As panic set in, the married couple who held titles of nobility ran around their well-appointed home as they tried to seek out their precious Fabergé creations that were priceless to both. As the Queen was making a last-minute visit to their estate, it was vital for them to find every piece of Fabergé and hide it from her possible line of sight. As the Queen was an avid Fabergé collector, it became known that she could spot a piece “from 30 paces away.” If she liked such a piece in someone else’s home, she would hold it in her hand, staring the owner in the face until he conceded, “Your Majesty, would you like it?” And so, as word got around of such instances, many would hide their Fabergé as they didn’t want to part with some of the most beautiful creations in their homes.
Such a delightful story was shared by Philip Birkenstein, CEO of Creations Theo Fabergé, who was illustrating the importance of Fabergé among many generations of the British Royal Family that goes back to Queen Victoria and fiercely continued with Queen Mary, who was the avid collector above, and is still alive today. And even though the Fabergé family, well-known jewelers who created the famous Fabergé egg, built their business in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the Fabergé family established a branch in London, in 1903, the only branch outside of Russia, as the Royal Family’s love for Fabergé made them some of the most sought luxury items in London as well as around the world.
In 1918, The House of Fabergé in Russia was taken over by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Revolution, and everything was confiscated, ending The House of Fabergé. Yet one of the Fabergé family members stayed in London, even after the business was no more, to raise his family, which included a son named Theo, who was born in 1922. Theo would eventually continue the art of making these wonderful Fabergé eggs, not allowing an incredible legacy to die. Today, to honor the 100th anniversary of his birth, there is a Theo Fabergé Edition collaboration with a unique Champagne producer, as Theo loved Champagne.
Champagne Château de Bligny
But Theo Fabergé needed to find a Champagne house that was as uniquely beautiful as their stunning creations, and finally, Château de Bligny became the ideal choice for their Champagne collaboration.
First of all, Château de Bligny is the only Champagne house that is a château, as family owner Jean-Rémy Rapeneau explained that it was built in 1773 during feudal times, but would eventually be taken over by a nobleman who had a passion for making sparkling wine. Jean-Rémy’s family bought the château and its estate vineyards in 1999, as his family has been Champagne producers since 1901, and they were looking for a special grower Champagne to purchase in the southern part of the region. The estate has a Clos (walled vineyard), and with only 39 registered Clos existing in the Champagne appellation, it is a further aspect that makes this estate rare. But that is not it, when it comes to the uniqueness of this property, as even though most Champagne producers only use the grape varieties Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier in their Champagne blends, this Clos has six of the seven allowed grape varieties planted in it, so it includes Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc; Arbane and Petit Meslier being rare white varieties with Petit Meslier being a great asset during warm vintages as it retains its acidity even in hot weather.
And so, it is the only Champagne producer that is a château and the only one with a Clos planted to six of the allowed varieties. Just like the exquisite creations that Theo Fabergé crafted with his own hands when he was alive, the 2013 Château de Bligny ‘Clos du Château’ that is accompanied by the breathtaking Champagne Egg coaster by Creations Theo Fabergé, is on another level of beauty.
A Legacy Reborn
Theo Fabergé was known as a great craftsman in his own right as he had won many awards for his talent as he excelled at the ornamental turning technique that was also used to create the Champagne Egg for Château de Bligny on a Holzapffel lathe built in 1860. The body of the coaster is made from brass, sterling silver and gold, and it is hand-faceted with six rubies, Theo’s favorite gemstone.
But what is interesting is that at the beginning of his career as a craftsman, he refused to make the eggs that made his family’s legacy so famous. It may have to do with the fact that he wanted to find his own way, or the idea that his grandfather died of a broken heart after the Russian Revolution destroyed everything his family built, and so, the eggs would be a painful reminder. One day, Theo, crafted a little object for a boy down the street, and a woman ran in after she saw this creation and thought he was finally making eggs. “It was a nothing,” Theo told the woman, and the woman retorted back, “Worse than that, it looks like a doorknob,” and she insisted he make an egg for her right there. Something about that exchange lit a fire under him, and he made his first egg. Still, it was going to be an extension of him as well as his family’s legacy. Hence, he designed a collection of ‘objet d’art’ that were each personally made by Theo himself, which was atypical as his grandfather rarely made his own designs.
Jean-Rémy Rapeneau, follows in the footsteps of his own legacy that goes back over 120 years in Champagne, and his family is going back to their century-old roots by buying a grower Champagne estate, all grapes coming from their own vineyards and reviving rare local grape varieties that have almost disappear, like Arbane and Petit Meslier, in some ways it was going back to the tradition centuries ago, yet today it is considered highly unorthodox.
Separately, both have given a rebirth to their respective heritage, and together they celebrate the glory of being descendants who continue a great legacy, taking the more challenging path in making that legacy awe-inspiring.
***Link to original article on Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cathrinetodd/2023/06/19/a-special-champagne-wine-a-clos-growing-six-different-grape-varieties-launches-stunning-faberge-edition-for-5400/
2013 Château de Bligny ‘Clos de Chateau’ 6 Cépages Millésime Brut Nature Champagne (Theo Fabergé Edition): Blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Arbane, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc. This is the first vintage Champagne made by Château de Bligny, and the 2013 vintage is a great one. Lemon blossom with broken limestone and candied lilacs on the nose with creamy lemon curd on the palate with fine bubbles that caress and a very long, expressive finish. $5,400