250th anniversary of Ruinart Rose

Mar 07, 14 250th anniversary of Ruinart Rose

Posted by in Champagne

Did you know that Ruinart were the first champagne house to ship rosé champagne back in 1764? That fact was only recently discovered by the house when the was doing a bit of research into their archives. Although Veuve Clicquot was the first to do an assemblage rosé back in 1880, Ruinart was the first to ship a rosé champagne in 1764. According to the House accounts books, on March 14th 1764 a shipment of ‘120 bottles, 60 of which were Oeil de Perdrix’ was sent off to the Baron de Welzel as well as to the Austrian Empress Marie-Thérèse. ‘Oeil de Perdrix’ refers to the colour of the eye of a dead Partridge. After the bird has been shot, its eyes take on a delicate pink coppery colour which perfectly describes the colour of Ruinart brut rosé. Throughout the years, the French had various terms to describe a rosé, roset, oeil de perdrix, rozet, paille, clairet and cerise. However, by the end of the 18th century, oeil de perdrix had disappeared and was replaced by rozet and finally with rosé. This year is the 250th anniversary of that first shipment of ‘Oeil de Perdrix’ and Ruinart has a variety of activities planned to mark the occasion. One of the first was the debut of edible pearls at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden this past February. The pearls are soft, slippery beads, reminiscent of the texture of caviar, that are filled with either a rose or raspberry gel, not too sweet, which complements the rosé. The edible pearls will be available at select venues with the purchase of a glass of Ruinart rose. Something different that’s for sure. It’s nice to see the Champagne Houses continually striving to expand and enhance the champagne drinking experience.     Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more

Visiting the cellars of Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Mar 03, 14 Visiting the cellars of Laurent-Perrier Champagne

Posted by in Champagne

A few weeks ago I was in Champagne and paid a visit to the House of Laurent-Perrier. I always enjoy cellar visits but the ones in Champagne I especially like because they are usually carved out of chalk and full of all that lovely champagne! The cellars of Laurent Perrier snake beneath the House for 10 kms and encompass not only the old cellars that are are over a hundred years old but also the sleekest stainless steel tanks I’ve ever seen. Laurent Perrier was one of the first houses to switch to all stainless steel tanks in the 1950’s which they believe contributes to the fresh, pure style of champagne that they are known for. The bouvelard of stainless steel tanks that greeted us when the glass doors swooshed open looked like they would be more appropriate on a sci-fi set than a winery underneath the Champagne soil. These stainless steel tanks however didn’t just hold fermenting wine, these were the tanks that the House uses for it’s prestige cuvee, the Grand Siecle. Each tank is devoted to a grand cru village and is individually marked with a silver nameplate. The tanks are further separated into red and white, one colour on each side of the room. The hall of steel tanks ends in an elegant but futuristic looking tasting room. The House uses giant cement tanks as well for their other cuvees and these were also arranged down along a silent and atmospherically lit hallway. The tanks brought to mind a mausoleum but what was waiting within those walls was very much alive and just waiting to be turned into champagne. Afterwards we moved upstairs to the classically furnished rooms of the House for a tasting of their champagnes. Gorgeous and plush, the room was the perfect setting for our luxurious tasting, too bad I shorted out the room! I needed to recharge my iPhone so while our host was getting the champagnes, I tried to plug in my adaptor. Zap! A...

