A Year in Champagne (2014)

Martine Saunier,
With renowned wine importer Martine Saunier as our guide, we get a rare glimpse behind the scenes into the real Champagne through six houses, from small independent makers to the illustrious houses of Gosset and Bollinger.
  • 6.5 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Writer:
  • David Kennard, Director:
  • James Kennard, Jamie LeJeune, Producer:

Trailer:

/ 10

With all your rules and regulations (ridiculous pretentiousness) youstill can't live down California wine. It has beaten French wine andChampaign to a bloody pulp since the early 1970s. Wine made by totalhippies from 60's era Northern Californians. Judged by the French to bethe best of the best. You should all chill out and tour Marin andSonoma County take a limo-driven tour and see the American Redwoods forall their glory. It won't take long to figure out you're in God'scountry It would do all winemakers a true solid. Seriously, it's notthat serious and it's not rocket science. The love of the art does somuch more than pruning all your vines like your neighbor. Don't knockCalifornia. We make the best wine in the world. I challenge anyone,anywhere, simply because we are the best.

9 / 10

Champagne....it's not just for breakfast any more...

I knew the basics for how they made champagne--the region of France, the three grape varieties they use and the process by which they removed sediment from the bottles. But this is only talked about in detail at the very end of the film. What's before that is a look at the life of the champagne producers from several different houses--and how incredibly obsessive-compulsive they all are. This is NOT a process for folks who aren't obsessive....and the rules, rules, rules are often seemingly arbitrary. But all this make for a nice little film. Combining this story with lovely classical music, nice narration and rate glimpses at the families who live, breath, drink and think champagne all make a lovely film--one best savored by those who love this heavenly drink.

3 / 10

Flat

Subtitles are particularly crappy in this snail-paced look at Champagne. (Example: the "liqueur d'expedition" is NOT "liquor" but sweet wine.) For all the time spent ballooning over the vineyards and watching machinery turn, there's no single coherent explanation of what Champagne actually is, why there's a need to remove sediment after the second fermentation, etc etc etc.

And what's Martine Saunier doing here? She imports one of the central characters into the US but not a peep from her about how Americans perceive Champagne.

Writer-director David Kennard is also responsible for the equally dreary "Year in Burgundy."

5 / 10

A Brut (Dry) Documentary

(Flash Review)

The intent was to describe a full year, all four seasons, of growing grapes to make Champagne in the northern region of Champagne, France. An uneven amount of the focus was on how hard the cool climate is on the grapes. How much nurturing is needed and how frequently a harvest is fruitless; literally. There were the ubiquitous historic cellar shots with oodles of aging bottles. But nary a 4 minutes spent on why and how Champagne is different from wine; process or the artistic spin growers apply. There was some decent background and behind the scenes insights but maybe it just wasn't picturesque enough or informative enough and the key objective for me was that I was not enticed to go out and buy a bottle. As I had been after watching the two SOMM documentaries. SOMM: Into the Bottle is a much more informative and gets the figurative juices flowing.