A meal with Franz-Olivier Giesbert, journalist

Sep 22, 2020 • 3 mins

An epicurean meal at Domaine Les Crayères (Reims), an intimate and convivial experience where Franz-Olivier Giesbert, editorialist, biographer and TV journalist, reveals their little secrets and first emotions about Champagne to Gérard Lemarié, Reims philosopher, for Grappers.

An accommodating vegetarian, a thorny journalist, a writer and television presenter, F.O.G. delivers a few of the secrets behind his close and long-standing relationship with champagne. Champagne Laurent-Perrier Grand-Siècle accompanies his lunch, a main course of seasonal baby vegetables, a crunchy drop of fromage blanc and fresh lemon with pepper.

Gérard Lemarié: What is the primary emotion you feel with Champagne?

F.O.G.: An emotion that came to me very young when I was around 10 years old. My parents often entertained at home, serving champagne and, secretly, I would finish their glasses. A loved Champagne from the very start and my “good drinker” status of quality drinks began with Champagne, about which I was educated by Richard Geoffroy (Cellar Master at Dom Perignon, Ed.). When I fall in love, champagne has the particular ability to make me very happy, even euphoric. I also remember a moment in 1982 when I was interviewing the Defence Minister Charles Hernu, I had a horrendous migraine and I said to myself “This is ridiculous - have a glass of champagne.”


With whom would you like to share this champagne?

F.O.G.: Champagne is always associated with a moment of sharing, generally with family and children. But I would have liked to share this bottle with writer and Academician Julien Green for whom the “Champagne moment” was an institution every day around 5pm. He was very demanding about quality. This champagne is an explosion in the mouth, the flavours don’t come all at once, unlike wine where there is more unity; here the flavours are sophisticated and many. You don't necessarily need to drink much Champagne but it has to be very good! It is hard to say you don't like Champagne!


Who would be the ideal guests to share this moment?

F.O.G.: For conversation, jibes and above all to hear him dish the dirt on everyone: Winston Churchill. Also, I would invite George Sand for whom I have a certain passion, for the woman she was, loved by so many exceptional men. And finally, Jean d’Ormesson because he was champagne himself!


What name would you give a champagne?

F.O.G.: Love and joie de vivre. One word isn’t enough! Sharing, Kindness, Communion, Humility... Like Spinoza’s philosophy, it puts us in harmony with the world.