Tag Archives: Champagne

What makes Champagne great – what makes a great Champagne?

I often get asked what makes a great Bordeaux, so, on a trip to Champagne, with UK Champagne Ambassador 2010 and Champagne specialist Laura Clay, it was my turn to ask the questions. On a lightning trip, Laura shared some amazing places and wines. It would have been longer were it not for the French train strike – but I suppose it’s good to leave thirsty……

Any great wine depends on an intimate mix of terroir and climate, the skill of the wine maker, the will and rigour to select fruit and the nerve to wait and hope for the perfect balance of ripeness and acidity. We looked at all of this.

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In the terroir of Champagne – the chalk walls in the caves of Maison Deutz

The vineyards of Champagne are dominated by rolling limestone hillsides, or more precisely chalk. Visiting the huge underground cellars you can feel this terroir – the damp sticky consistency of the chalk subsoil is there right behind the rows and rows of champagne bottles stocked in the acres of underground cellars.

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The Vines and Rolling Hills of Champagne

An important skill that Bordeaux and Champagne wine makers both need is blending. There are single varietal wines in both the regions, more famously in Champagne with Blanc de Blancs from Chardonnay, but blending remains key. Here they have Meunier (apparently nobody here says Pinot Meunier), Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to ‘play’ with. These are planted in 320 villages (‘Crus’) over 35 000 ha of vines divided into 280 000 different plots. Each plot is part of a mosaic of unique combinations of climate, soil and topography giving another layer of complexity to the notion of varietal blending as these plots are picked and vinified separately.

Then there is the blend of vintages for Non Vintage Champagne (NV) with the use of reserve wines. The notion of vintage is different in Champagne; around 70% of production is non-vintage, varying from year to year. Any house or producer can declare a vintage if they consider their wines up to par that year. If it is declared vintage, all the wine in the blend must come from that vintage. Non-vintage will be a blend from different years.

And then there is a whole other set of decisions to be made around the secondary fermentation, or prise de mousse, in the bottle. The time spent sur lattes, on the lees, during the second fermentation; this must be at least 15 months for NV and a minimum of three years for vintage. But the winemaker can choose to age for longer before disgorgement making the wine richer and more complex. The style of the liqueur de dosage – added to the bottle after disgorgement – also dictates the style of the Champagne, whether it be Brut, as most are, or anywhere between Zero Dosage to Demi-Sec. There is even a Doux (sweet) style of champagne.

There are choices for the first fermentation too; to undergo malolactic or not and the containers the wine is fermented in. With more and more experimentation at every level of the process, I don’t think there has been a more exciting time to discover the wonderful complexity that is Champagne – even on my short trip; I was wowed by the diversity.

How to navigate this diversity? If you thoughtLa Place de Bordeaux’ system of châteaux, brokers and negociants is complicated take a long look at the Champagne system. Some, but not all houses (Maisons), own vines and some, but not all, growers make their own champagne – choosing to sell some or all of their grapes to the houses. 15 800 growers hold 90% of the vines but the 320 houses sell 70% of the 300 M bottles produced (on average) each year, the remaining third is sold by independent growers and co-ops.

This raises the question of ‘What makes an expensive Champagne?’ Champagne may be smaller in size than Bordeaux but it is up there as far as value is concerned. 4.9 Billion euros turnover for 300 million bottles (Bordeaux turns over 4 Billion Euros for about 600 million bottles)

Perceived value is important. Quality is, of course, part of value but so is market history and consistency. They are very good at marketing in Champagne, brand identity is strong and the notion of consistency of style is of particular importance to the champagne houses and Grand Marques. Their objective is to create a house style that remains the same wherever and whenever you buy it across the globe, especially for the houses that have a large production and international reach. Buying from the many grape growers across the region, from the different terroirs and crus, offers a large palette from which they can blend to ensure this consistency and it’s no mean feat.

They are all pursuing quality but each champagne house seems to have a different approach or philosophy behind the method and the desire to communicate their difference. This might explain why there are so many champagne houses, and why each champagne house attaches such importance to their house style.

