Tuesday, 21 June 2011


Has it already been one year? Wow, it is either very hard to believe or the Champagne year has really come to its end at practically supersonic speed. So he we are me and you, where I am feeling a little more sentimental than usual when I reflect on the last year's Champagne experiences.

I shall begin with this. I mean this thing you are looking at. The blog.... and I hope you have followed it as it is expected. I know you were busy. I know you had other things to do, and I know that not everybody cares about Champagne the way I do. But still make it a New Champagne Year Resolution to read the odd blast of my intellectual engagement with otherwise a plain fruit salad with side effects. At least you won't have a lot to catch upon. And you think that this is a long one then you really weren't reading the blog.

We established several other things such as the Scandinavian Paradox.

You might ask: 'you drink so much do you ever exhaust the champagne and is there something new to try still?'. Oh god yes! I still have a few on my radar that I want!

The Ring of the Great Century found its way back to out hands. No we don't control the world's supply of Champagne (if only) but it still continues to cause a stir and draw sometimes disdainful comments about what it is I am wearing on my little finger.

So what was this year's best tipple? Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs is definitely the one that exceeded all expectations. The next on the list is Billercart et Salmon's Blanc de Blancs and as number 3 from all the Champagne I drank last year is Philliponnat Cuvee 1522. No that is not a vintage, well it was but 2000 not 1522. And as it looks this year, despite several favourites which were drunk on a regular basis, last year is clearly ruled by Chardonnay!

So what to prepare for 18th of August 2011 for the 8th INTERNATIONAL CHAMPAGNE DAY:
1. If you re in London and on budget go for Bollinger Special Cuvee but make sure you get it up on Kilburn High Road
2. If you re in Sydney see how well priced is Gosset in comparison to Louis Roederer and then choose as your mood dictates. Gosset Brut Excellence is like little icicles of fruit on your tongue and Louis Brut Premier has always been silky and luscious
3. For Slovak consumers if nothing else then go for Tesco's Premier Cru but if you want to splurge that one bit more actually nearly double of the price of Tesco Finest's go for Louis Brut Premier which is reasonably priced in a shop near Kempinsky Hotel.
4. In North America I won't comment this year. Choose whatever you want even Krug's Clos d'Ambonnay.
5. Stockholm go for Bollinger Special Cuvee in Magnum. Systembolaget has it cheaper than in London.
6. Oslo's and Norway's Vinmonopolet has Gosset Grande Milessimme 99 at a bargain so that is likely what I ll be having too.

So enjoy the holiday. Feel no pressure, Champagne or otherwise. And remember, some parts of the book have already found their way on here.

For now and for a while till THE INTERNATIONAL CHAMPAGNE DAY cheers and consume your fruit salads sensibly; actually why should you! it only has 90 kcal per glass :)

Sunday, 19 June 2011


I would like to say it began 'with a big bang' and yes an actual one because the one that we all know of as Big Bang wasn't an actual bang because in vacuum sound waves do not travel.

I think, and I really only think how it MIGHT have begun I have to turn you to Bill Conti.


ORF 1 tuesdays and thursday at 18:30 CET

do laugh!


This was a birthday gift to myself from myself. I washed with it 25 rock oysters and still managed to share with a friend.

So what was the wine like? Unfortunately, the staff that sold it to me had no clue what it was about. Totally contrary to his description the wine's finesse was comparable with Rol Roger by only about 50% with evident use of wood which interestingly resembled Gosset Grand Cuvee and because it was heavy on Chardonnay I considered it a less value of Cuvee Royale by Philliponnat but only 3 times the price.

I would recommend the experience not the wine.

Thursday, 16 June 2011


I am easy. I am not easy in that sense of the word that implies that my heart and soul are on the threshold to be stammered on by anyone: au contrair!

Nevertheless, when someone gives me a bottle of Champagne I am always happy. When someone wants to impress me with a bottle of Champagne that, unfortunately, does not happen that often. The most impressive bottle I ever got was Louise 90. I thought 'someone engaged intellectually when choosing!'. Those that know me will endeavour to give me something I either like or have not had. In both both cases success is guaranteed. With respect of Louise 90 I probed how they came to that particular one? It transpired that it was a joint venture and that everything else would be either too predictable, or too ordinary, or too bad.

There however stands out one incident that has not received an acknowledgement. Months ago when I met someone, I was gifted a bottle of Laurent Perrier 2002, which by comparison was much more enjoyable that Cristal 2002, but what struck me was that the person hardly knew me, had only just met me and chose a wine that is as close to The Great Century as it gets! What was it that prompted this individual to choose this bottle over several others? Instinct? Price? but LP is not that expensive so is that why I got a vintage?

Regardless of the motivations many thanks for it and apologies for the delay in acknowledging the excellence of the choice, and more so, the suitability for the time when it was drunk!


