As one of the first female Champagne makers in world and working for the second oldest Champagne House in the world, Isabelle Tellier has brought the Russian inspired Champagne Tsarine to life. The two blends, Premium NV and Rosé NV were recently launched in Australia and are a perfect example of how Isabelle has brought a feminine touch to the wines of the Chanoine Frères house. We catch up with Isabelle to hear about what her life looks like in Reims, the unofficial capital of the Champagne region.
I usually wake up rather early in the morning and often get up before my alarm goes off around 6:00am. I begin my day with a few stretching exercises, followed by having a mocha made with reseeded pure ground coffee from Ethiopia, which is a fine, tangy and fruity coffee. With this I eat rye bread with homemade jam – I’m currently obsessed with quince paste, or with acacia honey. I appreciate this peaceful moment in the morning while catching up on the news of the day.
During the Day
After getting ready for my workday at the winery, I drive from my home for 30 minutes to Reims, a route that I know as well as the back of my hand after driving it for the past 19 years.
I start each day by going around the Chanoine Frères winery greeting my team and checking that everything is under control. It’s very important for me to be fully invested in all the stages of the production. After having ensured everything is going smoothly, I work on the plans and initiation for the different stages in the process of producing our wines, such as the harvest, fermentation, blending, tirage, “prise de mousse” and many other complicated steps.
Throughout each day I get to do a lot of testing of our wines at the different stages, so that I can keep track on the progress of the winemaking. It’s an exciting job and this year’s harvest shows fine quality. Much like many other Champagne vineyards this year, the harvest was very early. Bleeding began in late March, followed by leafing-out, formation of the bunches, flowering and the first fruiting; all stages of the vines’ vegetative cycle have come early this year.
This year the ripening of the grapes was very rapid in early August, which then slowed as a result of drought and we observed sunburn where the grapes on the sunny side is exposed to the excessive sun.
After I’m done with my day at the vineyard, I often appreciate relaxing, either by running, doing Pilates or some exercises with gym balls. I also love cooking and create small dishes with local and fresh produce. The dinner during the week will be rather light and rich in vegetables.
In the evening, I like watching movies, read decoration magazines or cookbooks to find new inspiration. I usually end up going to bed around 10pm. On the weekends, I spend quality time with family or friends. These are magical moments where we go on little getaways to other regions to discover new things.