young champagne brand’. Alexandre founded Champagne Carbon in 2011 and 2006 Vintage Brut is their first champagne. So how such young brand got their foot in the F1 business?
Joe Alvarez and Dr Shirin Lakhani
Tamara Orlova-Alvarez and Guests
Joe Alvarez and Guests Carbon Champagne Launch UK
Exmoor Devon Caviar at the Carbon Champagne launch
Matt Valentine and Carbon Champagne Faux Pas
Brian Mulligan from Mode De Vive Carbon
Carbon Champagne Background
Alexandre Mea-Devavry (Alexandre Mea) – the founder of Carbon Champagne – is the son of Bertrand and Gisèle Devavry. Their tradition of wine growing – Gisèle Devavry Champagne House – goes as far back as 1920. Created by Georges Devavry, grandfather of Gisèle Méa Devavry, the family-run Champagne House is located in the village of Champillon. Alexandre’s mother Ms. Méa Devavry has been running the family business for many years. It is claimed she is at the head of a Champagne House.
Cuvee Carbon Champagne is Gisèle Devavry’s ‘best-kept secret’, might be also because Gisèle Devavry’s own champagne is hard to come by and will cost you up to £76 per bottle.
Lara Fraser Laura Pradelska
The Carbon Bottle
Presentation is the king. The patented carbon bottles are very costly to produce. Making the bottle takes over six days to complete with ‘more than 20 steps involved for the wrapping and construction of the bottle itself’. Four years of research and development were necessary to succeed in creating a 100% fine carbon fiber cover, claims the manufacturer.
What adds more complexity, is that the legislation for Champagne requires that the vinification process takes place in glass. The carbon coating, therefore, is applied after disgorgement, when the bottle is ready to be shipped. During the process, the bottles have to be kept under cold conditions, so as not to damage the champagne.
This process makes Carbon bottles unbreakable, as demonstrated at the launch party by the CEO of the UK distribution Matt Valentine. The 11kg 6L Methusalem bottle slipped from his hands. As he tried to save it he fell on the floor giving all guests a taster of how it feels like to be at the receiving end of Formula 1 Champagne spraying. The bottle stayed intact.
Sizes of Carbon Champagne Bottles
Alexandre Mea initially decided that the champagne would only be available in large format bottles: Magnum (1,5L), Jeroboam (3L), Methusalem (6L) and Nebuchadnezzar (15L) – ‘for maximum effect’. Let us assure you that normal size bottles were popped at the launch party along with formidable Methusalem. The normal size bottle will set you back £395.
What happens to the most expensive part of the Carbon champagne, the bottle, after the drink is consumed? It goes to the non-recyclable bin, dear readers. Carbon is definitely a go-to brand for those who love to collect champagne bottles, as binning it would be such a waste.
Building on The Shoulders of Champagne Titans
The notoriety acquired by the Devavry house allowed Alexandre Mea to be present at the Top Marques show in Monaco, where his team was presented to Prince Albert II of Monaco. In addition, Devavry has been the main partner of the Monaco Yacht Show, in honour of its Carbon Vintage Champagne. Not to take anything away from Alexandre Mea, it would be safe to assume that ‘building on the shoulders of Champagne Titans’ has allowed this seemingly young Champagne product to seal the deal with F1.
Alexandre Mea and Guests
How the tradition of Champagne Spraying at Formula 1 Began
Motorsport’s champagne spraying tradition started 50 years ago after Swiss driver Jo Siffert accidentally sprayed the crowd at the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours race when the cork shot out of a bottle of Moet warmed up by the sunshine.
The following year at the same race, American winner Dan Gurney recreated the moment and deliberately shook the bottle to cheers from the crowd.
Mumm, the Pernod Ricard-owned Champagne house, was Formula One’s most recent official champagne but that 15-year partnership ended in 2015. Moet was the official champagne supplier before Mumm.
Chandon, a Moet Hennessy-owned sparkling wine that sponsors McLaren and has vineyards in Argentina, the United States, Brazil, Australia, India, and China, stepped in as the replacement without fanfare and was used last season. However, it’s an inferior product, to say the least, compared to the real thing. Yes, I’ve tried it, and it’s horrendous.
Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Millésime Formula 1 Champagne
Since 2017, $3000 Carbon Magnum champagne bottles have been popped by each of the three podium finishers. Inside each bottle, sprayed on the podiums of some of the world’s most glamorous locations, is a world class Vintage 2009 Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru Millesime, consisting of 100% Chardonnay and created according to the traditional winemaking methods.