Meet Gaelle Goossens—young, tal­ented and leav­ing her mark in the wine world


Meet Gaelle Goossens—young, tal­ented and leav­ing her mark in the wine world

Her par­ents were doc­tors who brought her along when they trav­elled around the world on med­i­cal mis­sions. From them, she cul­ti­vated a love for travel. But it was from her grand­mother, who brought her up in the coun­try­side of Cham­pagne, that Gaelle Gossens cul­ti­vated a love for the vines. As a child, she loved spend­ing time with her grand­mother, who grew grapes and from whom she picked up wine-grow­ing ba­sics and tips.

It was only in 2012, af­ter a stint in Aus­tralia study­ing For­eign Pol­i­tics, be­fore Gossens of­fi­cially en­tered the wine world. Armed with a post­grad­u­ate de­gree in bio­chem­istry and oenol­ogy, she cut her teeth at var­i­ous cham­pagne houses. To­day, the 33-year-old is part of Veuve Cliquot’s De­vel­op­ment, In­no­va­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion team, where she is in charge of the press­ing cen­tre in Cote des Blancs and the Chardon­nay vini­fi­ca­tion dur­ing har­vest.

Gossem was in Sin­ga­pore to cel­e­brate the 200th an­niver­sary of the blended rosé by Veuve Clic­quot. The cham­pagne house was the first to blend red wine grapes with still white wines, break­ing with tra­di­tion and re-in­vent­ing the process of mak­ing rose cham­pagne. The re­sult is a rosé cham­pagne with a strong dis­tinc­tive char­ac­ter, one that stands up par­tic­u­larly well to meats and stronger flavoured foods.

In Sin­ga­pore, Goossens led a tast­ing that fea­tured the Veuve Clic­quot rose NV, the Vin­tage rosé 2008 and the La Grande Dame rosé 2006. We took the op­por­tu­nity to catch up with her.

Do women make wines dif­fer­ently and/or bring a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive to wine?

Yes. We are usu­ally more sen­si­tive than men. We ap­pre­ci­ate fi­nesse and ele­gance in wine. Mak­ing fine wines is much more dif­fi­cult than mak­ing ex­pres­sive ones. Find­ing a bal­ance be­tween both is an art, and that might be some­thing we are good at.

How would you de­scribe your ap­proach to wine?

My ap­proach evolves with time. I used to like ex­pres­sive wines and was look­ing to make them this way. Now, I am more fo­cused on fi­nesse and com­plex­ity. It is ex­tremely dif­fi­cult to blend wines and get that fi­nesse at the end.

What is your favourite style of wine to make and to drink? I en­joy old vin­tages the most be­cause I like the com­plex­ity that comes with wines when they age. Time is a key fac­tor when you make wine. Also, when you make vin­tages, you are fore­cast­ing what the wine will be­come, which is some­thing that you’ll never be able to fully pre­dict. It’s a risky game.

What is it about cham­pagne that keeps you in­ter­ested?

I am fas­ci­nated about cham­pagne age­ing. Old cham­pagnes are so com­plex and unique. Cham­pagne wines are very dif­fer­ent wines when they age. They get more in­ten­sity, have more ex­pres­sion, and they re­main fine and el­e­gant, but and much more com­plex. Also, in terms of sci­ences, there is not much we know about this process of age­ing and all the re­ac­tions that bring new aro­mas. I find this fas­ci­nat­ing and mys­te­ri­ous.

There has been a lot of talk about cli­mate change and its im­pact on the vine­yards and wine­mak­ing. What are your thoughts on this?

I be­lieve that cli­mate change will make wine­mak­ers adapt their prac­tices and re­act quicker in the event of sud­den bad weather.

Where do you see the wine­mak­ers mov­ing to­wards in the next 10 years?

I see us be­ing more sus­tain­able in the next 10 years.

There are many fa­mous quotes about cham­pagne. What’s yours?

I like Madame Clic­quot’s quote: Only one qual­ity, the finest.

Of the vin­tages tasted, which would be your per­sonal pick—the vin­tage rose 2008 or La Grande Dame Rose 2006?

The vin­tage rose 2008 be­cause it pairs with more choices such as red meat, fish, raw tuna, spicy food, Asian food, etc. I am a real foodie!

How do they fit within the Veuve Cliquot reper­toire?

The Vin­tage col­lec­tion ex­presses the long time spent in cel­lars (Cray­eres), the art of blend­ing and grand cru. It is full-bod­ied, with large struc­ture, deep aro­mas and is very ex­pres­sive. It has lots of Pinot Noir char­ac­ters as well. It be­gins first with the aro­mas of fresh red fruits (straw­berry, rasp­berry, cherry) com­bined with cit­rus fruit fra­grances (grape­fruit) that match per­fectly with the lightly spiced notes of cin­na­mon and vanilla.

Grande Dame 2006 ex­presses the ter­roir of Veuve Clic­quot and the best wines from it. It is a se­lec­tion of eight grand crus and the pres­ti­gious Clos Colin. You will find sa­line and min­eral back­ground (chalk ter­roir) with red fruits notes (Morello cherry, wild straw­berry, red cur­rent). In the mouth, it’s full of sub­stance with a crispy and silky tex­ture. The fin­ish is long and coats the palate.

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