Debut of the Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru 2002

Jun 12, 13 Debut of the Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru 2002

Posted by in Champagne

More champagne today. As Liberace said, “Too much of a good thing is wonderful…”  (I just saw “Behind the Candelabra” – good movie but didn’t knock my socks off. And that is the end of my film critic career…) ANYWAY, back to the more important stuff…It’s that time of year when the champagne houses release their vintages and Alice  Paillard was in London last week to introduce the Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blanc Grande Cru 2002 and it’s brand new label. Sitting with Alice and listening her speak so passionately about her family’s champagnes is infectious. Describing the champagnes, she really showed the care and detail that goes into all of them, not just the Blanc de Blanc. They age their wines until they feel they are ready, they want to show the style of  the vintages, which helps explain why they are just now releasing the 2002 when most of the other major houses have long ago released theirs. The 2002 Blanc de blanc Grand Cru was a surprise – still very taut and zinging with minerality, it has a floral quality to it. The grapes come the first pressing of 2 Cotes de Blancs Grand Cru – Oger and Le Mesnil-sur-Oger and have spent over 10 years on their lees. Alice said that she and her father, Bruno, differed on this champagne, he thinks it’s pretty and floral and in her opinion, it’s a vertiginous champagne, it has a fine structure -she sees it as a champagne of geometry (I think her father is the romantic in the family and she’s the pragmatist). Drinking it, I could appreciate both their points of view. A very pretty nose, full of floral qualities but totally different on the palate – a champagne that does indeed have structure or better yet, for me, it had many different layers. The more I drank, the more I discovered. We had a starter of cured salmon, avocado, crab and orange slices with the B de B 2002 which...

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Wines for Father’s Day and Beyond, Chateau Chantelune and Premier Cru Chablis

Jun 08, 13 Wines for Father’s Day and Beyond, Chateau Chantelune and Premier Cru Chablis

Posted by in France

Father’s Day is just round the corner but it’s not too late to get your Dad the perfect gift. If you’re visiting me, you must be looking for a few wine recommendations and I’ve got a few from The Perfect Cellar.  I was recently sent these two lovely wines (Chateau Chantelune and Premier Cru Chablis 2011 Mont de Milieu) by the Perfect Cellar and think they’d be very good choices for your Father’s Day gift giving. The first one is a red Bordeaux produced by Chateau Chantelune. They may not be very well known but are a small vineyard that has been developed and cared for by Jose Sansfins, technical director of Margaux house, Ch. Cantenac-Brown. I tried the 2009 Chateau Chantelune, a fabulous blend of merlot and petit verdot, with a plate of charcuterie and bread. I decanted it for about half an hour before drinking it and it opened up nicely. On the nose, loads of black fruits and spices jumped out of the glass, followed by a smooth, velvety textured palate. I noticed flavours of blackberries, licorice and toast with a long finish. A great choice and priced at £32.99 a bottle, a Bordeaux that punches above it’s price point. I was recently in Chablis and came away with a new found appreciation of Premier Cru Chablis. There are only 40 Premier Cru in Chablis, most planted on southeastern facing slopes which helps them get as much sun as possible. Premier cru wines also spend a bit of time in oak which gives them complexity and flavour but they still have the crispness that one associates with chablis. The Mont de Milieu 2011 Premier Cru by Domaine Charly Nicolle. A fresh but elegant wine, full of white flower and white stone fruits on the nose with a distinct hint of minerality. This wine would be great with creamy seafood dishes or roast chicken. Retailing for £20.45 a bottle, a real charmer. As an added bonus, The Perfect Cellar is running a promotion in...