What style of champagne are you looking for? This may change with occasion, as an aperitif or to accompany a meal (more of which later), to celebrate a special occasion, a gift?   Quality can be technically defined, but style and preference is such a personal choice. Not sure of your preferred style? Taste as much Champagne as you can, from as many producers and houses as you can – purely in the interests of research, you understand! In this spirit here’s some of the conclusions from my recent visit to three houses where I saw three different points of view and a huge variety of styles

Straight off the TGV, AR Lenoble in Damery was our first stop. It is the perfect place to start your Champagne style discovery; their range of wines is both stunning and eclectic. AR Lenoble is 100% family owned and 100% independent and has been since the very beginning, a rare thing in Champagne. They own 18 hectares of vineyards mainly in the Grand Cru village of Chouilly for Chardonnay, in the Premier Cru village of Bisseuil for Pinot Noir, and also in the village of Damery in the Marne Valley where their cellars are.

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The A R Lenoble range

Twenty years ago sister-and-brother Anne and Antoine Malassagne, great-grandchildren of the founder, took over, and they have quietly innovated in the vines, the cellars and the marketing ever since.

Biodiversity and ecological responsibility are buzzwords throughout the wine industry and Champagne is no exception. AR Lenoble was the second House in Champagne to be awarded the “Haute Valeur Environnementale” certification in 2007 (nearly organic). You can see their efforts in the vineyard; encouraging biodiversity through natural habitat with hedgerows, orchards, embankments, trees, low stone walls, and ploughing and grassing between the vines, which also has the advantage of limiting yields. Less is more.

Innovation can be a back to the future moment; the two fresh pairs of eyes took their time to re assess the process from field to bottle and instead of throwing out everything from the past they incorporated the best practices. For example, pressing is still done in three traditional and beautiful Coquard presses.

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The ancient Coquard press at A R Lenoble

The plot-by-plot wine-making takes place in a range of different vessels, some in small 225 litre barrels, others in 5000-litre vats or in stainless steel or enamel-lined tanks. The choice depends on the plot and the vintage, as does the decision to undertake malolactic fermentation, or not.

A peculiarity of AR Lenoble is the attention paid to the ageing of their reserve wines. In 1993, when they took over, the brother and sister team decided to start conserving their reserve wines in 225-litre barrels, using the principle of the perpetual reserve, topping up with each harvest. This is more familiar perhaps as the term Solera used in Sherry. The 5,000-litre casks allow for slower ageing than in barrels, bringing extra freshness to the wines. There are now two reserve wines: one uniquely from the Grand Cru village of Chouilly and the other that is based on Chardonnay from Chouilly blended with Pinot Noir from the Premier Cru village of Bisseuil. They are both aged in a mix of cuves, fûts and foudres, topped up each year with new wines.

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La Reserve Perpetuelle at A R Lenoble

In 2010, innovating again, they took a portion of this ‘reserve perpetuelle’ and placed it in magnums under natural cork. Thus allowing the signature aromatic richness to develop whilst preserving freshness by limiting the oxygen exchange. Freshness is important and Antoine believes it will become even more so with climate change. He sees each harvest coming in with lower acidity levels than they used to have, so the reserve wines now need to add freshness as well as complexity and richness.

The timing for our first ever visit to the house was perfect, they had just released the first non-vintage wines containing these reserve wines aged in the magnums.

Antoine Malassagne made the decision to use these unique reserve wines into his blend following the 2014 harvest. The reserve wine from the Magnums was blended with parts of the ‘reserve perpetuelle’. This was in turn blended, with 60% wines from the 2014 harvest (total reserve wine of 40%). This final blend was then bottled and aged on their lees for three years in their 18th-century chalk cellars in Damery.

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Stairway to heaven – the entrance to the A R Lenoble 18th century caves in Damery

Got that? It took me a while; check out the diagram below – it might help. Still not sure – taste them – all will be come clear. The AR Lenoble Intense “mag14” and AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly “mag14” are now available with the Mag 14 logo clearly visible on the bottle. Jancis Robinson called it unignorable, in a recent article on her site, rating the AR Lenoble Grand Cru Blancs de Blancs Chouilly « mag 14 » NV up there with Louis Roederer Cristal Vintage 2008 and Dom Pérignon Vintage 2008.

Mag 14

We will have to return to Damery for the first edition of AR Lenoble Brut Nature Dosage Zéro “mag14” in 2019 and then again in 2020 for the first edition of AR Lenoble Rosé Terroirs Chouilly-Bisseuil “mag14”. Not a hardship.

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The identification of the Mag 14 on the bottle

We were also treated to an amazing tasting of their range. I was stunned by just how diverse the wines were. The showstopper? Hard to choose, Laura loved the Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Chouilly “Mag14but Les Aventures probably got my vote. Normally I’m a ‘Blanc de noirs’ girl but this 100% Chardonnay, from the Grand Cru Village of Chouilly, was quite extraordinary. A blend of the excellent 2002 and 2006 vintages, it takes its name from the tiny (less than 1/2 ha) plot where the grapes are grown – but it really is an adventure in the glass, if you can find it, try it!