read more

A Visit to Champagne Charlot Tanneux, a Biodynamic Champagne Producer

Feb 19, 14 A Visit to Champagne Charlot Tanneux, a Biodynamic Champagne Producer

Posted by in Champagne

Every time I go to Champagne, I discover yet another interesting producer. This time while visiting my friend Caro (who lives in Hautvillers), she suggested we visit small biodynamic producer, Champagne Charlot-Tanneux. The winemaker of Charlot, Vincent, is marked as one of the up and coming winemakers of Champagne so I was anticipating our visit to the vineyard and cellars. It was a rainy and windy afternoon as we drove up to the house and Vincent suggested we visit the vineyards in Epernay which are protected from the wind.  We drove out to have a look at his biodynamic vineyards, full of wild garlic, violets and covered in grass. Vincent converted entirely to biodynamic practices 5 years ago and is wines are now certified by Demeter. All of his wines are biodynamic but he only labels half as such and the other half he sells as organic. After checking out the vines we headed back to the cellar to taste a few 2013 vin clairs from the barrel. At the time we visited, the wines were almost done with their fermentation, a few having finished already. Vincent showed us wines from various terroirs amongst his vineyards. We tried two different barrels, same vineyard but two different terroirs. There was indeed a noticeable difference, the vines on chalk and clay showing a lot more minerality. We also tasted a blend in barrel that was a co-fermentation of chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier. It was already showing much complexity and I almost thought that it could be drunk on its now, it was so tasty. Vincent likes to do this his way and makes only wines that will please him. He won’t change his winemaking style to suit the buyers. His opinion is that if they don’t like his wine, there are others who will. After the barrel tasting, we went upstairs to taste a couple of roses. Vincent likes to make his rose saignee which means they are left to macerate for up to...

read more

Champagne Ayala, An Historic House Coming Alive Again…

Feb 17, 14 Champagne Ayala, An Historic House Coming Alive Again…

Posted by in Champagne, France

Walking up to the House of Champagne Ayala, I was struck by the ornate and grandiose facade of the winery. Built after the 1911 Champagne riots, the winery is where everything happens at Ayala. Ayala can claim that they are one of the few houses where all the production occurs under one roof, from pressing to packaging, it’s all there. At first glance, Ayala doesn’t sound like a French champagne house but it has a long history in the region. The Ayala family were originally from Spain and were sent to South America by the Spanish government in the colonial period to govern in what is now Colombia. The family spent two generations there before returning to Europe in 1830 and settling in Paris, where Edmond, the founder of the House was born. Edmond moved to Champagne in the 1850’s and married the niece of the Vicomte de Mareuil, whose dowry included various vineyards. He created the house in 1860 and set out to build the brand. One of the first things he did was launch a drier style of champagne to the UK market. At the time, champagne made in the mid 19th century had up to 300 grams/litre of sugar so when Ayala introduced a champagne with ‘only’ 21 grams, it was a revelation. So much so that they eventually received a royal warrant from the Royal Family. By the 1920’s Ayala was producing over a million bottles of champagne a year. Unfortunately, the house fell on hard times and from the mid-20th century went into decline. It wasn’t until the house was bought by Bollinger in 2005 that they have now begun to recover their former glory. Bollinger has put in considerable investment to bring the house back from the brink. Although, they are careful to point out that Ayala is not Bollinger’s second wine. The styles are widely divergent, with Ayala making completely unoaked champagnes whereas one of the hallmarks of Bolly is the influence of oak. They’ve also introduced...

read more

Laithwaites Wine for Valentine’s Day

Feb 05, 14 Laithwaites Wine for Valentine’s Day

Posted by in All, Featured Post

I know I posted not long ago that I was only going to do one obligatory Valentine’s Day post but there seems to be soooo much love in the air, that I’ve decided to do another one. There’s so much hype and pressure around Valentine’s Day that honestly, you’ll need a glass of wine just to get through the day, never mind through dinner. I personally prefer a sparkler, champagne if possible, as my drink of choice for Valentine’s Day (well, for any day really) but there are plenty of delicious red and white wine alternatives out there. Laithwaites know there are so many choices so they’ve come up with a great offer in conjunction with Avios to help you out this year. Laithwaites Wine have teamed up with Avios to give you the chance to save £38 on 12 bottles of prosecco and if you’re an Avios member, for a first-time purchase, you can collect Avios with Laithwaites, up to 1000 points. You can use Avios for things like days out, trips and more! The promotion has started already but will run until 10th Feb. But not to worry, Laithwaites are not limiting the promotion to Valentine’s Day wine. They’re also offering savings of up to £50 on selected 12 bottle cases of wine. So sign up and start collecting your points for that holiday in the sun or a fun day out with the family. And enjoy your Valentine’s Day with Laithwaites Wine Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

read more
%d bloggers like this: