Friday, April 30, 2010

Debate a Bubble - Champagne brands – Look out the old guard

Debate a Bubble - Champagne brands – Look out the old guard

Link to Debate a Bubble - Champagne News and Reviews

Champagne brands – Look out the old guard

Posted: 29 Apr 2010 02:06 PM PDT

Tastings Last Monday there was a small tasting event here in Champagne and it was the chance to meet and talk to some of the up-an-coming champagne makers who, in terms of quality at least, can be the equal of all but a very small handful of the better-known international brands.

 It was glorious day and by the time I arrived at the Hotel Castel Jeanson in the village of Aÿ there were cars parked on both sides of the road, but I saw none from England – these champagne makers are still more or less unknown in the biggest export market in the world.

TerresetvinsdeChampagne There were 17 makers in total, many of them producing organic or bio dynamic champagne.

Here's the full list. If you haven't heard of them yet, they you will soon and you should try them:

Pascal AGRAPART Pascal Agrapart

Françoise BEDEL

Francis BOULARD & Daughter
Vincent COUCHE

Pouillon Tasting at Terres et Vins de Champagne One of the most interesting things about this particular tasting was that each maker presented a selection of base wines or vins clairs as they are called. These are the still wines made from the previous harvest and are the basic building blocks that the maker will blend together to them turn into champagne.

Every champagne maker uses vins clairs of course, but having the chance to taste so many and to chat to the makers about the different characteristics of each one, is not an experience you'll ever get in one of the big houses. It gives a great chance to understand how complex a wine champagne can be.

All vins clairs reveal the different nuances of the different grapes and different plots of land whence they come, but these smaller makers seemed to have a greater spirit of adventure and inquiry than most and are willing to experiment with all sorts of possible variations.

For example Vincent Couche has spent a long time studying the nuances of geology in his part of the Aube region and presented two base wines, both made from Pinot Noir, but one from grapes grown in soil generally planted with Pinot Noir - no surprises there then, but the other vin clair was  from soil traditionally assumed to be best for  Chardonnay.

Another trend that is gaining momentum these days and which was very much in evidence last week was the preference to use only very low dosage, that is very low amounts of added sugar. The rationale in this is that less sugar means that the natural taste of the grape and influence of the different soils can come shining through.

Even though I know or had heard of most of these makers I managed only to visit 5 of the 17 stands, so plenty more to visit in the next few weeks and months and I'll write about them in more detail individually.

Pascal Agrapart It was a superb little event and only goes to reinforce my feeling that the greatest delights in Champagne can be found just as easily in the out of the way places as on the well beaten tourist track.

Harley Davidsons And Champagne

Posted: 29 Apr 2010 01:34 PM PDT

Harley Davidson Some people might say that riding Harley Davidsons and champagne don't mix but try telling that to the 2 dozen or so Harley riders who descended on Verzy last weekend.

I had just popped out for a baguette at the boulangerie and wow! Harley Davidsons Parked all over the little car park in front of the Mairie.

All spotlessly clean and come to think of it I don't think I've ever seen a dirty Harley Davidson - must be self-cleaning

No riders around mind you, but a moment listening told me where they were. All enjoying lunch , and a few glasses of champagne by the sound of it, in the local restaurant, Au Chant des Galipes.

Didn't hear them arrive and didn't hear them go either, just a few pictures to prove that they were there at all.

  Yet More Harveys

More Harleys A Huddle of Harveys Le Chant Des Galipes

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