I don’t come to Champagne as often as I would like but when I have been I have been lucky enough to visit Maison Deutz on several occasions. I love their Champagne; part of this love affair was born from the ‘esprit’ of the house. Despite being part of the Roederer Group since 1983, Deutz has kept its family atmosphere. It is rightly proud of its heritage, clearly seen in the beautifully preserved family home in Ay, next to the historic cellars which run for 3kms under chalk vine covered hills.

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Les Glacières, the slopes behind Maison Deutz in Aÿ

The Deutz Brut Classic – is just that – a classic, I love the fact that it is made from one third of each of the varietals, spends three years on the lees (sur lattes) and is never disappointing. Diversity in style across different champagnes may be a part of the joy of discovering Champagne but for a brand the notion of consistency is so very important. Deutz owns 42 hectares of vines out of the 245 hectares they source the wine from – giving them the flexibility across the vintages they need for this consistency.

Another reason why Deutz has remained such a firm favourite is their generous hospitably. The Deutz family home must be an inspiration to work in, it was certainly an inspirational place to taste their wines and enjoy them with lunch.

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One of the beautifully preserved interiors of Maison Deutz

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and the old cellars

Embarrassingly, I had forgotten quite what great food wine champagne is. There is no doubt it is a great aperitif wine, a wonderful after dinner drink and, of course, a celebratory tipple. But a lunch in the spectacular dining room of Deutz put me back on track.

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A taste of Deutz

If you have never had the opportunity to have a meal matched uniquely to champagne, I highly recommend the experience. Champagne styles are diverse, tasting several champagnes side by side, from the same, or from different houses, illustrates this, but a meal served with different champagnes highlights these differences even more and shows just what a versatile wine champagne is.

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The amazing selection of champagne served at Maison Deutz

Deutz have just released a special edition of the NV Rosé that is perfect for summer drinking. This is a blend of the 90% Pinot Noir Grands Crus from the Montagne de Reims with 10% Chardonnay blended with about 8% of red wine made by the cellar master from old vines on the hill of Aÿ. The wine is then aged for three years on its lees. With rosé the appreciation always starts with the colour, with this special edition in particular, thanks to the label and box decorated with pink Japanese Cherry Blossom. It’s a perfect aperitif but try it with salmon, creamy cheese or any red berry dessert – you won’t be disappointed.

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Summer drinking from Maison Deutz

I finished with the big guns, a visit to Ruinart, part of the large LVMH wine and spirits portfolio. The oldest of the Champagne Houses, Ruinart was created in 1729, and is right in the centre of Reims. The cathedral like Crayeres cellars, a Unesco heritage site since 2015, are amazing. See the video here

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The cathedral like cellars under Ruinart

The visit was organised by Laura for the AWE (Association of Wine Educators) so the champagne geeks were out in force and Ruinart rose elegantly to the occasion thanks to Caroline Fiot, the winemaker, who shone as much as her champagne. Caroline was a perfect example of the dynamism of the new generation of wine makers in Champagne, her competence in explaining to an audience thirsty (excuse the pun) for technical details blew us away and put us in our place once or twice!

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Caroline Fiot puts us through our tasting paces at Ruinart

She treated us to a technical tasting of their signature Blanc de Blancs, two non-vintages: one from magnum, and the Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs vintage 2006. Blanc de Blancs is really their signature, with the aromatic freshness Chardonnay coming from about 80% 1er Cru grapes.

The three wines could have been so similar, being all 100% Chardonnay – but no. The NV in bottle was based on 2015 wine with reserve wines from 13 & 14 and the magnum NV was based on 2014 base wine with 12 & 13 reserve wines. The Dom Ruinart 2006 100% Grand Cru vineyards, spends nine years on the lees before being disgorged in March 2016 (the disgorgement date is mentioned on the label). This is the 24th vintage of this wine, the first was produced in 1959, Dom Ruinart is always and only vintage.

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Blanc de Blancs, the Ruinart signature

The notion of freshness was discussed at great length, the same challenge of the ripeness of the grapes raised by Antoine Malassagne at A R Lenoble. The response here is to reduce the percentage of reserve wine in a bid to maintain that all-important freshness, especially as their still wines systematically undergo malolactic fermentation. They choose not to use oak for ageing the reserve wine and use a pneumatic press for the harvest again to maintain that signature freshness. Same problem, different solutions – fascinating.

