Dom Perignon 2002 rose – Intensely sublime

Jan 30, 13 Dom Perignon 2002 rose – Intensely sublime

Posted by in Champagne

Looking forward to trying the latest release of Dom Perignon rosé, the 2002? Well, too late. It was released yesterday in the UK and the entire allocation is gone!  That was fast but after being one of the lucky ones to be invited to the launch yesterday at Leighton House Museum, I can see why it flew off the shelves. When the cellar master himself, Richard Geoffroy, says that the 2002 rose is “one of the closest to the ideal” of what a rosé champagne should be, it’s not surprising that it’s been snapped up so quickly. Yesterday was the launch of the 2002 rosé here in the UK at Leighton House Museum. It was rather fitting that the launch was in Leighton House as the musuem is treasure trove of priceless Islamic tiles that Lord Leighton collected in his lifetime. Very apropos considering the official world wide launch of the 2002 was in Istanbul last week. We were seated around a square pond in the Arab Hall, which puts one very much in mind of the sitting room of a Turkish palace. And in the middle of the room, Chef de Cave, Richard Geoffroy walked us through our first tasting of the 2002 rosé. Richard believes that the 2002 is a statement about pinot noir, that it is about intensity and volume, a full bodied wine with room for creamy expansion. One thing that did surprise me about the rosé was the colour. I would expect a rosé that is over 10 years old to be showing it’s age but the 2002 was still looking very youthful. It was a bright strawberry hue and could easily have been mistaken for a much younger wine. So what did I think of the rosé? It was an intense wine. I think I wrote on my FB wall something about it being the Christopher Walken of rosé champagne. And it is – smouldering & intense with deep fruit flavours and aromas – cherry, black cherry, smoke, iodine,...

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A few suggestions for champers next week

Dec 21, 12 A few suggestions for champers next week

Posted by in Champagne

I ran away to Thailand for the holidays this season and not missing the cold, wet, soggy weather at all but one thing I am missing is champagne! Sadly, champagne is prohibitively expensive in Thailand due to taxes so I’m missing my favourite drink. Before I left, though, I managed to get in a few drinks. Perrier Jouet sent me a couple of bottles  of champagne to match with holiday fare. Although the GH Mumm Cordon Rouge might not be the first champagne to spring to mind, it’s a great food champagne and one that, when I try it, always ask myself, why don’t I have this more often? Fresh and crisp with lots of tiny bubbles and a zesty citrusy finish, it’s great to pair with turkey. I like Perrier Jouet Grand Brut NV with creamy cheeses like brie, with it’s high acidity and clean sweep of bubbles, it leaves you ready for the next mouthful. And, let’s not forget my favourite, the vintage stuff! I had the 2004 G.H. Mumm with hunks of gruyere and crackers, the nutty, bready flavours and aromas working well with the champagne. 2004 was a pretty good year and the Mumm 04 is developing very well. It still has plenty of life to go. So there you have a few suggestions from Mumm and Perrier Jouet. Enjoy all that champagne, I’ll be sipping on mai tais in Thailand but thinking of champagne…. I Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Lunch with Champagne Duval-Leroy, A family run champagne house

Oct 29, 12 Lunch with Champagne Duval-Leroy, A family run champagne house

Posted by in Champagne, Food and Wine, France, restaurants

One of the things I love about wine, among the many, are the back stories that go with them. Meeting the winemakers or owners and listening to their tales of how the wine came to be, is fascinating and for me, always enhances the wine drinking experience. I had just returned to London from a long press trip but wasn’t going to let that stop me and went straight from Southampton to The Greenhouse Restaurant in Mayfair to meet Carol Duval-Leroy, her son Julien and their winemaker, Sandrine Logette-Jardin. I do love champagne and never say no if I can help it! What piqued my interest about Duval-Leroy was the fact that Carol took over after the untimely death of her husband about 20 years ago. She has not only kept the house going but is also the only woman to head a champagne house today. She now runs the house with the along with her three sons. Much like the original Veuve Clicqout of the 1700’s, she has not only continued but made many innovations as well as producing top quality champagne. The House is one of the few that uses organic grapes for their Brut Champagne and their tasting room is the only one in Champagne to  incorporate photovolataic panels, have a system for retrieving rainwater and have soundproofed it with a wall of vegetation. Over 40% of the Estate is made up of Premier Cru and Grand Cru villages on the Cotes des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. But enough of that, on to lunch. We started with the Fleur de Champagne 1er Cru, made from 100% Premier Cru grapes, they call it the Fleur because the nose is very floral. A blend of 70/30 chardonnay/pinot noir, it was light and fresh, a great aperitif and way to start the lunch. The Rose Prestige 1er cru is made by letting the must goes through an 18 to 20 hr maceration before malolactic fermentation and then a blend of rose saignee and white...

