Monday, 19 August 2013


It is now over ten years since I declared 'May today be The International Champagne!'. I did wonder if there had ever been one so I googled it and there was none. Years later, in fact only 2 years ago,  apparently it is celebrated in late October. Why on earth would you celebrate it then?

Anyway, that aside, I was going to celebrate the decade of celebrating.

I spent a week trying to find the right Champagne. I could not find the right one till literally, 5 to 12. And it was Cuvee Dom Perignon 2003.

And about that, later.


Wednesday, 7 August 2013


I am always asked: 'what is the best Champagne?'. I have addressed that question, albeit in a slightly convoluted fashion, in one of my previous entries, so I shan't bore you with that now. But I have never been asked is 'what is the worst Champagne?'. Perhaps we all know a bad one when we taste it or pay for it. Perhaps we see Champagnes as all great and thus we seek to find the better in all the greatness; I don't know, I am only speculating.

However, what I can conclude is that over a period of time there have been some shocking disappointments. Some wines were so disappointing and as it turned out that such disappointment was experienced in the entire range of the house that produced it. So I decided that I would write about those that stand out as the most disappointing Champagnes I have ever tasted:

1. Krug Rose
Seriously over priced tipple with lovely bluish/purple/pink hue but hint of spice on the palette but at £300
2. Krug Vintage 1990
Seriously overrated, with no longevity of the classic 1990 vintage so effortlessly demonstrated by Veuve's La Grande Dame; Krug is at at least £150 a bottle. Greatest disappointment was with 1995 vintage.
3. Dom Perignon Rose 1992
WTF? at £260 per bottle? No further comments!
4. Dom Perignon 1995
Such a disappoitment! Such a great vintage!
5. Krug Grand Reserve
Bollinger, Louis Roederer, Philipponnatt make more enjoyable non vintage at substantially lower prices (Krug is at around £100)
6. Moet et Chandon NV
I would not even bathe in it! Someone referred to it as the Coca Cola of Champagne and that Pepsi is Piper Heidseick. Principally don't drink it and have no idea how much it costs. But it is very popular in Oslo despite the fact that Pol Roger Vintage is cheaper, that Gosset is much cheaper, that Bollinger is much cheaper.
7. Cristal 2002
See special entry dedicated to this: Cristal Clear Disappointment!

As you can see they are all prety much high end bottles. The best of the best! Thus the price tags attached to them seems to reflect that, but then, you can also see that the higher the price the greater the expectation.
I am not exactly the richest man but the poor don't live like me.



Normally, from July 17th I go on Champagne holiday, that is that I don't drink it and I don't buy, but since I am approaching 10th anniversary of International Champagne Day I thought I could make an exception and dedicate more time 'to work'; and have a shorter holiday!

Anyway, it was not a deliberate intention but so it happened that one day I walked to a shop with wines and noticed how marvelous their selection had been. Then, I made that mistake of turning my head toward their Champagne selection.

Few minutes later, and in great delight that someone shared the same views and sentiments about wines, I was committed to buying something I had never seen before but had heard of (read about).

On paper this wine seem technically excellent. Multivintage blend of 96, 97, 98, aged in wood, plus 12 years on lees, 50/50 chardonnay and pinot noir and extra bottle age. Winner! With a price tag under £50 my elation was climbing very high. I say that but in reality I was impressed with how great the wine looked on the tech spec. 'I could have not thought of better!' I thought to myself, but only if I were to construct a cuvee of my own without tasting the specific base wines.

Complex, big, caramel notes with brunt bread (more like baguette rather than toast) hint of roundness resembling cream; all of which are expected. But then I tasted it.

While I was indulging in the opulent aromas of the wine sipping it was something different. I was shocked at how acidic the wine was. I nearly thought that the wine was acidified to such an extent that naturally the grapes were so inferior and there was no other way to make it drinkable. There are only two ways to tell with some certainty; one the speed with which you get drunk, two the hang over. Neither of which gave any indication validating the inferiority of the grapes.

So what was wrong? I don't know! Probably the maker!

Still wine worth tasting as it is a perfect example of technically perfect a Champagne can be, but then even paper perfect can manifest a massive error!