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Gastronomy and Wine Portal

Victoire de la Dignité

Victoire de la Dignité – blending Ukrainian art’s expressiveness with the allure of champagne

17.07.2023, News Автор: Anna Dembitska

Recently, the Ukrainian city of Kyiv witnessed the unveiling of a remarkable limited edition champagne named “Victoire de la Dignité” or “Victory of Dignity.” The proceeds from the sales of this exclusive champagne will be directed towards the Main Military Clinical Hospital of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and mobile military hospitals. Our Drinks+ journalist had the opportunity to interview the ideologist behind this philanthropic project.

The limited edition of Victoire de la Dignité comprises 2388 collectable bottles, created specially and exclusively for Ukraine. However, its uniqueness doesn’t end there. Victoire de la Dignité goes beyond being mere champagne; it is an exquisite collection of art objects. The labels of each bottle showcase reproductions of six paintings by contemporary Ukrainian artists, symbolizing the nation’s spirit of victory. These labels were crafted at the renowned Eclair printing house, which specializes in collaborating with esteemed Champagne brands. The entire collection was made possible through a charitable initiative initiated by the esteemed restaurateur, Mariia Didkovska, who partnered with the prestigious French family Champagne House, Pierre Morlet.

Located in the heart of Champagne, Avenay-Val-d’Or, Pierre Morlet is an independent Champagne House with a rich legacy spanning four generations. The Morlet family has been dedicated to producing robust and harmonious wines and nurturing vineyards in the region’s finest areas. Setting their vineyards apart is the unique use of a terraced cultivation system, a rarity for this region, which required complex creation and organization processes. Over 12 years, the Morlet family crafted this system by hand, combined with the region’s exceptional chalk-rich soil and moderate climate, creating an ideal environment for cultivating Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes.

Victoire de la Dignité

Victoire de la Dignité was born from the 2015 harvest, which faced a threat due to an exceptionally early winter. The entire family worked tirelessly, day and night, using special burners to protect the vines and ensure full ripening of the grapes. Their relentless efforts resulted in the creation of this extraordinary champagne. Comprising 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir, sourced from Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards, Victoire de la Dignité has been aged on lees for over six years, boasting ageing potential until 2030 when stored in a 10-12°C wine cellar. The Millésime qualification is backed by the meticulous process of manual harvesting and sorting. Victoire de la Dignité is available for purchase on the website and at the Citronelle restaurant.

On the artistic front, the project draws inspiration from Ukrainian artists. Oleksii Apollonov, Mykola Bilous, Olena Pryduvalova, Maryna Skugareva, Oleksandr Sukholit, and Oleh Tistol are the talented artists who infused their spirit into Victoire de la Dignité.

Victoire de la Dignité

The original paintings, reproduced on the champagne labels, are being showcased at the National Art Museum of Ukraine during the “Anticipation of Victory” exhibition from July 6 to 20. This exclusive event offers visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of art and experience the creative essence through installations featuring the artists’ workshops.

Victoire de la Dignité

Mariia Didkovska, the driving force behind this generous initiative and the owner of Citronelle restaurant and Saint Bar, has actively engaged in charitable initiatives for over seven years, her noteworthy projects being “Open Music of the City”, “Ode to Independence”, “Winter Wonders”, “Sounds of Peace”, “For the Sake of the Future” and many others. During the full-scale invasion, her charity funds have raised over 5 million hryvnias to acquire essential surgical and laparoscopic instruments for military mobile hospitals.

Марія Дідковська

During the presentation of the Victoire de la Dignité project, Mariia shared her thoughts and insights with our Drinks+ observer about her collaboration with the House of Pierre Morlet and her visions for this champagne and future endeavours.

Drinks+: You previously collaborated with the House of Pierre Morlet to create champagne for your restaurant. Can you tell us more about that collaboration and how the idea for the Victoire de la Dignité project emerged?

