Wednesday, 23 September 2015


This is the black hole of any wine maker, critic, and consumer. And trust me, not even a bubble can escape it.

Is there such thing as the best Champagne?
The process of understanding what 'the best' may be I have already addressed and in conclusion I was no clearer.

But since, years have passed and I had the chance to ponder again.

I realised that it is nobody other than merely the consumer that declares the BEST CHAMPAGNE. And this means that there are many, and not just one.

Admittedly there are conventional attitudes toward this definition but they are only relevant as far as motivation to drink it is concerned. And the experience? is unique to every individual.

So what is your best Champagne?


Tuesday, 22 September 2015


How many times have I actually been at Fortnum's?

I don't know! I suppose I lost count!

I have always been a bit reticent to buy 'house brand' Champagnes, but since Fortnum's seems to be the brand of excellence, I had had my eye set on their range. But I never committed to buying a bottle.

Why? Perhaps distrust to house labels!

I have always been wary of recommending Champagnes; chiefly due to the incomprehensible power of the word 'Champagne' and moreover the expectation that the word induces. And I was no different.

But back to Fortnum's; if it weren't for my ex boss, now a very dear from mine, I would probably never taste the house stuff from them. It happened because chocolates not Champagne but once my friend produced the box, it was clear who would get what! She got chocolates and I got Champagne. We shared of course but....

So what was it like?

Hmmmm, if you roam around the shop on Piccadilly it is not difficult to ascertain the mood, and I think the Champagne embodied the 'mood' of the shop. It was soft, lingering, enticing, non-confrontational, somewhat plain but in its own simplicity a memorable tipple. I will have to ask if the Champagne is expected to manifest the ideological heritage of the shop.

Chances of my buying it? Quite slim, but when chance permits I will be looking out for it.

A good experience nonetheless.


Saturday, 5 September 2015


How long has it been? 13 years that I actively decided to explore Champagne? In fact I have always been fascinated by it. There are things I can't explain and some I do not want to. Once I said, 'love, genius and beauty are incomprehensible' and this applies to Champagne, with exaggeration, ten fold. 
In the previous entry I indicated that objectifying can be more damaging than helpful, in fact, I had per-pended for years how relevant it actually is. I have always been reticent to dictate to anyone what a wine tastes like. To taste this and that might serve a purpose but over the years and with the expansion of 'trained noses' the message that is often conveyed is like a code of something that is indeed incomprehensible. I recall reading Metro at my usual wine shop and read in amazement that comparative assessment of three rose Champagnes was a selection of the same words in different in different orders. And how on earth is the reader supposed to orient himself in that? My professional experience of the wine professionals wasn't the best. I don't intend to be bitter, but I think that cashing on ignorance is rather unfair. From my entries it is apparent that my assessment of wines from Champagne is reduced to a distinctive characteristic. Take for instance Louis Roederer; its silky and fruity character lingers in all its wines. For Pol Roger I can only say that it is a fine (I mean refined) Champagne. So as much as I will be condemned for it, everyone's experience is a unique one and reduce it to objects deprives us all of the enjoyment of the experience. I drifted from the objectiveness, although, I had attempted it, but now I shifted toward describing the experience of the wine rather than reduce it to a few words. And this is where my policy of one bottle person, on one's own is the best place to experience the wine. I don't like mixing emotions from the environment with the emotions that the wine induces. Champagne is art, and so is poetry and when we describe our experience of poetry we describe the emotions it evoked. More on this in the book! p.

Friday, 4 September 2015


When I first had Pol Roger, I was not very impressed. Why? I suppose it was too opulent too round and with aggressive bubbles. Perhaps I was wrong. Perhaps, I was inexperienced. But that was over 12 years ago and since then I tasted a few vintages and other products from the Pol Roger range. And over those 12 years I have selected a few producers whose vintage releases I follow religiously to taste the expressions of the year in which they are released. I am happy to say that Pol Roger Vintage is one the new additions to the club. So what was it like? The vintage 2004 in Veuve, Bollinger, showed similar signs as 1995. Great, and I mean grand, chunky, rich, lean in taste and expressive on the nose. Typically pinot noir based wines, and rich oxidative character this year and the wine have a very down to earth character. Where 95 was elusive, almost esoteric with Bollinger, structured and bodied in Veuve they both showed exquisite potential for aging with almost eternal elegance. 2004, is slightly old for its age in the bottle, but bearing in mind that the wine had a lot more on lees than 95 it is only to be expected. In 2006 I tasted it as R.D. and I could draw very interesting parallels without compromising the expression of the house styles. Anyway, I highly recommend it. I am reticent to ambush you with my 'objectified' notes on it because I stopped making them and started to focus on spontaneous expression. Cheers Peter


I am almost a month overdue on writing the entry of an event that I invented. I also completely broke the tradition of highlighting the best Champagnes of the year past and failed to issue recommendations on what would be the best tipple. This year's ICD was for lack of a better word, and in fact when you think about it, an oxymoron, quite modest (modest Champagne? ehm!). I spent it in the company of friends who this summer almost adopted me as a member of their family as my own family seemed to have disowned me. So I celebrated it with the best of the modest Champagnes and that was nothing more but Bollinger Special Cuvee. Peter p.s. the list of Champagnes that I have yet to cover is growing very thin. I do have a few things that I want to share.