Pub crawl? pfft! How about a Champagne Crawl instead?

Jun 28, 11 Pub crawl? pfft! How about a Champagne Crawl instead?

Posted by in Champagne

London has the longest champagne bar in the world, situated in St. Pancras Station. Searcy’s runs the bar in St. Pancras but it’s not the only champagne bar they have, they also have a series of champagne bars across the capital, in such diverse locations as train stations, upscale malls and even across the street from St. Paul’s cathedral. I was invited to partake in a champagne crawl one early summer evening and happily, it wasn’t raining, although if it had been, we probably wouldn’t have noticed anyway, the champagne was flowing. Searcy’s wanted to show off their rather chic bars as well as the great champagnes they offer. Who says champagne should just be for special occasions? We started out crawl at The Village in Westfield Mall in West London. The Village is full of shops like Prada, Gucci and Dior, I mean who doesn’t need a glass of champagne after that kind of credit card workout? The Searcy’s in Westfield is curved around the foot of the escalators and to start off our evening we had a Ruinart blanc de blanc aroma profile game to play. I had been to the launch of the Ruinart aroma box back in March so I tried not to participate but it was a fun experiment to do again, this time I didn’t do so well but it had already been a long day for The Winesleuth (I’d just arrived from Brighton).  This particular location has not only a bar area but also a separate cocktail area with tables and banquetttes partitioned off from the rest of the mall so you can sip in peace. All of the bars have extensive champagne lists and the prices start at £8.50 for a glass of house NV. When you consider a pint is what? Almost 4 quid nowadays, why not splurge a bit now and then on a nice glass of champagne? I like the layout of the menu, various glasses available by vintage, blanc de blanc, rose,...

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Riccardo Prosecco wins the Taste of London summer wine award

At the recent 2011 Taste of London wine awards, Riccardo Prosecco was awarded the Taste of Summer wine award. It was a tough competition, over 80 wines were blind tasted one early Wednesday morning and after much discussion and to-ing and fro-ing, Riccardo Prosecco won the day. Riccardo was up against some tough competitors but at the end of the day we decided it would indeed be the wine that was most emblematic of the Taste of Summer. The first time I had Riccardo prosecco was last summer at a secret supper club. I had never heard of them but was surprised at the quality of the wines. As I recall, I found them to be quite substantial wines, not just your run of the mill, slightly sweet, fizzy white wines. These were proseccos with a backbone, wines that were not just for aperitivo-quaffing but could also be enjoyed with a meal. I liked the wines but never really ran across them again and filed the name away. That is until this past April when I found myself on a holiday in the Veneto region. The Veneto is just a hop,skip, and a jump away from the prosecco producing region of Treviso so I hopped on a train and an hour and a half later, I was at the foot of steep hills of the ConeglianoValdobbiadene DOCG, chatting with Roberto Fornasier, the son of one of the brothers who own Riccardo Prosecco. Riccardo prosecco is in memory of the father of the brothers. Did you know that the grape to make prosecco is not called prosecco? I didn’t know that until I visited Treviso and the prosecco producing region of Valdobbiadene DOC recently. Up until 2009, prosecco was the name of the grape but because so many other regions were hijacking the name prosecco and calling any Italian sparkling wine prosecco, whether or not the wine was actually made from the prosecco grape, the Italian government decided to take action. They went back to...

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Croatian sparkling wine, talking with the winemaker – Ana Persuric of Misal

I’ve been writing quite a bit about Croatia lately not only because I went and visited but because there are a lot of young and dynamic winemakers who are making excellent wine. I recently wrote about my visit to Bruno Trapan and another young winemaker I’d like to spotlight  is 25 year old Ana Persuric of Misal Vineyards. Ana and her sister Katerina have taken over from their father who first started producing sparkling wine in 1990. Misal are the only 100% sparkling wine producers in Croatia. I visited Ana one Saturday afternoon and after a tour of the winery, we got down to business in the brand new tasting room they built. The room is new but it’s in an old farmhouse that is centuries old. Click on the vid to hear Ana talk about her zero dosage  100% blanc de blanc. A big thanks to Trevor and Judith of PactaConnect who introduced me to Ana and her wines. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Listz in the cellar, visiting the Kirnbauer Vineyards, Austria

I´ve heard of abattoirs in the UK that play classical music to the animals while they are waiting for the chop and  on a more pleasant note, people have been known to play classical music to their unborn children but classical music in a wine cellar? For the barrels? Well, why not?  They are slowly “growing up” as the French refer to maturation (elevage)  in the barrel. We were listening to the soft strains of Listz while down in the very modern wine cellar of  Kirnbauer Vineyards just outside Duetshkreuz, Mittleburg, Austria. Their cellar is very new replete with a plexiglass walkway above the cellar so you can look down and see the barrels while walking above them. Conversly, Markus says in summer, it’s also fun to be in the cellar looking up….the boys seemed to agree with that statement…but anyway… Listz was born just 5 kms away and the winemakers thought it would be nice to have local boy playing along to the local grapes. Kirnbauer is a family owned and operated  vineyard near the town of Deutschkreuz, amongst the hills of Mittleberg and close to the Neusiedlrsee.  Together, they create a unique microclimate that allows for the grapes to flourish, the hills protecting them from the winds and the shallow sea creating a warm pocket for the grapes to grow. An interesting tidbit I picked up on my trip to Burgenland with a group of winebloggers after the European Winebloggers Confernce in Austria recently. Kirnbauer specialize in blaufrankisch and, indeed the area is known as blaufrankischland because it grows so well there. A red varietal that is the specialty of Austria, blaufrankisch is a mineral laden red wine that comes from mostly the East of Austria in the area known as Burgenland. Often sporting boysenberry and red berry flavours, spice and slate notes with, depending on the area and style, either mouth coating tannins or round and elegant, it´s  red wine that´s hard to ignore. While I was in Burgenland, I tried many different blaufrankisch and many of them...

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Cruase – Italian sparkling rose, yes, I said rose, wine

It’s Italian week here on the Winesleuth. Yes, more stories and wine finds from my recent trip through Lombardy in Northern Italy. I like rosés and like sparkling rosés even more. Italy’s not really known for their rosés, let alone sparkling rosés but that’s all about to change thanks to the Oltrepò Pavese consortium. Oltrepò Pavese is located in the region of Pavia, Lombardy on the 45th parallel, the same as the region of Burgundy and like Burgundy, the region has historically grown pinot noir or pinot nero, as they call it in Italy. The Consortio Tutela Vini Oltrepò Pavese has taken as it’s mission to produce naturally sparkling rosé wines from the region and launch them onto the world. Cruasé is their sparkling rose, the name being a hybrid of the words cru and rosé. In an interesting twist, while researching the history of the region, it was discovered that in the 17th century, cruà was the name given to vines and the wines that were produced in the region. Cruasé is made in the  traditional method and have a minimum of 85% pinot nero with the remainder being made up of the local varieties. It’s a DOCG wine which means that there is are strict rules and regulations regarding the production of the wine before it can be labeled and  sold as Cruasé. I was quite delighted to be offered a glass of sparkling rosé as soon as I arrived at the restaurant, straight off the plane. We tried Cruasés from various producers and I found most of them to be clean and fresh but not terribly exciting. The reservas, however, now there was something to get excited about. Aged 24 months on the lees, these were the ones that I liked best but you know, I always go for the oldies. The wine was showing very nicely, candied red fruits on the nose and palate with that familiar aroma of a bakery on a early Saturday morning hovering above the glass....

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