The Passionate Perfectionists
Creating the incomparable takes time. It requires the finest materials, the most knowledgeable experts, and meticulous attention to detail. But it can never be achieved quickly.
Champagne Carbon was created in 2011 by Alexandre Mea, the heir in the fifth generation to the Devavry family, who set up their viniculture in Champillon in 1920 - incidentally, just eleven years after Ettore Bugatti had founded his factory at Molsheim 300 km eastwards.
While the Devavry family has always been a smaller but highly exquisite viticulturist, Alexandre Mea however sensed the opportunity to create something even more exclusive than the oldest vintages of his grandfather. After more than four years of research and development into a bottle wrapped in carbon as an advanced technological counterpoint to the traditionally selected and hand-processed grapes of the vineyard - 15 hectares in size - he founded Champagne Carbon in 2011.
Only the finest fruits from Grand Cru and Premier Cru regions are harvested and picked by hand in a process that involves the entire team, including CEO, Alexandre Mea. The growth of these grapes is carefully monitored by Alexandre. There is only a small window during harvesting season in which the grapes can be collected, and chosen for their size, fulness, and color. To be closer to the product, Alexandre even built his house on the vineyard.
Just like Bugatti, for Carbon, the final product is achieved through the best process. Where large producers may store their wines in big stainless-steel vats, Champagne Carbon is held in traditional oak barrels. They must be turned, cleaned, and delicately refilled each day to account for evaporation; a task that falls to one man, who cares for every barrel individually at Champagne Carbon's Maison. These barrels provide a core structure to the wine as it draws flavor out of the wood; notes of spices that provide a depth and character often not found in wines produced on a more industrial scale.
After months in the oak barrel, the wine is transferred to a bottle where it will age for at least 6 years in the Carbon cellar. The creation of the Champagne Carbon for Bugatti collection - composed only of "vintage" wines, i.e. a minimum of 3 years in the cellar according to the Protected Appellation - is an artistic journey; there are no cutting corners in the pursuit of a masterpiece. The champagne must be light and elegant, with soft bubbles and a richness of taste that is only possible with aging from at least 10 to 20 years.
Just as a beautiful canvas deserves an elegant frame, the wonderful vintages of Champagne Carbon are filled into an intricately crafted bottle. A carbon fiber wrap, constructed over the course of 37 complex stages, is applied to the bottle and is available in a range of different finishes. This unique application helps to protect the wine within from light, keeping the taste unchanged over time.
Alexandre Mea, CEO of Champagne Carbon, said: "We have always strived for excellence with Carbon. Whether it is the approach to champagne, its container, or the experience that results from each of our tastings. This appetence for the sublime is reflected and shared by our partner Bugatti. We both seek to push the limits of possibilities and create the un-imaginable in our respective fields. Constantly looking for new challenges, our only motivation is to honor our history while leaving our signature, which remains embedded in our vision for the future."
In 2018, Champagne Carbon and Bugatti officially announced their collaboration, united by this relentless pursuit of perfection. Champagne Carbon understands the important weight of history within Bugatti. Their first product was the ƎB.01, marking the 110th anniversary of Bugatti with a 2002 vintage made from 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir. The following year, the latest creation from the Carbon vinotheque was revealed: ƎB.02. Created to celebrate the first anniversary of the Chiron Super Sport 300+ becoming the first production car to break the 300mph barrier, this 2006 vintage Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru features notes of grilled bread and almonds. It's stored within a black carbon fiber wrap, highlighted with accents of orange, just like the record-breaking car.
In 2021 came the most spectacular manifestation of the partnership yet: La Bouteille Noire. The 15-liter bottle of 2000 vintage, a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, was encased within a unique hand-crafted carbon fiber sculptural representation of Bugatti's haute couture creation: La Voiture Noire2. The case opens and closes at the push of a stainless-steel button, bathed in a gentle blue light. The doors themselves are trimmed with a piece of laser-cut aluminum, mimicking the central fin of the Type 57 SC Atlantic, and open with technical hinges and a bespoke transmission to reveal a sumptuous interior. As the doors gently unfold, another automatic system releases the neck of the bottle, which is secured while closed.
This year, inspired by the Bugatti Bolide's unprecedented driving experience and design, an ƎB.03 was created, featuring a dual-tone exterior of both blue and black carbon fiber - a first within the Champagne Carbon For Bugatti Collection. The Bolide's striking "X" design motif, which dominates both the front and rear of the car, is hallmarked on both the right and left side of the ƎB.03 bottle. The vintage 2013 Blanc de Blancs is the result of a cold and wet winter in 2013, followed by a cool spring and a late grape harvest. Such conditions produce an intense and fresh wine.
Wiebke Ståhl, Managing Director at Bugatti International, said: “Champagne Carbon is a business with so many parallels to our own, from its century-old heritage and spectacular home to the high emphasis on quality and perfection, no matter the complexity. In the four years of our partnership, we have seen some extraordinary vintage champagnes and unique bottles produced for Bugatti and we continue to work together on new ways to share our combined passion for the very best.”