Mariia Didkovska: Our collaboration with the House of Pierre Morlet started through a twist of fate and a deep-rooted friendship. About seven years ago, I had the privilege of meeting them, and it feels as if it was destined for this very moment, bringing forth the Victoire de la Dignité project today. The Champagne community is a close-knit one, not easily welcoming newcomers; those who have worked with them understand this well. My friend, Maryna Kerbitskaya, a Parisian chef, invited me to dinner once. We have been friends and collaborating for a long time: she occasionally introduces me to interesting chefs, and together we organise dinners at Citronelle in Kyiv. So, while in Paris, she invited me to dinner with her friends, where she brought a bottle of champagne from the House of Pierre Morlet. We found ourselves amidst a fascinating group of true Parisians, many of whom were involved in the world of art, creating a truly special atmosphere. A bit snobbish perhaps, but very, very delightful. So, as we were enjoying the champagne, many of the guests, who had experienced the richness of life and tasted various delicacies, showered compliments upon this wine, even though they were unfamiliar with the Champagne producer, Pierre Morlet. It was then that my friend began recounting their story, and to our surprise, among us was Mr Vincent, a friend and neighbour of the Morlet family. This revelation felt like a plot twist from a movie. Vincent and his father, Olivier, besides being close friends with the Morlet, also had a grandfather who happened to be the lawyer responsible for registering champagne as a product with an appellation of origin. This fact sparked countless conversations. Later, we visited Vincent’s place and met Eric Morlet, and from there, our regular meetings commenced. It all started with a simple idea from my friend: since there was exquisite champagne and the Citronelle restaurant, why not collaborate? However, we were cautious about undertaking a grand project, so we decided to create something unique for Citronelle first. We exchanged ideas, and I shared insights about our guests’ preferences. Eric Morlet proposed various options to create a special cuvée for us. That’s how our first release came to life, which we introduced to Kyiv five years ago. Since then, there have been subsequent releases, culminating in a delightful surprise on Citronelle’s 10th anniversary, where they crafted a special blanc de blancs dedicated to us. Over time, a special bond formed between us, rooted in genuine human connections. As the war unfolded, we received a call from them on the very first day, offering their support to our family. We discussed many plans and the possibility of providing financial assistance to Ukrainians in need. It was clear that collecting targeted amounts continually might not be sustainable, prompting us to envision a project with lasting impact. Thus, the inspiring concept of blending Ukrainian art’s expressiveness with the allure of champagne was born, giving life to Victoire de la Dignité.

Victoire de la Dignité

D+: How would you describe the 2015 vintage, bottled in these champagne bottles?

M.D.: Creamy. It can be best likened to creamy French butter – both dense and delicate in character. With notes of white flowers. Smooth and buttery, owing to the dominant presence of Chardonnay.

Victoire de la Dignité

D+: Are there any plans to expand the “Victory of Dignity” project?

M.D.: Certainly, there is some understanding of what we will do next, and there are ongoing activities. Currently, we host creative evenings at Saint Bar, and occasionally at Citronelle, where we bring together writers, composers, philosophers, and fascinating individuals. These gatherings not only inspire creative interactions but also serve as fundraising events, with the proceeds donated to the hospital. We intend to continue with these efforts. But I also have some ambitious visions for the future – I can’t reveal the details yet, but everything is related to these artists. While working together, we have become part of each other’s lives and have a vision of what we can do together in the future, involving other people as well. I’ve come up with an exciting thing, but it’s a secret for now.

D.+: Thank you for sharing your insights and for your dedication to this noble project. We eagerly await the further development of “Victory of Dignity,” a project that truly embodies the essence of Ukrainian creativity and the shared values with the French – a strong yearning for freedom and an unwavering belief in victory.

We’d like to remind our readers that t

his exceptional collection is available for purchase on the website and at the Citronelle restaurant. All proceeds from the sale of Victoire de la Dignité directly support the needs of the Main Military Clinical Hospital.