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It’s not all work and no play at Ruinart

If you want to learn more about champagne, you should, of course, visit – if you can’t, you can learn more at the interactive wine school, Champagne Campus,  created by the Champagne Wine Bureau or ask Laura Clay, Chairman of the AWE, to organise a tutored tasting, she’ll be happy to demonstrate that famous diversity and you may even find your answer to ‘What makes a great Champagne?’

 

Summer drinking.

Looking for a new tipple this summer? Here are a few innovative suggestions for your warm weather drinking.

The Seneclauze family know a thing or two about rosé; they own two vineyards in the South of France: Domaine Lauzade in Cotes de Provence and Val d’Arenc in Bandol, as well as the Margaux classified growth Château Marquis de Terme. They have taken the audacious step of transplanting this famous Bordeaux name to the South. More and more Bordeaux properties now make rosé and the colour has been getting lighter over the last few years, looking more Provencal in style. Don’t let the name of a Bordeaux chateau on the label trick you; this rosé doesn’t just look like a Provence Rosé, it is one! From organic plots in the Cotes de Provence with the very non-Bordelais blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Tibouren, it is made by the director of Marquis de Termes; Ludovic David. That should confuse your friends over the BBQ this summer.

Marquis de Termes, is it a Bordeaux or is it a rosé?

You might want to try a new rosé from even further afield. Jennifer Higgins, winemaker at Lambert Bridge in Dry Creek, Sonoma, has just released her first Rosé. A blend of Merlot and Malbec, whole cluster pressed and cold fermented, it’s crisp, dry and smells of strawberries. Good luck finding some though, the Lambert Bridge wine club snapped up the 150 case release.

The new release Rosé from Lambert Bridge.

You’ll know by now that I’m a fan of the dry whites from Sauternes, here’s another one to add to the list: the new little sister of the excellent dry white ‘S de Suduiraut’. This ‘Blanc Sec de Suduiraut’ has a high (50%) proportion of Sémillon, so often associated with the region. The established S de Suduiraut is a wine made with aging in mind: harvested early from plots of vines destined for the Grand Sauternes, before the noble rot sets in, it is vinified and aged in oak. The Blanc Sec is selected from the plots destined for the second wine; Le Castelnau de Suduiraut. This hierarchy is reflected in its style; only half of the wine is vinified and aged in oak giving a fruitier and brighter expression, perfect for early summer drinking.

Le Blanc Sec de Suduiraut

You can’t have summer without bubbles. A lot of the ‘grand maisons’ of champagne have introduced cuvées destined for the ‘piscine’. Yes you can drink them by the pool but ‘piscine’, or swimming pool, is the trend for serving Champagne in large glasses refreshed with ice cubes. I mentioned this back in 2011 when Moet et Chandon introduced their Ice Imperial. These Champagnes have higher dosage (sugar) levels than brut, allowing them to keep their personality, even when diluted a little with ice cubes.

The family Champagne house, Vincent Carré, may supply some of the top Champagne houses with their raw material, but they do keep some of their favourite plots for their own Cuvees. Their signature is one of elegance and freshness thanks to the high proportion of Chardonnay in the blends from their plots in Trépail et Verzy. They have now released a higher dosage Cuvée, called Sunrise with 45g as compared to about 8g for a brut and have taken the idea of the piscine a step further: suggesting serving it as a Champagne Mojito. Inspired by their trips to the tropical island of Mauritius, they recommend filling a large glass with ice cubes, (not crushed), a handful of mint leaves, a small chopped lime and then topped up with the Sunrise Cuvée.

An sunrise Mojito – exotic take on champagne

For another innovation from a Champagne house; this week saw the planting of the first Taittinger vines in Kent, in the South of England. Named after Charles de Saint-Evremond, a French connoisseur of champagne, credited with making Champagne fashionable at the English court when exiled there in 1661. It seems a fair tribute then to give his name to the domaine. The wine won’t be ready for drinking this summer though; the vines planted this week will yield their first fruit in 2020 and the first Domaine Evremond non-vintage English Sparkling will be bottled in 2021. Knowing Taittinger it’ll be worth the wait.

Ready for planting, the baby vines of Domaine Evremond in Kent

 

 

Wishing you a Bubbly Christmas

It’s that time of year again so I thought I would add a few sparkling suggestions for presents for your loved ones. Champagne is always a winner and the champagne houses really have the knack of creating great ways of making the lovely liquid even more desirable as a gift – so much so there is something for everyone.

