Wednesday, 6 July 2016

CHAMPAGNE AND BEYOND - BUT WHERE?

I cannot deny the effects of global warming. I won't condemn it and nor will I praise its benefits. I shall, however, gladly, accept just sitting on the fence and watch what happens.

Although Champagne region is getting progressively warmer and 2015 is year to remember, it is interesting to see how some Champagne houses experiment with producing fizz outside of Champagne.

The fact that Moet et Chandon has been involved in making fizz outside Champagne, often surprisingly superior quality than their standard Brut Nectar, NV, in probably the most famous regions of the world is somehow an established norm. But there are some very interesting regions where considerable influence from Champagne is beginning to make its mark.

Recently I found out that Taittinger is tying up with Hattingey winery in England. Louis Roederer has been often attempting to find a new region able to produce high quality of grapes is also quite known largely due to resounding success with Roederer Estate (in Europe it is called Quartet) and its somewhat less successful effort with Jansz in Tasmania. One of the very recent wines I tasted, were what I would say a follow up tasting with remarkable results; Simmonsig, Graham Beck both from South Africa; Wiston Estate, which actually made me think (because their stuff is so good) about the future of fizz outside of Champagne!

Not too long ago I wrote an article that some Slovakian fizz was beginning to show are very nice potential. I still think the producers there are very compromised in trying to define their styles. I do have hopes and may be plans for Slovakian wines; but as far as the plans are concerned, I am getting cold feet, a bit.

Whilst Tasmania, seems to show a great potential and we can only hope what is next coming out of it.

I mustn't overlook the great potential of Yarra Valley especially in respect of the Chardonnays, but that is hardly news.

I have been keeping an eye on one region because of its immense potential for Pinot Noir; Central Otago, and Akarua is the perfect example that not only is the new kid on the block but a serious player on the market. The wine has its slight disadvantage and that is the price point, but this is always the case with a great fizz outside of Champagne.

As we know that Champagne is such a small place with such diverse character expressions the rest of the world does not have yet, but I hope that Central Otago has the potential to be the cradle of new fizz expression of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes that is yet to reach its heights!

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