Virtual Wine Tasting
Better with Champagne:
An Effervescent Tasting with Ariel Arce

Thursday, March 25, 2021
6:30pm ET
Online • In English • 60 min

FIAF’s 2021 virtual Wine Tour de France kicks off with a Champagne and cheese masterclass guided by Ariel Arce, the “Champagne Empress of Greenwich Village.”

Known for her modern and lively take on bubbly, Arce will trace the evolution of Champagne and its most popular iteration: the Traditional Blended Brut. Over the course of the tasting, Arce will spotlight a new generation of winemakers and producers who are adding their own twists, melding traditional methods with progressive techniques: Aurélien Laherte, a seventh-generation winemaker from Laherte Frères; Quentin Paillard, an eighth-generation winemaker from Pierre Paillard; and Cristian Rimoldi, Export Director at Champagne Delamotte.

Each producer recommended a cheese to pair with their cuvée, showcasing the versatility of Champagne. The cheeses will be presented by Baptiste Elhorry from the French Cheese Board.

Nina Friend of Food & Wine magazine will moderate.

Featured Champagne

  • Laherte Frères, Brut Ultradition NV
  • Pierre Paillard, Extra Brut Les Parcelles Bouzy Grand Cru NV
  • Champagne Delamotte, Brut Tradition NV

Featured Cheese

  • Brie
  • Tomme de Savoie
  • Chabichou du Poitou

Better with Bubbles by Ariel Arce

Read Ariel Arce’s book, a deep dive into the world of Champagne and sparkling wine, with tips, information, and irreverent inspiration that will empower you to pop some bubbly anytime, anywhere.

Buy the Book

Ariel Arce

Ariel Arce is a New York–born entrepreneur and wine and Champagne lover.

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    • She started her career in Chicago at The Office and then Pops for Champagne, the “oldest family-operated Champagne bar in America”. Back in New York, she served as wine director for Birds and Bubbles and later Riddling Widow, which she bought in 2016 and transformed into Air’s Champagne Parlor. She went on opening three more locations: Tokyo Record Bar, Niche Niche, and Special Club. Each of them embodies her passion for wine, dinner, parties, and music. Dubbed the “Champagne Empress of Greenwich Village” by The New York Times, Ariel is considered leader in the wine industry and a tastemaker on the New York dining and entertainment scene. Her first book, Better with Bubbles: An Effervescent Education in Champagnes & Sparkling Wines, was published in 2020.

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Aurélien Laherte

Aurélien Laherte is a seventh-generation winemaker from Laherte Frères.

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    • Since 2005, Aurélien Laherte—a seventh-generation winemaker—has been giving a new dimension to the Laherte Frères. While following in the footsteps of his father Thierry and his uncle Christian—the Laherte brothers—Aurélien has become one of the most progressive and dynamic Champagne producers in the appellation. Blending family traditions with sustainable practices, the estate coaxes the best out of the terroir. Aurélien Laherte is also part of a progressive generation of young vignerons making waves in Champagne by producing terroir-driven wines using a natural approach to viticulture and winemaking.

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Quentin Paillard

Quentin Paillard is an eighth-generation winemaker from Pierre Paillard born and raised the Grand Cru village of Bouzy in Champagne.

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    • From an early age, he was immersed in all aspects of winemaking, from growing vines to making the wine to bringing it to sale. He earned a Bordeaux International Wine Institute master’s degree followed by positions in the wine industry in Washington, DC; New York City; and Shanghai. With a broadened experience in marketing, sales, and wine education, he returned to France where he was a sommelier and wine educator in Paris, teaching hundreds of wine classes at the respected O Chateau wine tasting center and wine bar. He currently splits his time between France, assisting his brother Antoine at key points during the winemaking process at Pierre Paillard, and the US.

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Cristian Rimoldi

Cristian Rimoldi is the export director of Champagne Delamotte.

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    • He was born in the Argentinian Pampa where his Italian great-grandparents planted vines in the sun-crushed plains. Rimoldi began his professional career in mass distribution before quickly becoming attracted to the world of selective distribution and luxury brands. After a stint at L’Oréal which exposed him to culture and traditions of France, he completed a Master’s degree in business and marketing at the IAE-Sorbonne in Paris, followed by an MBA in luxury management, specializing in his favorite subjects, gastronomy and wines. This led to a decisive encounter with the world of Champagne, first at the Salon and Delamotte houses and subsequently, at the Laurent-Perrier company headquarters.

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Nina Friend

Nina Friend is the associate features editor at Food & Wine.

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    • She writes the magazine’s monthly Backstory column and edits stories about chefs, restaurants, and food culture. Friend is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Previously, she worked at The Huffington Post, and her work has also appeared in Cherry Bombe and Bon Appétit.

Baptiste Elhorry

A cheesemonger specialized in French fromages, Baptiste Elhorry is the Retail & Operations Manager at the French Cheese Board.

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    • The French Cheese Board is a concept store and educational place located in the heart of Manhattan, and dedicated to the world of French cheeses and dairy products.

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