Winemaker Interview: Remi Vervier

Posted by | Posted in Interviews | Posted on 10-18-2019

Remi Vervier

Remi Vervier

As our regular readers know, from time to time, we pose a series of questions to a winemaker to probe their winemaking philosophy and to gain insight into how they became who they are. This week, we are featuring Remi Vervier, the Managing Director and Oenologist of Champagne Palmer & Co.

Remi hails from a Burgundian winemaking family. He was born in Macon, and grew up around the family vineyard in Pouilly Fuissé. He returned to the region after his studies to work at Louis Latour, before joining Champagne Palmer & Co in 2010.

Champagne Palmer & Co. was established in 194 by seven growers. Its wines are created from 415 hectares of vineyards, across forty crus. Once vinified and blended, Palmer’s wines undergo extended sur lie aging – far beyond what Champagne’s laws require – which I think helps impart Palmer’s house style, marked by richness and lusciousness.

Check out the interview below the fold!

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Macon in the South of Burgundy.

When and how did you get into wine?

My family has a vineyard in Pouilly Fuissé. I have always been in the world of wine, since I was a child, playing in the vineyard or in the winery with my brother, who now runs our family vineyard. Wine has always been a strong part of my life.

What has been your career path to where you are?

I chose to study agronomy, then oenology, and then I started my career in Burgundy, becoming Technical Director for the House of Louis Latour, where I stayed for over 10 years before joining Champagne Palmer & Co in 2010.

In your view, what makes your vineyards special?

With no doubt the amazing terroirs of the North face of the Montagne the Reims are very special. Premier and Grand Crus of Trépail, Villers-Marmery for the Chardonnays, and Mailly, Verzenay, Rilly la Montagne, Ludes or Chigny les Roses for the Pinots Noirs are just fantastic, and contribute strongly in the Champagne Palmer & Co fingerprint.

What is your general winemaking philosophy?

Time is essential in winemaking. Find the perfect moment for harvest, take time for fermentations, take time for decision of blending, and leave the wine on lees for many years to achieve the perfect balance. Managing time is one of the keys to the Champagne Palmer winemaking process. “What is done with time, Time will respect it,” wrote Rodin. This maxim could be applied to Palmer & Co.

What’s your biggest challenge as a winemaker?

The biggest challenge happens every year! When you have to compose with what Mother Nature has given, the big challenge is to make the right decisions to maintain the very high quality standard of Champagne Palmer.

Who are your favorite winemakers in history, through personal account, or their wines?

I really like the approach that Ricard Geoffroy had for Dom Perignon, and I think that Michel Rolland has done a lot for winemaking in general.

What’s your favorite wine region in the world – other than your own?

After Champagne and Burgundy, I am a real fan of Tuscany and the romantic glamour of its endless rolling hills, cypress-lined country roads, and hilltop villages. Its vineyards produce an array of internationally recognized wines in various styles.

What’s the best wine you’ve ever tasted? The most interesting?

I have a memorable feeling of a Cheval Blanc 1982 . . . a precious moment.

What’s the oldest bottle in your cellar? The most expensive?

We still have 7 bottles of 1947, the first vintage from Palmer & Co – these are priceless and not for sale!

What’s open in your kitchen right now?

Nothing is open, but there is always a bottle of Champagne Palmer & Co in the fridge, ready to be opened when friends come. You know the adage: “Always keep a bottle of Champagne in the fridge for special occasions. Sometimes, the special occasion is that you’ve got a bottle of Champagne in the fridge.”

If you had to pick one red and one white to drink for the next month with every dinner, what would you choose?

A top red Burgundy like Romanée Saint Vivant or La Tâche, and a magnum of Champagne Palmer & Co Blanc de Blancs.

Is beer ever better than wine?

I really think that there are moments for beer and moments for wine. And I never say no to a good pint of a glorious Ale.

How do you spend your days off?

I spend time with my family and we love to travel the world all together. During the weekends I like to cook at home for dinner with friends.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I really don’t know. Maybe my fear of snakes!

If you weren’t making wine for a living, what would you be doing?

This is the best career I could have possibly chosen, but I am pretty sure I would have done something in the world of gastronomy. I could have embraced a career as a chef.

How do you define success?

Success is the feeling of happiness you have when you achieve what you wanted to achieve.

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