Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Debate a Bubble - My Favourite Champagne of 2010

Debate a Bubble - My Favourite Champagne of 2010

Link to Debate a Bubble - Champagne News and Reviews

My Favourite Champagne of 2010

Posted: 07 Dec 2010 02:32 AM PST

DSC02846 What's the best champagne you've tasted this year?

Have you tasted anything really exceptional this year?

For me the answer to the question is easy because of all the wonderful champagnes I've tasted in 2010 there's one that really stands out and if you love your champagne then you just have to try this for yourself.

  • If you only buy one bottle of champagne this Christmas do yourself a favour and make sure it's this one.
  • If you are giving champagne as a gift to someone very special, give them a rare treat by offering a bottle of this one. 

What is it?

It's called Penet-Chardonnet and No I won't be surprised if you've never heard of it. I'm sure you will in a year or two

Who says it's so special?

Don't just take my word for it.

I know 4 Masters of Wine who are real fans of Penet-Chardonnet.

This is what one of them – a man in England with over 40 years experience in the wine trade - said

"Well, what a surprise, probably one of the most fascinating Champagne experiences I have had...

What I loved about them is the passion for traditional methods the use of reserve wines, and exclusively sans dosage. The Grand Cru Reserve gives an indication of what some extra age can do, but my god these are long living wines, what are they like after 20 years plus?"

What makes them so special?

Well, unlike most champagnes on the market Penet-Chardonnet uses what's called 'Low-Dosage'. That means that very little sugar has been added so you really get the full flavour of the fruit. ( often Zero Dosage i.e no added sugar at all)

The more technical amongst you may be intrigued by the fact that Penet-Chardonnet NEVER uses malolactic fermentation and as far as I and everyone I know can tell, Penet-Chardonnet is the ONLY champagne maker who neither adds sugar nor uses malolactic fermentation

In some other champagnes this combination could mean a harsh, acidic taste but Penet-Chardonnet is aged for FAR longer than most other champagnes to allow the champagne to develop full round flavours that are really luscious on your tongue

It's incredible how they achieve this fantastic balance, but they do.

Penet-Chardonnet is truly unique in a sea of champagnes that are sometimes hard to tell apart

Where to find it?

At present there's only one importer in the U.K. but don't worry just below you'll find the link to go straight there

If you're in the States there are importers in California, Chicago and a couple of other states . Please contact me to find out more. Perhaps you're interested in becoming an importer/distributor yourself?

There are also importers in Norway, Italy, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Hong Kong and Singapore, so again please contact me by e-mail to find out more


Which one to choose?

There are several great champagnes in the Penet-Chardonnet range.

You can start with Sélection for only £29.99 and this will give you a feel for the amazing Penet-Chardonnet style.

If you want to really treat someone ( yourself for example) then go for either the Grande Réserve at £79.99* or the top of the range Diane Claire at £109.99*. Diane Spe blanc

Both of these exceptional champagnes are only made in very limited quantities – just a few thousand bottles every year - and each bottle has an individual number on it as well as the date of disgorging. Enjoy these this Christmas, or keep them for several years to come

My own favourite?

Penet-Chardonnet Réserve Grand Cru at £39.99*

I really believe that this champagne is tremendous value. It's the same price as some of the famous brands yet it's worth far more than this, but because Penet-Chardonnet is not yet well-known you can be one of the first few to discover this great champagne at a very reasonable price.

* prices shown do not include delivery charges.


How can I order?

If you're in the U.K. then there's nothing easier. Just follow this link


For other countries please e-mail me


I'm sure you'll be just as impressed as I am



The Price of Champagne - We've Had The Downs, Now For The Ups

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 12:23 PM PST

Right now, when there are so many special 'deals' around on champagne,it may seem to be an odd time to talk about putting the price up, but that's exactly what's going on in Champagne and here's why.....

Bottles ageing The thing about champagne that sets is apart from most other wines is that the champagne makers age the champagne in their cellars, at their cost, for around 3 years before they sell it.

This means that they have to decide, years in advance, how many bottles to put into the cellars to age and so what they like best of all is a pattern of sales that matches their expectations.

Any sudden increase in demand and they can't cope with it because the champagne hasn't finished ageing (some makers may be tempted to sell the champagne before it's really ready just to make the sales, but that's not a wise decision, other than in the very short term, because the consumer will sooner or later notice that the quality's not as good as it used to be).