Taittinger have created an award winning ‘Bubbles’ hologram-effect gift packaging for their Prestige Rosé and a similar design for Taittinger Brut Réserve NV and Vintage 2005. The 3D sparkling bubbles are so realistic that you don’t realise until you touch the side that the bubbles are not in 3D but completely flat. In fact it’s so special I wouldn’t buy this as a present but drink it whilst decorating the tree and hang the empty box(es) from the boughs !

The beautiful new decorative boxes for Taittinger

For couples both Krug and Taittinger have had the great gift idea of a bottle accompanied by two flutes. At Krug their Grand Cuvée box has a secret drawer containing two flutes, especially designed by Reidel to show the wonderful bouquet of the wine to its best advantage.

Taittinger à deux

Talking of sharing why not gift an event rather than a product, which is a sure way of participating yourself. There are a couple of interesting champagne events in the run up to the festive season. Consider it a vinous advent calendar.

Krug has joined the trend for pop-ups, (no pun intended). From this December 5 to 8, a driver from Krug’s Institute of Happiness will take you to 85 Swaines Lane – one of the most beautiful private houses in London for a dinner created by Michelin starred chef Nuno Mendes to complement Krug’s champagnes. .

Or in the same spirit of the warm up to the festive season you could always offer a couple of tickets (one for yourself of course) to the Berry Brothers and Rudd Very Special Vintage champagne tasting on 10th December.

If you prefer your Champagne tasting experience in the comfort of your own home Laura Clay winner of the prestigious UK Champagne Ambassador award in 2010 will come to your home to give a Champagne Masterclass with a selection of champagnes from hidden treasures to top cuvées to introduce you to the subtle complexities of this wine region. The budget and number of champagnes can be designed around a dinner or the number and tastes of your guests. Perfect for starting off the season in style.

For the ladies what better Champagne than a magnum of aptly named Femme De Champagne from Duval-Leroy presented in its elegant gift box.  It is the perfect wine for a lady, its name underlines the fact it is made by a woman : Sandrine Logette-Jardin, Chef de Cave at Duval-Leroy is the only woman of this rank in Champagne (see previous post by Laura Clay) and the company is also run by a woman, Carol Duval-Leroy.

Femme de Champagne

For something more original it’s worth remembering that Champagne is not the only wine that sparkles and recent years have seen the rise in the profile, quality and ensuing success of English Sparkling wines. West Sussex Nyetimber was the very first producer of English sparkling wine to craft wines made exclusively from the three celebrated varieties found in Champagne: Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. Their Classic Cuvee 2008 is now available in a Festive Celebrations Gift Box, perfect  for the more patriotic on your gift list.

The Festive Celebrations Gift Box for Nyetimber Classic Cuvee 2008

Finally celebrate the 50th anniversary of James Bond films, and 40 years of Bollinger being his favourite tipple, with their  limited edition presentation box in the shape of a Walther PPK silencer. Perfect for the man in your life, it opens by aligning the three figures to 007 (of course) and by clicking on the gun logo button to reveal a bottle of the delicious Bollinger La Grande Année 2002. It ticks all the boxes Chic, fun and inventive, just like Mr. Bond – now all we need is to get Daniel to deliver……..

The name is Bollinger

 

 

Power to the Fraternité de la Femme

Yet again I am indebted to my dear friend and colleague, Bordeaux expert and Champagne lover, Bordeaux Blonde, for passing my name on to the PR company organising a wonderful sampling lunch of Duval-Leroy Champagnes at The Greenhouse, Mayfair last week. I went in Wendy’s place and I truly hope that I did justice to the dishes (yummy) and particularly the champagnes (delicious) and now, here to her blog.

This was my third visit to The Greenhouse (number 25 in The Sunday Times’ Britain’s Top 100 Restaurants list, don’t you know?) and, without wanting to sound too swanky, they have always involved Champagne and some  Very Important Bods of the wine business. This occasion was no different and I was delighted to be sat next to Sandrine Logette-Jardin, Chef de Cave at Duval-Leroy, the only woman of this rank in Champagne.  I have met and tasted with Sandrine before and was charmed by her and her wines then, as now.

Her modesty is typically feminine; she credits Carol Duval-Leroy, her boss, for her success. Having spent all her working life at Duval-Leroy, straight from university and working her way up to take control of the wine-making, it is easy to see why she may think she owes Carol much. No doubt she does, but Carol, who learnt to become a businesswoman overnight when she was widowed very young  having to take sole charge, not only of her three young sons, but of a leading Champagne House would not, there is no question, have entrusted Sandrine with such a role if she wasn’t entirely sure she would come up trumps.

