WHAT’S ALL THE FIZZ ABOUT?
"Come quickly I'm drinking the stars", Dom Perignon supposedly called out to his fellow monks after "inventing" Champagne. While the quote has been erroneously accredited to him, it does hold wonderment. Champagne is one of those wines that immediately engages your senses.
Just looking at a glass filled with that creamy, golden liquid makes you forget all woes and brightens your mood.
Playful bubbles dance across you palate, you feel every single one. Thoughts of yeast and freshly baked biscuits come to mind, dried apricots, green apples and even marmalade. Before you know what's happened it's time for another glass.
Nothing says celebration like that unmistakable "pop" of Champagne being opened. It's just glorious!
Sadly, there is a dark side to this wonderful creation. I meet people time and time again that tell me they don't like Champagne! I stare aghast, resisting the urge to slap them across the face, restraining myself in the knowledge that it's their fault. They've been led astray. The Devil's greatest con was convincing mankind he didn't exist.
The biggest con in the Champagne market is "big brand" Champagne convincing you you're drinking quality product. You know the ones, the oh-so-recognizable orange label that sits on everyone's wine list. The ones that all seemed to be marked down in price at Christmas time. All you're are doing when you buy a bottle of this pedestrian Champagne, is paying for their expensive advertising campaigns. In my opinion, the quality has dropped off so drastically over the last ten years they no longer represent their purpose.
A bottle of Champagne should be special, used to celebrate a wondrous achievement or to be thoroughly enjoyed with great friends.
Join me in my effort to support Grower Champagne.
Grower Champagnes are sparkling wines made in the Champagne region of France that are produced by the same estate that owns the vineyards from which the grapes come. While large Champagne houses use grapes sourced from as many as 80 different vineyards, Grower Champagnes are more terroir focused, being sourced from single or closely located vineyards around a village.
A Grower Champagne can be identified by the initials RM (meaning Récoltant-Manipulant) on the wine label.
Grower Champagnes have been described as "artisanal winemaking" with terroir being the focus for each wine, rather than an emphasis on a consistent "house style" that can be made year after year. While large Champagne houses, such as Moët et Chandon may source grapes from the entire Champagne region, the vineyards owned by a Grower Champagne maker are generally clustered around a single village.
To me these grower champagnes offer a unique expression of their terroir and provide more character and interest than your standard, mass-produced brand Champagne. In a day where we shy away from mass– produced foods and are opting for the organics, locally grown and sustainable options, why wouldn't we want the same for our Champagne?
Help me start a revolution against what I like to call, "corporate champagnes" and really experience what all the fizz is about!
Champagne is expensive, so why waste your money of mass-produced rubbish when could be tasting the stars for basically the same cost!
Just to give you an idea, take a look at the annual production figures from some of the big houses.
Moet & Chandon – 26 million bottles, Veuve Clicquot – 10 million bottles, Laurent Perrier – 7 million bottles, Piper Heidsieck – 5 million bottles. Surely this quantity can't equate quality?
Look out for some of my favorites next time you're in need of something special:
Champagne Vilmart (110,000 bottles)
Herni Billiot Fils (45,000 bottles)
Pierre Gimonnet (70,000 bottles)
Larmandier-Bernier (130,000 bottles)
Recently I had the privilege to taste a range absolutely stunning wines from Champagne Devaux.
I don't need to be sold on Champagne, I love it already, but to taste something this elegant, reaffirms the majesty that is Champagne!
I tasted through the range that will be hitting the Vancouver market shortly with my good friend Stephanie Power who is the portfolio consultant for Evolution Fine Wines. I love tasting with Stephanie. I have a great palate but Stephanie's is phenomenal! I've always said, women do seem to be better tasters.
Just when I've think I've picked out all the flavors that could possibly be in a wine, Stephanie adds at least five more that takes you on a completely different flavor profile. It's so much fun and we can spend hours discussing the intricacies of a wine.
Champagne Devaux, founded in 1846 is one of the oldest houses in Cote des Bar and produces some of the best pinot noir in the whole appellation. I think this is why I enjoyed their Blanc de Noirs so much.
Made from 100% pinot noir, this was just so approachable and an absolute pleasure to taste. So much complexity on the nose but it didn't make you work too hard for it. This wine was willing give up all everything as if to say, "here I am, love me" and I did! Plum, pear, dried apricot, roasted apple and even tobacco.
The palate was even better;now there is yeast and biscuits. All these flavors together combine so well. To me this is what champagne is all about. The best thing about this wine has to be the mousse (the bubbles), so soft and seductive, every individual bubble caressing the palate and each one holding a different flavor. Heaven!