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Alain Geoffroy’s corkscrew museum in Chablis

Mar 29, 13 Alain Geoffroy’s corkscrew museum in Chablis

Posted by in France, Travel

When we arrived at Alain Geoffroy’s tasting room,it was the end of a long day of tasting in Chablis and while it had been an illuminating day of tasting, I must admit by this time my teeth and palate were ready for a small break. When Alain’s daughter, Nathalie, came out to greet us and asked if we wanted to tour the corkscrew museum, how could we say no. I love visiting these little out of the way museums that seem to be dotted around French wine regions. I once visited a seashell museum in Champagne, but, I digress. The collection is comprised of more than 3000 corkscrews, corkpulls and other types of accoutrements to get the cork out of the bottle. In addition, Alain has also collected antique viticultural tools used in the vineyards and has a whole collection of tank spigots – I know it may not sound all that interesting but it is kinda cool to compare the old days technology with what they use now, especially considering that some of those tools were used in the not so distant past. There was also a slightly disconcerting assortment of mannequins used for the displays. I think it’s safe to say that they spent most of their money on acquiring the corkscrews and not the mannequins. The museum is officially open the same days and times as the tasting room. There is a nominal fee to pay but Natalie says that’s mostly to ensure that people are really interested in seeing the museum (and probably not looking to nick an antique corkscrew). Afterwards, we did indeed have another tasting of Geoffroy’s wines including a few older vintages from 2009 and 2008. The tasting room is open most days as is the museum so if you are looking for something off the beaten track, Alain Geoffroy’s corkscrew museum is pleasant diversion from all that wine tasting.  Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Veuve Clicquot Harvest 2012

Nov 02, 12 Veuve Clicquot Harvest 2012

Posted by in Champagne, Travel

I was invited by Veuve Clicquot to be a part of their harvest this year and I of course, jumped at the chance. For the past few years, the House has opened it’s doors to select journalists and friends of the house to participate in the joys (and backaches) of a traditional grape harvest. This being Veuve Clicquot however, we were eased into the strains of doing a harvest by being hosted at the Hotel Marc the evening before we hit the vines. The Hotel is the original home of Veuve Clicquot and had recently been renovated. A cool and stylish mix of classic interiors and modern design, I especially liked the little touches of whimsy, such as the life sized stuffed Ostrich wearing Veuve Clicquot orange sunglasses or the hallway lined with larger then life portraits. After the aperitif of 2004 La Grande Dame in the cellars, we sat down to eat in the main dining room. During dinner, we were served a very red wine, the only one that comes from Champagne, a Bouzy red made from pinot noir, I believe it was the 1983, a great wine and still very drinkable. It’s a shame in one way that they don’t produce more Bouzy red but then again if they did, we’d have less champagne. The next morning started with a brief demonstration of how to cut the grapes and also examples of what types of grapes we should and shouldn’t throw into the pannier (basket). It was fascinating, especially since it was all in French (which I don’t speak- yet)  but I’ve been around enough vineyards to get the gist of it: dirt and leaves – bad, moldy grapes – bad, no moldy grapes – good,  got it! We were giving nice clean white (!) gloves, a pair or secateurs and shown our vine. We each had our own row to pick and me and my harvest partner, Christina, got to work. There is a rhythm and system to it. For...

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Win a pair of tix to Film4 Summer Screen at Somerset House

Film4 Summer Screen is returning to Somerset House from 16th to 27th August, and The Wine Sleuth has teamed up with the official wine sponsor of this year’s events, Bordeaux Wines, to offer a pair of tickets to one of the sold out performances – Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (PG) on Sunday 26th August. All tickets are completely sold out so this is your chance to win tix. To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets for the performance, all you need to do is answer the following question: Q: Bordeaux is the home of grapes renowned the world over. Name one of the three most widely used grape varieties in Bordeaux blends. Tip – there is a hint here TO enter: leave the answer in the comment section at the bottom of this post. Our lucky winner will be able to enjoy Steven Spielberg’s wild, whip-cracking sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark. The man in the hat is back when Harrison Ford returns as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The action comes thicker and faster second time around, as Indy’s search for a mystical stone leads him to a dangerous subterranean world and pits him against a sinister religious cult. Each evening a film will be shown on the giant screen with full surround sound under the stars. The series will offer visitors an exciting and eclectic line-up of classic, cult and contemporary films, enjoyed with Bordeaux wine by the glass or bottle. Alongside the films will be an accompanying programme of insider talks and special events as part of Behind the Screen, and ticket holders are invited to arrive early and listen to a line- up of London DJs. The official wine sponsor of this year’s events, Bordeaux Wine, from the South West of France has produced red, white and rosé wines for centuries. Bordeaux wines will be on sale at the Courtyard Bar and the CIVB will also be sampling wines...

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