Thursday, 10 October 2013


Last Friday was the second time I drank this wine. I struggled to find the right wine for the evening but somehow I knew that it would likely be a Louis.

Anyway, I am going to get straight to the point.

The wine: I have emphasised my adorations towards this wine before. It is never just purely because it is Louis nor it is because it is a superb wine. Some vintages were down right disappointment, but occassionally something very unusual comes up. This was the case of 1988.

2006 on the other hand, was something unexpected for it had the sweetness and mellow simplicity of 89 Veuve La Grande Dame, along with soft white fruits of kiwi and white strawberries*, sweeter finish, hint of lemon sorbet and a very long but flattish finish (the finish just lasted and lasted and lasted). It was so good it made me forget the cardinal rule of all Chardonnay blends. I just delighted in every mouthful and clicked my tounge against my palette to enjoy the finish and the taste of the wine. I would like to think that by having such characteristics the 2006 was quite a warm year but 2003 was much warmer and the wine was much rounder.


And since I did not want to spoil drinking, tasting and enjoying the wine with any food, after the last sip, I got a reminder of what effects straight Chardonnay has on me; acid reflux.

* white strawberries don't actually exist as official fruit. As a boy I used to pick unripe strawberries just before they were blushing and ate them in haste because I just loved strawberries and learnt to love the green ones more because they had a very 'green' aspect to them similar to kiwi fruit. The acidity was higher and there was no frangrance typical to strawberries.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013


There are so many hidden facts about Champagne which hardly ever make it to the surface. I will try and tell you as much as it is possible to digest but if you want the full story the details are all going to be in 'the book'.

It is hard to start with Champagne. The allure is just immense. When you think about it, you actually wonder why is it so?

I want to start with the most affordable Champagnes. Not the legendary tipples such as Dom Perignon, Cristal or Belle Epoque. But the bog standard (not sure I have ever had Champagne while in a bog) non vintage technically, and legally referred to NV.

NV is the most affordable, the accessible which makes it the perfect mode of expressing the style. A non vintage for any house not only requires a far amount of grapes to produce it but it is the vehicle of the expertise of the wine maker and the house style. The wines in themselves have various characteristics and this where the house needs to know how to blend them in order to achieve a consistent style. From these blends all other production develops. The vintages are inherently variable because no year is ever the same, but the NV has to be the same regardless of the year.

Every year produces differing quality of grapes and it is not uncommon that some vintage, while being abundant in grapes, the quality is inadequate. Legally speaking it is a requirement that certain amount of wine is stored as reserves. These wines are then used in NV to achieve the desired style, however, this increases the variable of error and diversity of individual blends.

So in the end it is often any houses greatest mission and pride of judgement to produce consistently high quality Champagnes and many house do want to be judged on NV.