Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Debate a Bubble - Which Is The Best Chardonnay In The World?

Debate a Bubble - Which Is The Best Chardonnay In The World?

Link to Debate a Bubble - Champagne News and Reviews

Which Is The Best Chardonnay In The World?

Posted: 20 Jun 2011 10:45 AM PDT

The Best Chardonnay In The World? How on earth do you choose?

Ask 100 amateur wine lovers and you'll probably get 100 different opinions, so for once it might not be a bad idea to rely on the professionals.

You may not know this but there is in fact a competition held in France every year to decide this very question: the Chardonnay du Monde competition.

Each year they award bronze medals, silver medals and of course gold medals, just like at The Decanter awards or the IWC awards or any other. But at Chardonnay du Monde there's something else a little special. Actually that's a bit of an under-statement. In fact this prize is  so exceptional  that in the 18 year history of the competition it has been awarded only twice.

Mandois range What is this accolade? It's La Grande Médaille d'Or and in 2009 it was awarded to Champagne Henri Mandois for their Blanc de Blancs Vintage 2004 - the one with the gold label in this picture

Champagne may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think of great chardonnay wine. You might assume it would be a great white Burgundy for example, but Claude Mandois, current head of Champagne Mandois, is convinced that the further north you go, the more Chardonnay shows it's real quality: lots of depth and a wonderful minerality that only shines out in northerly vineyards such as Chablis and Champagne.

The 2004 vintage is all gone now and it's been succeeded by an equally gorgeous vintage 2005 which is certainly worth discovering. For that matter the entire Mandois range offers excellent quality and value.

Mandois is in the village of Pierry, just outside Epernay and if you pop along during your next visit to Champagne, and ask very nicely, who knows? They might just find one more bottle of the 2004 for you to try



Sunday, June 5, 2011

Debate a Bubble - Back On Track With Even More Champagne Tasting

Debate a Bubble - Back On Track With Even More Champagne Tasting

Link to Debate a Bubble - Champagne News and Reviews

Back On Track With Even More Champagne Tasting

Posted: 05 Jun 2011 02:40 AM PDT

6 of the Best Well, first of all a big apology for being very quiet over the past month or so. All down to technical issues with domain names and such like, so please note that my blog can now be found at www.debateabubble.co ( not .com )

Anyway, here we go again with lots of news and information from Champagne starting with a quick rundown on what I tasted last week that I think you too would enjoy discovering


One of the great things about running a          Bed & Breakfast in Champagne is that I get to meet all sorts of people and chat about champagne. ( actually it's my wife that runs the B & B but I get to enjoy the rewards)

Each guest has his or her own favourite champagnes and that gives us a chance to sample all sorts of champagnes and compare notes. This last week has been a bumper week for tasting; here's what we've sampled

 Mandois Brut Nature

Zero dosage, lots of zingy citrus-style aromas and flavours yet not in the least sharp; quite the opposite in fact thanks to 4 years ageing. Really refreshing and somehow uplifting. A fabulous way to start any event, party, or meal. www.champagnemandois.fr

 Pierre Deville Brut Grand Cru

Made by our next door neighbour, the Mayor of Verzy

This is a typical Verzy champagne by which I mean lots of Pinot Noir ( this is a mainly Pinot Noir village), full flavours and altogether heavier and less delicate than the Mandois.

Which style you prefer is just a question of individual preference, but the ridiculously reasonable price of Pierre Deville does help. Not available outside France I fear and no web site either so you'll have to come and visit us to sample it.

Christian Briard Vintage 2005

From the Vallée de la Marne Christian Briard specialises in Pinot Meunier-based champagnes, so very fruity with quite a lot of weight in the mouth.

The 2005 is beginning to develop the yeasty biscuity flavours that many people so enjoy. This is a fine champagne as an aperitif but in my view, better with a meal

The bottle too is worth mentioning since each one has a hand-painted gold motif on it. A Vietnamese design I believe – Christian's wife in Vietnamese

 Alexandre Penet Extra Brut

This is a brand new range from Penet-Chardonnet. In fact so new that this bottle only has a temporary label on it

There are three champagnes in the new Alexandre Penet range. The extra brut has just 3grs of sugar per litre so it has the same fresh, crisp style as Penet-Chardonnet and also has the same rich and complex flavours and long finish.

Alexandre Penet will be available in larger quantities than Penet Chardonnet so offers you a great chance to try this house's unique style. Here's what one wne expert thought of this new release

Mailly Grand Cru, Blanc de Noirs

Mailly Champagne is another village in La Montage de Reims and is even more synonymous with Pinot Noir than Verzy.

This champagne is made by the local cooperative, also called Mailly, which produces champagnes of consistently good quality

To appreciate this at its best I'd suggest you enjoy it with a meal. It has the body and flavour to take it

Aspasie Vintage 2006

Only just released, this new vintage from Aspasie is super ( as are all Aspasie champagnes, in my view)

Aspasie is based in the village of Brouillet in an area to the west of Reims called La Vallée de l'Ardre. Not a well known area, but one with a distinct character all of its own.

All three champagne grapes thrive there in a somewhat sandy soil full of fossils of all shapes and sizes – an archaeologist's paradise.

This champagne is deep and rich both in colour and flavour with a slightly smokey taste that makes it even more memorable

I presented two Aspasie champagnes at a recent champagne tasting in London and you can                   see the video here

So there we have six of the best from this week – all worth getting to know better

More coming soon, just as fast as I can taste them!

Meanwhile, Stay Bubbly