Bernard Henri-Levy : « Champagne is one of Nature’s Wonder »

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BHL reminisces with a hint of nostalgia his past experience with Champagne

When was your last cup of Champagne ?
Bernard Henri-Levy : In Saint Paul de Vence, four years ago, during a somewhat wild Christmas dinner at the Colombe d’or. I was with some friends and my daughter Justine, and her boyfriend Patrick Mille. Just for fun, we started drinking bottom’s up some glasses of Champagne, standing on top of the tables. The other guests, whose identities I shall not reveal, called it a day after the second bottle. Patrick Mille lasted a while. And I must honnestly admit that I was the one who brandished, like some kind of a trophy, the very last cup.

Without getting drunk ?
Of course, a little bit yes. But I have this physiological oddity in me, to have the ability to drink heavily, and sometimes more, and still go unnoticed.

What about your very first glass?
Probably in 1971, the day when fresh out of the Ecole Normale Dupérieure, I was accepted for the « agrégation » of Philosophy.

Rather Brut, Millésimé or rosé ?
No ideology here. As a young man, I favored any Champagne offered to me. Today, I relish good Champagne.

How far would you go for a glass of Champagne ?
Not too far really, because I would soon replace it by some vodka. I used to love vodka.

Ice cubes in Champagne ?
Heresy !

What if you were to chose between Cheval Blanc and Dom Pérignon ?
Dom Pérignon, more likely. But thanks to Father Pérignon, whom I consider as the inventor, or at least one of the inventor, ahead of its time, of modern oenology.

Amélie Nothomb speaks of Champagne like a work of art ; what about you ?
It is not a work of art but rather one of Nature’s marvel. And a result from the association between Nature and Man’s craftsmanship. Again, turn to Father Pérignon. He possessed a true science when it came to mixing. A science for exquisit tastes.

Orson Wells used to say : « There are three things in life that I just cannot stand : hot coffee, warmluke Champagne, and frigid women. » What do you think ?
I do not drink coffee. Warmluke Champagne is truly awful. And when it comes to frigid women, presomptuous is the man who pretends he never met one. Baudelaire, on the other hand, did not dislike them.

Franck Leclerc

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