The glittery pink jewels that sparkled in the light attracted the fashionable crowd at The Ritz Carlton Nomad ‘Champagne and Art’ event as they seemed like bejeweled beacons that called out to the sophisticated guests. As one approached closer and closer, the exquisite shapes and brilliant colors of the gems were even more impressive and as some of the guests would sneak a touch of these sparkly treasures, around bottles of oustanding Vintage Rosé Champagne, they were further astonished by the overall lightness of being that gave these jewels an otherworldly quality.
As one of the fabulous attendees gazed with amazement at these gems, a French artist, William Amor, started to explain how he can create jewelry and flowers from waste… yes, waste such as plastic bags, plastic bottles and even cigarette butts, to name a few of his materials. His flowers are just as bewildering as his gems as even to the human touch they seem so real one starts to second guess whether there were some real flowers placed among the fake ones made from waste; but no, they were all crafted from trash and sculpted by human hands.
Maud Rabin, director at Rare Champagne, orchestrated a fantastic event at The Ritz-Carlton Nomad, in Manhattan, New York City, to launch the 2012 ‘Rare’ Rosé a couple of weeks ago and the event illustrated how the values of Rare Champagne are intrinsically connected to those of William Amor’s creations. Rare Champagne first found notoriety among the royal court of Queen Marie Antoinette when she tasted the first ‘Rare’ cuvée back in 1785, and the current ‘Rare’ wine label, a golden lace crown, is symbolic of its noble origins.
Maud says the qualities she and her team look for in creating a ‘Rare’ Champagne are “boldness, elegant freedom and creative energy” that is ultimately a “truly transcendent Champagne .” Emilien Boutillat, the chief winemaker of ‘Rare,’ further noted that he, Maud and their team all work together in regards to staying true to the style as well as being ruthless when it comes to the selection process in finding the most extraordinary vintages. Of course, the most influential person in deciding the epitome of Rare Champagne is the former chief winemaker, Régis Camus, who was there for almost 30 years and received the prestigious title of “Sparkling Winemaker of the Year” eight times. Régis was leading the team when the final blend was decided for the 2012 ‘Rare’ Rosé, as well as determining when the ideal time was to release the wine onto the market regarding its stage of evolution in bottle. And Maud noted that she and Emilien are like Régis’ “babies” to whom he is handing over his remarkable legacy, so he is continuously checking in with them which is very convenient for Régis as he lives down the street.
Emilien spoke about the range of vineyards that they used in 2012 to create the Rare Rosé Millesime cuvée, which includes eight Grand Cru and three Premier Cru vineyards as well as one that is not classified under Champagne designation, a Pinot Noir vineyard that is in the south of Champagne, closer to Burgundy, and it makes the red wine they use to add color and an extra complexity to the final blend as all the other Pinot Noir grapes in the blend from the Grand Cru and Premier Cru sites are gently pressed off their skins quickly, producing white wine and so the color comes from this particular plot. The 2012 Rare Millésime Rosé is given the name “Virtuoso” as it expertly balances a generosity of fruit, floral notes and spice with the minerality and freshness at the soul of ‘Rare.’ The Rare Millésime Brut and the Rare Millésime Rosé are both made up of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape varieties, with Chardonnay dominating in both, such as the 60% Chardonnay in 2012 Rare Millésime Rosé.
The dominance of Chardonnay, specifically with some plots based in cooler sites in chalky soils, is a key part of the ideal expression at the core of ‘Rare,’ giving it an overall elegance and minerality. Interestingly, exotic tropical notes are also part of the key to a cuvée worthy of being called ‘Rare’ as the Chardonnay from cooler sites will retain most of their aromatic profiles including the tropical notes that are burned off first in warmer sites. Hence, notes such as lychee fruit will be present.
‘Rare’ has partnered with French artist William Amor and his Créations Messagères creations to produce Mathusalem 6-liter bottles of 2012 Rare Rosé Millésime that have his exquisite ornaments of “flowers” and “jewels” adorning these stunning bottles of champagne. William became obsessed with inventing a way to transform abandoned plastics, and other items considered trash, into poetic messengers that bring attention to the single-use materials of the world having catastrophic effects on the Earth; also, with the help of a grant, he has been able to purchase 19th-century tools for flower-making, hence, keeping an ancient art alive yet with a modern twist of bringing attention to the dangers of certain materials.
Immediately, it is evident that the Créations Messagères and 2012 Rare Millésime Rosé Champagne share a unique beauty. Still, there is a deeper connection with ‘Rare’ becoming a certified B Corp, which indicates a high standard concerning social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. Sustainability doesn’t only apply to the impact on the environment under a B Corp Certification but the sustainability of establishing and continuing a good working environment for employees is also part of the commitment. A further connecting bridge is an awareness of protecting vulnerable people, such as employees, or those who could have their full potential underestimated, such as people living with disabilities, as William Amor started a program at his workshop where disabled people can tap into their creative power.
When one thinks about dreaming of an aspirational lifestyle surrounded by luxury products that represent the height of social prestige and material success, there can be a disconnect between the outstanding craftsmanship of the product versus the ideal ethical standards that should be part of such a rare gem. Often those rare goods were part of destroying precious resources or damaging a community or a lot of lives lost just to acquire a precious object that was so rare. But as younger generations are demanding immediate action regarding the climate change crisis, they are putting their money towards things that align with their concerns and ethics. A product that isn’t part of the good fight will never have any value to those who are most worried about the fate of the human race.
As there is a shift in younger buyers of luxury products who only support goods that share the same values as themselves, one can start to become hopeful that the most sought-after items will have to be part of ensuring a better future.
Just imagine that one day, the epitome of luxury could be represented by a gem created by a passionate artist, who made something so uniquely beautiful that it was truly “rare” but, in this case, did not come at a human price.
***Link to original article on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cathrinetodd/2022/10/27/rare-champagne-wine-producer-displaying-its-environmental-commitment-through-art/
2012 Rare Rosé Millésime Champagne: 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. 12 Crus of which eight are classified as Grand Cru and three as Premier Cru. Intense minerality on the nose such as broken chalk with notes of cherry blossom and rose petal with a combination of exotic lychee fruit combined with brambly forest fruit and juicy peach on the palate enhanced by orange zest and cardamom pods with extremely fine bubbles that create a silky texture and long, expressive finish.