Wednesday, 2 February 2011

CHAMPAGNE - THE MYTHS AND THE LEGENDS

Since in the last post I threw in a few names and in fact some names have been mentioned here I have decide to share my thoughts and experiences with some houses and of the wines they produce.

I have a very relaxed attitude about any Champagne and with those that I have not tried I normally have a blank sheet on which I write my thoughts and impressions. Strictly on purchase basis, that is that I drink the whole bottle myself to see how the wine develops while it is being drunk and see how my attitude change while I am getting drunk. This philosophy resulted in some interesting discoveries.

In the course of 'a nearly a decade' of drinking but more importantly thinking about Champagne I have reviewed a few hundreds of wines. Of course I am nowhere near Richard Juhlin's 8000+ champagnes, of course not, but I have always been interested not only in just wines themselves, and their intrinsic value, but equally importantly the reputations of the houses making their wines, their philosophies, their missions, the peoples' perceptions, the peoples' thoughts, affections and more surprisingly I witnessed the formation of my own opinion of the houses and wines respectively.

Like in many the word Champagne evoked certain feelings in me, it compelled me, it disappointed me, it made me question, ask and further probe what is the big fuss not necessarily just about the drink but as later proved, about the reputation of some houses where the wine failed to live up to the expectations which were laid either by the promotional campaigns in magazines, price tags, previous experiences of other cuvees from the house, magazine reviews, sommeliers, shop assistants, books, encyclopaedias etc etc.

The undisputed power of names such as Bollinger, Krug, Cristal, Dom Perignon, Taittinger, Laurent -  Perrier, Moet et Chandon, Perrier Jouet, Pol Roger, Vueve Cliquot, Lanson, Salon and many more have all  some stigma attached to them, and it was interesting to see which were contrived and which evolved as a result of a great product.

I will provide my most sincere thoughts on the houses and their wines while abstaining from giving you catalogue like descriptions of the wines of dull historic fact of the houses. For those you may want to look to Juhlin, Sutcliffe, Stephenson or just the website of each of the houses or if unsure just use wikipedia. This article will reflect the journey of discovering the quirky aspects of Champagne, facts or things usually dismissed, overlooked, or as it happens absolutely wrong.

Learning of the myths and the legends in connection to Champagne has proven to be quite an exciting journey. So you do have something to look forward to.

....to be continued.

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