Tuesday, 7 June 2011


Delamotte is as close to Salon as you can get. Not just in the title of this article but also physically since these two are neighbours in the no less a famous village of Le Mesnil sur Oger separated by a 15 cm thick wall. These two houses are also connected intrinsically.

Grapes that are not good for Salon in any given year are not used in Laurent Perrier cuvees but are used in Delamotte. To correct some potentially wrong assumption, Delamotte vintages stand alone and can consider themselves a player on the scene that not many know about.

For example, 1995 harvests for both were declared as vintages so in that very surprising harvest where the wines demonstrated body, structure, weight and depth of character both houses nailed it. Delamotte did not get the Salon grapes because they declare a sublime tipple themselves.

But what wines they both were!!!
Delamotte - was big, slightly older, thus richer on honey notes, but as Le Mesnil would give anyway, a slap in the face, with structure, balance, finesse and great potential for aging. I tasted it twice and at first it was a little bit shy but then bang!
Salon - WTF? I am still in awe of this wine! Someone once told me that when they tasted it was too young, at which point I wondered 'which book did you read that in?'. The wine was historically young that is true, but too young? At any rate, this wine was 'A Madamme, so chic, and seductive, elegant and so powerful that no one on the planet would ever dream of contesting her'. In a less dramatic sense this was such a power wine, I nearly felt like biting into it not just drink it. At one point I actually caught myself, 'don't bite the glass, drink it' and I had to restrain myself infront of the lady that was showing me around Salon and Delamotte respectively and all I could utter was WOW!. Few years later, as I got a whole case to myself on the day I visited Salon, I must admit the wine fell asleep, the creaminess had disappear but the lean elegance was sublime, there are a few bottles still in my cellar but perhaps for my 60th.

95 is my personal favourite. :)

psst! the closest thing to Salon 95 WTF! was Gosset's Grande Millesime 96!


The fact is that most people are confused about Champagne. The fact is that most people think of Champagne as one wine. It is also a surprising fact how little people actually know about Champagne; I don't blame them. To know about other wines makes people disregard some, sometimes fundamental facts of Champagne. I decided to focus solely on Champagne as there is probably the most consistent progress in vintages and definitely not much progress in styles. For a new producer to develop a distinctive style in a short period of time is pretty slim.

The fact that people don't know much about Champagne makes some people pretty big bucks.

For example: Cuvee Dom Perignon. The problem with this one is that it is actually DP, that is the oldest cuvee de prestige as made famous and made by Moet et Chandon. It is produced in millions of bottles and essentially is the bench mark for any cuvee de prestige. Well, was.

Or, Krug for that matter. There I wonder why? well why is because it is Krug. A monosyllabic word that says nothing except we are big and therefore we can charge a lot. But in the end I have no intention of paying, like eveR, for it. Even when a bottle is gifted to me, I politely accept but I feel nothing extra.

Cristal, is, well Cristal. Sadly it is the brand and the reputation of Cristal that made the label so powerful despite the fact that Brut Premier is much more enjoyable and the Blanc des Blancs is intrinsicly sometimes, superior. Fortunately this is a small house.

As is Bollinger. Fortunately, Bollinger has placed itself on the market in a fantastic position. The Special Cuvee can rival for instant vintage Veuve. La Grande Annee is marketed as a cuvee de prestige as opposed to a standard vintage so naturally rivals Cristal, Krug, DP. But is at least 50% cheaper and it used to be much cheaper. The rest is so different to anything in Champagne that it became a trailblazer in the region. RD and the VVF are just incomprable. But many try.

Not many know or recognised Comtes de Champagne by Taittinger. Good, at least that keeps the price a little more inviting.

Grande Siecle by Laurent Perrier is by far better than DP but for a lot less if in duty free or on special.

Belle Epoque by Perrier Jouet is pretty much the same although it seems to lag behind a little.

Cuvee Winston Churchill, I could not be less overwhelmed. But the vintages can be very very very surprising.

Gosset with its Celebris, it is a bit of a hit or miss, but with the Grande Milessimee bring it one!

Oh Salon, costing a fortune but worth every penny.

And I shall leave it at these.


Monday, 6 June 2011


When I start talking about Champagne I often encounter resistance, condemnation or in a better case just envy, but rarely yet it still happens, I meet someone who either loves it or is open to experience it.

The misconception I normally clarify with the following statement: I have everything you want and nothing you have. You want what I have but I am not interested in what you have.

People usually think that I have everything and I have Champagne, to get the record straight, I don't have anything, I only have Champagne.

No I don't have a mortgage. No I don't have student loan to pay off. No I have no commitments/offsprings. No I don't have a trust fund. No I don't have a house. Which is why I am free to roam around the world as I please......and drink Champagne.:)