Any sudden drop in sales - like we saw about 18 months ago - and the makers find themselves with mountains ( or maybe lakes?) of stock in the cellars that they can't sell. What do they do in that situation? Well some of them sell off the stock at bargain prices just to get the cash in and to reduce the stock and that's one of the major reasons that we have seen some great 'deals' on champagne over the past year

At the moment we're just coming out of a period when sales were well down versus the plan and now, little by little, the champagne makers are starting to claw back the ground they lost over the last few months.

Nothing dramatic mind you - that's simply not on as it would jeopardise the fragile recovery in champagne consumption - but the bargain basement prices you could find a year ago are more and more scarce.

That's why you should expect to see fewer special offers in the supermarkets in 2011 (unless of course the supermarkets sell at cost, or at a loss, just to tempt people into the shop).

Nothing illustrates better the growing confidence amongst the champagne makers that they can look forward to higher prices than the case of Montaudon.

A couple of years ago this small brand was bought by the giant Moët & Chandon, mainly to get their hands on the essential grape supply contracts that came as part of the purchase.

Just a few days ago Moët announced the sale of the brand ( minus the grape supply contracts) to Champagne Jacquart.

Jacquart is a cooperative which means that they have hundreds of members amongst the smaller grape growers so they have no worries about grape supplies. On the other hand what they lack are strong brands, so they plan to build Montaudon into a brand to be reckoned with.

Montaudon Currently Montaudon sells in France for around 20 -22 euros. Not the lowest, but not very expensive either. Jacquart's ambition is to get this brand up to a price of around 35 euros

How can they do this ?

1) Just jack the price up. Not a great strategy unless there's some extra value too.

2) Invest in lots of marketing to pursuade the consumer that the quality is great.

It can be done and many brands have done this but, like 1) it's risky

3) Improve the quality of the champagne with better grapes, better blending and longer ageing and sell it in new markets

In fact all the important stuff that you can learn about in The Insider's Guide To Champagne

This is what we should expect from Montaudon, so keep your eyes open for this (perhaps) up-and-coming brand in your country. It might just be a real discovery in a few years time


Win A Case Of Champagne

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 12:28 PM PST

Here's a great way to have a lot of fun and win a case of champagne too!

We've just launched a terrific new competition to discover the world's Best Champagne Moment

I'm sure you'll be indulging in a bottle or two of champagne over Christmas and New Year and all you have to do to enter the competition is to send us your video, or photo, of your Best Champagne Moment.

Tell us which champagne you chose, why you chose it and then share the story of why that moment was so special for you

You'll find it all on the Mad About Bubbly Fan Page on Facebook and you can go there right now


Just 'Like' the page ( you'll see the 'Like' button at the top of the page) and then you will be able to upload your photo or video, then - very important- in the caption box share your special champagne story.

 The competition ends on January 1st and the winner will be announced a couple of days later.

So don't delay. Start opening the champagne and taking those photos right now!

Russian Businessman To Bring Cristal Back To Champagne?

Posted: 06 Dec 2010 08:19 AM PST

Around 200 years ago a few champagne houses such and Louis Roederer and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin set out on their way to fame and fortune by exporting to Russia. Veuve Clicquot sent their first rosé champagnes to Russia whilst Louis Roederer caught the eye of the Tsar who asked for a special champagne to be made just for him. He wanted it to be in a clear bottle so as to distinguish it from other, 'lesser' champagnes and that was the origin of the famous Cristal.

In the centuries since then champagne has become known and loved all around the world, but there hasn't been much movement in the opposite direction and champagne has remained pretty much a French only zone as far as foreigners actually owning champagne brands is concerned. Is that about to change? Well maybe...

According to news released by Viteff, a site dedicated to news about sparking wines, the largest champagne house of them all, Moët & Chandon, has just announced that is has sold one of its minor champagne brands called Château d'Avize plus 2.5 hectares of vineyards to none other than a Russian businessman by the name of Boris Titov.

Mr. Titov is already a big name in the Russian wine industry. He owns vineyards near the Black Sea and produces some 15 million bottles of sparkling wine, most of them by the Cuve Close method which doesn't produce the same quality as the method used in Champagne.

But Mr. Titov obviously has his sights set on the top of the market and by buying a genuine champagne house maybe he will be able one day to sell his own version of Cristal back to the French?


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