And she seriously does. Sandrine produces Champagnes of delicacy, attractiveness and classy commerciality. She makes wines which are firm, focussed and great matches with food; others that are herby, lean, complex and worthy of long-term keeping. There is a house style which runs through  the range from Brut NV to the Vintage Blanc de Blancs, from the Rosés to the pinnacle of the collection, Femme, and then there is Clos des Bouveries, something different; from a single vineyard, oak-aged, powerful, an intellectual wine, as Sandrine described it.

The Menu

Fleur de Champagne 1er Cru NV with Canapés – easy, fruity, fresh and appealing exactly what you want from an aperitif Champagne

Rosé Prestige 1er Cru with Wild Salmon, cucumber, coconut, wasabi and curry – a wonderful pairing. Rosés are not always easy to get right but this, made differently from most, certainly ticks the right boxes and worked beautifully with the dish. 90% Pinot Noir macerated for about 18 hours, Sandrine adds vinified Chardonnay at the end of the wine-making to lighten the colour, add a soft edge and to harmonise the wine.

Femme de Champagne 2000 Grand Cru with Cornish Crab, mint jelly, cauliflower, Granny Smith apple and curry. A classy Champagne this but not the best match with the dish. This is 90% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir with 25% vinified in oak barrels, so no surprise that the aromas were of apple, honey, toast, truffles. Wonderfully textured, very complete and harmonious, I kept mine in my glass to enjoy with the main dish.

Femme de Champagne

Clos des Bouveries 2005 Cuvée Oenoclimatique with Chicken, truffle, chestnut and squash. This Champagne with all its complexity, its linear quality, its earthy freshness and crispness would have, I think worked so much better with the previous course. It didn’t clash with the chicken however, but I enjoyed the Femme so much more with it. (Sandrine and Julien Duval-Leroy agreed)

Lady Rose NV with Raspberry, lychee, rose. A heavenly dessert with a fun, sweetish Rosé, both of which slipped down far too easily and all too quickly!

Lady Rose

How fitting to end with such a perfect match.

Serendipty, karma, good commercial management, call it what you will, Sandrine makes world-class wines and Carol runs (with her sons) a great business with international recognition. Long may the sisterhood run. (Did I mention that 45% of the staff are women?)

A guest post by Champagne Ambassador and Accredited Bordeaux Tutor Laura Clay.

Laura Clay

 

 

 

 

 

Champagne in the sun

Christmas and New Year may be the peak of champagne sales but champagne houses are not afraid of getting out in the sun with a couple of fun innovations to keep us drinking our bubbles during the summer months :
Moet et Chandon, although as tradional a house as you can find, are never afraid of innovation and have taken the controversial step of suggesting we put ice in our glass of champagne. Affectionately known as a ‘Swimming pool’ this practice has been frowned upon by many traditional drinkers but Moet have decided to embrace this summer trend by blending a new champagne ‘Moet Imperiale Ice’ in a beautiful white and gold bottle. Distribution is reserved for hip bars and clubs who serve the Moet swimming pool in round Moet logo glasses. It really works – perfect summer lunch and party drink.

If you prefer your champagne chilled in a more traditional way – try the Veuve Cliquot fridge – a cute mini american 50’s style fridge the perfect size for one bottle of brut or rosé (pink fridge for that one if you please) guaranteed to keep your Veuve chilled for a least a couple of hours – that’s one for the beach then.

Biodynamics on show during the en primeur tastings

Hosted by one of Bordeaux’s leading Biodynamic producers, Alan Moueix of Château Fonroque, Classified growth of Saint Emilion, Biodyvin, the biodynamic wine producers association have taken advantage of the primeurs tastings in Bordeaux this week to show wines from 40 of their producers.
The wines are from as far afield as the Rhone and Burgundy to Champagne and the Languedoc. Amongst the famous names, such as Chapoutier and Domaine Cazes, were lesser-known producers only 6 of which were from Bordeaux. Not everyone is showing his or her 2010; many producers from other regions do not offer their wine ‘en primeur’ and are happy to show wines from bottle ready to drink.
Created in 1995 the association has 73 members all under 100% biodynamic cultivation and all participating in a certification process organised by ECOCERT allowing them to use the BIODYVIN label on their bottles.

The cellars of Château Fonroque as a biodynamic show case