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Ruinart 2002 lunch

This week marked the beginning of Spring and I am so ready to say goodbye to winter! What better way to celebrate then with  the launch of the Dom Ruinart 2002. Oh, yeah! Ruinart have a very distinctive bottle shape and it’s easy to spot one across a crowded room. I am a sucker for design but what’s in the bottle is just as distinctively designed. One of the qualities I most admire about champagne is the concept of assemblage.  Having spent a fair amount of time around vineyards both in Champagne and in other wine producing regions, I think that to blend champagne must be one of the most difficult things to do (no disrespect to other wine makers as I know how hard producers work to coax wine from the vine).  The cellar master uses base wines (which are thin and acidic forerunners of the wine to come) from various vintages and is able to foresee how that wine is going to transform into champagne after going through not one but two fermentations and then spending a minimum of 3yrs in a cold dark cellar laying on a sediment of dead yeast cells. Incredible and yet, the Champenois manage to produce their amazing champagnes year in and year out. Ruinart Chef de Cave Frederic Panaiotis pointed out that for Ruinart, the quality they most desire is a refined timelessness and elegance while at the same time not becoming a boring champagne which never changes with the vintages. He said that when they work on blending the wine they pay particular attention to the mouthfeel, weight and softness in the mouth while at the same time ensuring that they are making a lively and flexible champagne. He likened their champagne to alpaca wool, instant luxury and quality combined which, although you don’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate, does help. The complexity and depth of the champagne is a pleasure for experts but it also has an immediate appeal and he says...

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Vertical tasting of Chilean wine – Casa Real 1989 to 2010

Jan 30, 12 Vertical tasting of Chilean wine – Casa Real 1989 to 2010

Posted by in Chile

A few weeks ago I went to a wine workshop organized by the Chilean premium wine producer, Santa Rita Estates on the top floor of Millbank Tower. What a view! What was just as impressive was the vertical of their super premium wine, Casa Real. Going back to the first vintate 1989, we tasted through to the latest  2010. Casa Real is a true “vintage” wine in that they only make the wine in exceptional years, just like Vintage Port or Vintage Champagne. Since 1989 there have been only 8 productions of Casa Real. The region is dear to the heart of the winemaker Cecilia Torres, who has been the winemaker of Casa Real since 1989. She thinks the vineyards, Alto Jahuel, are capable of producing such fine wines because of it’s terroir of alluvial soils above a layer of clay which gives excellent drainage and impart a minerality to the wines. The vines are 50 years old but still going strong. The wine is 100% cabernet sauvignon, aged in French oak barrels for between 12 and 14 months. Tasting the wines, they all showed excellent balance- fruit, acidity, tannins all there existing harmoniously. One of the presenters noted that these wines are very exciting because they show the future and the ageability of Chilean wine. He predicts that in future, Chile will have more super premium wines appearing in the marketplace.  Cecilia commented that her favourites were from the 1990’s as they exhibited light and elegant qualities and they haven’t dried out or lost their fruit character. Off all the vintages, the 1989 is her favourite. We tasted 2010, 2008, 2005, 2002, 1999, 1997, 1995 and 1989. I started with the youngest and worked my way back. The 2010 and 2008 were full of ripe red fruits and bitter chocolate notes, the tannins still grainy but not unpleasing to the palate. I could taste already that they were going to develop into exceptional wines, the quality of the fruit disclosing itself already. 2005...

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