An Exploration of Champagne Ruinart Roses

Apr 22, 15 An Exploration of Champagne Ruinart Roses

Posted by in Champagne

“Champagne is best drunk between 9 am and 9 am the next day…” according to Ruinart Chef de Cave, Frédéric Panaïotis. I couldn’t agree more, which is how I found myself one Friday morning in Mayfair ready for a tasting of Ruinart’s rosés going  back to the 1980’s. The morning was dedicated to an exploration of Ruinart’s rosés. According the tasting notes, …”Ruinart is recognised by many as a reference for Blanc de Blanc Champagne and the Rosé wines in its portfolio contain a high percentage of Chardonnay grapes.  Frédéric describes the Ruinart Rosé as “A harmonious blending of two grape varieties, that gives a silky generous feeling on the palate.  The Chardonnay provides exceptional aromatic freshness while the Pinot Noir offers intense colour and delicate red fruits with an unexpected hint of exotic fruits…” I enjoy vertical tastings very much because it’s a chance to see how wines evolve and champagne is no different. We started with their NV rosé as a benchmark to see how the wines evolve over the years. This NV is full of berries and even has a few tropical notes to it. Fred noted that they are hoping to achieve an aromatic style of champagne, bursting with raspberry and strawberry. Fred says this is a rosé for jacuzzis, I’ll have to take his word for it! As we went through the wines, we went from Dom Ruinart 2002, 1998, 1996, 1990 and finished off with the Dom Ruinart 1988. The 2002 was still vibrant and pale pink in colour, still very aromatic on the nose. It was when we got to the 1990’s that the rosés began to turn darker in hue, almost onion skin in colour. The champagnes were also spicer and full of candied fruits on the nose and palate. By the time we go to the Dom Ruinart 1990, we were getting into Christmas pudding territory on the nose, with hints of dates, mushrooms and figs. This is definitely a food wine. Fred recommended this...

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[PODCAST] A Chat with Caroline Henry About Her New Book, Terroir Champagne

Feb 20, 15 [PODCAST] A Chat with Caroline Henry About Her New Book, Terroir Champagne

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I’ve started podcasting again and my first new podcast is with my friend and Champagne expert, Caroline Henry. Caroline has been living in the region for the past 3 years in Hautvillers.  In that time she has become aware of the sustainable, organic and biodynamic movement in the region. So much so, that she is now writing a book about that subject. Here she has taken the time to explain why she decided to write “Terroir Champagne, The Luxury of Sustainable, Organic and Biodynamic Cuvees” and what it means to produce environmentally friendly champagne. The book was crowd funded but self-publishing is still an expensive proposition so if you’d like to buy the book, buy a Terroir Champagne T-shirt or visit the region with Caroline as your guide, visit her website here. Caroline is planning on publication in September 2015.   http://thewinesleuth.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/car_2.mp3   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Tasting Vin Clair at Veuve Clicquot, Future Champagne in the Making

Feb 17, 15 Tasting Vin Clair at Veuve Clicquot, Future Champagne in the Making

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I like to think that vin clair tasting is similar to Bordeaux en primeur in that it’s a tasting where you are given a glimpse of the wine to come. With vin clair though you have to use your imagination a lot more to envision how the final blend will turn out. Bear in mind also that it’s not 2 or even 10 vin clair that have to be tasted, it can run into the hundreds. The process often takes weeks before the final assessment of each wine is done and the blend selected. Vin clair is the wine that is produced after the first fermentation of the grapes. Just a reminder, to make champagne, the wine goes through 2 fermentations. Vin clair or base wines are blended together and then put in bottle for the second fermentation which produces all those lovely tiny bubbles. If you like champagne, you’ll hate vin clair but then again, it’s not made for consumption now but in 3 years time, at the very least. These are wines that are very young, they are usually tasted 6 months or so after harvest to access their potential. The aim is to have wines with lots of acidity as well as showing the typicity of the 3 grapes – chardonnay, pinot noir, meunier. This is where the winemakers vision comes in, he or she must imagine how the blend will taste after a minimum of 3 years in bottle and often the wine stays in the bottle for much, much longer. As I’m here in champagne at the moment, I was invited to taste a few vin clair with the Chef de Cave of Veuve Clicquot, Dominique Demarville. He had a few samples of pinot noir, chardonnay and meunier to taste with each wine coming from a different parcel of grapes and a different village. Dominique wanted to take us on a journey of the region with grapes from the north to the south and east to west. We had our...

