For champagne that is. This is a PG-13 show. Meet Thomas, a world traveler living in the countryside of Champagne in France, who is bringing us the most distinctive selection of bubbles from specialty houses that normally don’t sell outside France. This is the real deal — we’ve had top somms in NYC over and introduced them to labels they are now clamoring to put on their wine list. What’s even more compelling is that these bottles start at 30 euro. There is no one that is bringing the quality and value of champagne like this to the US, so you too can drink champagne like water.
Galavante: Thomas – you had us at Champagne. We’d love to hear more.
Thomas: Why thank you! I’m so excited to be sharing my venture, Champagne Gems by Thomas. I moved to Champagne almost 4 years ago with my family, after living abroad in the Seychelles. We are from France originally, and when it came time for us to start our own family, we wanted to be closer to our home. My wife started a job with the beautiful hotel, Le Royal Champagne, and we settled into a lovely house in the countryside. We quickly became part of the local community, and we would find these incredible champagnes made by local growers, who only produced for their friends and family. We were so excited to share our finds with our neighbors over the fence as we caught up with them about our days. So it was from that neighborly exchange that Champagne Gems by Thomas was born, which is a collection of what I call the jewels of our region.
Galavante: Wow, what a romantic start to the business. So is your family in the Champagne business?
Thomas: No, actually I was born and raised in Normandy, but I’ve traveled to every little corner of France for work. One of the first cities I lived in after leaving Normandy was Epernay, which as you know is Champagne. I stayed there for only few months, but I fell in love with the beautiful region of Champagne and developed my strong interest for the bubbles! However, I continued to grow my career in the events field, organizing roadshows for few brands, which of course brought me to Paris, where there were great opportunities.
Galavante: So how did you go from Normandy, to Epernay, to Paris to the Seychelles?
Thomas: My wife Jennifer and I love to travel, and we were young and wanted to experience an adventure. Jennifer was hired for the opening of a luxury resort in the Seychelles, that was part of the Six Senses group. It was a fabulous, life-changing experience for us to move to the Seychelles, and to work with such an exceptional hotel portfolio. I worked for them as well and had the opportunity to learn first-hand about the standards of the luxury hotel industry and I was especially inspired by the sustainability approach of the brand. Our eldest daughter, Mahe, is named after the island we lived on in the Seychelles.
Galavante: We’re seeing a theme here – that goes right along with Valentine’s Day. Romantic way to start a business, romantic way to start a family. So what brought you back to Champagne?
Thomas: As I mentioned, with Mahe arriving, my wife and I wanted to put down roots, and also be in an area where I could develop my business. I created my own company of private drivers and guide driving tourists in our beautiful region with 100% electrical Tesla cars.
This is really where Champagne Gems by Thomas took off. As you can imagine, this took me to hundreds of different Champagne houses and wine makers. I was lucky to build very special relationships with some exceptional people. During the first lockdown in France last year, I decided to develop a new branch of my services and to create a collection of my favorite champagnes for sale. I had this idea in mind for few months already, as my guests who were in the actual champagnes import businesses, were already asking for my recommendations.
Galavante: Well if that’s not a seal of approval, I don’t know what is. Can you share with us what makes these champagnes so special?
Thomas: Wine is a totally personal experience but these champagnes are, in my opinion, pure gems for few reasons. First, they are made by passionate winemakers, who all share a sustainable approach of producing wine. Second, they are all rare to find. These are all small quantity produced, and you won’t find these in your local store in NYC. Then third, and as important or more for most, each champagne tastes incredible and will leave you with a beautiful memory. The champagnes I have selected have their own unique signature, and a chance for each person to individually connect with their own favorite. I love the Dom Perignon famous quote, “Come quickly I’m tasting the stars”.
Galavante: We’re coming! How do we order?
Thomas: By email at email@example.com or by WhatsApp/SMS at +33769761075. I will save you a glass of champagne!
Champagnes on the List
Les vins de mon village
L’extra Or d’Eugene
Terre d’Illite 2015
Bonus: Thomas’s Favorite Meal to Pair with Champagne
Champagne is an easy drink to pair. In fact, you can have champagne for an entire meal. Some of my favorites are: oysters, which goes very well with the champagne « Anecdote » by Cedric Moussé, sushi, cheese, like high quality aged Parmesan, or a good piece of barbecue beef, with a O2 rosée by Marc Augustin.