Champagne has always evoked thoughts of grandeur and opulence, but soon drinkers will be able to get their hands on an extra-luxurious bottling.
Biodynamic wine producer Leclerc Briant is launching the world’s first-ever wine fermented and aged in a gold barrel in 2021. The Champagne house claims the metal’s unique solar properties will improve the wine by increasing “the level of solar activity during the first fermentation.”
Speaking to the Drinks Business, Leclerc Briant’s head winemaker Hervé Jestin revealed the specially-designed barrel is made with stainless steel and lined with 24-carat gold. The barrel’s capacity is 228 liters and it’s currently holding wine from the 2016 vintage, made with grapes from its 0.6-hectare, biodynamically-farmed La Croisette vineyard.
Jestin admitted that while it’s a “very expensive” process, the gold in the barrel “makes a connection with cosmic activity,” an important part of biodynamic principles. He also noted that the wine stored in the gold-coated barrel tasted “completely different” from others made from the same plot but fermented and aged in other vessels.
“People might think that such experimentation is stupid, but by chance, we have a crazy idea that appears to be making a powerful improvement to the process,” he said. “We are here to make a great wine, and for that, you must experiment, and try to understand how nature works.”
Skeptics might note that fermenting and aging wine in a gold-plated barrel doesn’t seem all that “natural,” but we’ll hold our judgment until we’ve tasted for ourselves.