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Nicolas Feuillatte, biggest co-op in Champagne

Jan 30, 15 Nicolas Feuillatte, biggest co-op in Champagne

Posted by in All, Champagne

Everyone likes to talk about the grand marquees of Champagne, your Vueves and your Taittingers but the big houses are not the only players in Champagne. Like other regions, Champagne also has co-ops and one of the biggest in France is Nicolas Feuillatte. It is the largest co-op in Champagne with over 5,000 growers supplying grapes for their champagnes. They produce 20 million bottles a year and export to over 80 countries world wide. The original co-op was created in the early 1970’s and was called The Centre Vinicole de la Champagne. However, it was not until Nicolas Feuillatte the man himself became involved with the co-op that the co-op’s name was officially changed in 1986 when Feuillatte agreed to let the co-op re-brand as Nicolas Feuillatte. Since then, they’ve become known for their modern style of champagnes. I tasted through their range with their cellar master, David Henault and was very pleasantly surprised at the quality and lightness of the champagnes. Although the champagnes all have around 10 grams per litre of sugar, David says that although wine journalists like bone dry champagnes, it’s his experience that tells him that consumers like champagne with a bit of sugar. His champagnes are not sweet by any stretch of the imagination, they are fresh and fruity and nicely balanced. Feuillatte are known for their non-vintage champagnes which account for more than 90% of their production. That said, however, they do produce prestige cuvees and the 2006 brut Chardonnay was David’s first vintage at Feuillatte. David doesn’t believe in fining his champagnes and this one was very fresh with brioche toasty notes and a nice long nutty finish. I found it to be very enjoyable and it is also now available at Waitrose in the UK, retailing for £34.99. At that price, this is a very good value champagne. As their non-vintage is the most widely produced and distributed, I had to try it. The verdict, it was very good, fruity with surprisingly soft bubbles and...

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A Piper-Heidsieck Rare Experience in the VIP room of Whisky Mist

Nov 19, 14 A Piper-Heidsieck Rare Experience in the VIP room of Whisky Mist

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Last week I made it back to London in time to attend the launch of the Piper-Heidsieck Rare Experience in the VIP room of the Mayfair nightclub, Whisky Mist. The champagne houses have started to concentrate their efforts on nightclubs but Piper-Heidsieck has to be one of the first to have a dedicated VIP room in a Central London nightclub. It’s called the Cuveé Room and is a separate VIP room in Whiskey Mist. Piper-Heidsieck commissioned the Giles Miller Studio to create a room based on the intricate design of their Rare Cuveé. The room’s centrepiece is an installation that runs the length of the ceiling and features “…hundreds of metallic components of varying depths, applied by hand to a ceiling structure…” the design was inspired by …”the original vine design produced by the Parisian jeweler Arthus-Bertrand.” The result is impressive but elegant, bling but not too much bling, if you know what I mean. The VIP room will feature The Rare 1998 in magnum and the Rare 2002. The Rare is their prestige cuvees and  is always a vintage champagne. I’ve only recently been introduced to the Rare collection but in my opinion, they are very well done champagnes. For those who might want a younger wine, the 2006 vintage is available along with the non-vingage Rosé  Sauvage. One of my favourite things about the bar was the special menu on display for the champagnes. A dedicated Rare electronic menu, it’s like an elongated iPad menu, very cool and it certainly does add to the Rare Experience. It’s not cheap to drink but vintage and prestige champagne’s never are and the VIP room at Whisky Mist is a beautiful spot for a bottle of Rare bubbly or two.   Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Launch of the Perrier Jouet 2005 Belle Epoque Rose Limited Edition at the Gherkin

Sep 22, 14 Launch of the Perrier Jouet 2005 Belle Epoque Rose Limited Edition at the Gherkin

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Earlier this month, Perrier Jouet was in town to launch their 2005 Belle Epoque Rose Limited Edition bottle by Vik Muniz. The launch was at one of my favourite venues in London, The Gherkin. No matter how many times I’ve been to the top, it never fails to impress me. There may be taller buildings in London but the tip top of the Gherkin is just really cool.  Perrier Jouet commissioned Brazilian visual artist Vik Muniz to create a unique label for the 2005 as this vintage is the most extravagent wine of the Belle Epoque collection, according to cellar master Herve Deschamps. According to the Perrier Jouet, the 2005 is… …A generous and voluptuous cuvée, the complexity of the 2005 vintage reflects a year of contrasts crowned by a spectacular Indian summer. Chardonnay, Perrier-Jouët’s nominated grape of choice, is predominant in the blend while the cuvée owes its richness and pure, salmon-pink hue to the Pinot Noir variety. After nine years ageing in the House’s cellars, the result is a perfect balance between the year’s character and Perrier-Jouët’s stylish, floral and diamond-cut house style…… The bottle has the traditional anemones on the front but the back label is where Muniz let his creativity come out to play. The artist created a long gold plated label running from top to bottom with the story of the 2005 etched on it. The surprise though is when you look thru the bottle from the front. There Muniz has etched in a hummingbird which appears to be feeding from the anemones. Beautiful!  After the unveiling of the 2005, we were treated to the Belle Epoque 2006 upstairs, where the space at the very top of the Gherkin had been transformed into a nightclub for the evening. A great night out, how could it not be with Perrier Jouet flowing freely. There were only 2000 bottles produced and only 200 are available in the UK. Look for it in Harvey Nichols or at Searcy’s Champagne Bar. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike...

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