Monday, 31 October 2016


Well, well! I tasted, but didn't drink Bonnaire range in 2003 with the wine maker and his son. I asked out of curiosity when the son first drank Champagne. It was the father who replied: "The minute he was born". It was probably intended as a joke but I decided to believe it. Since then Bonnaire slipped completely from my radar, for a few reasons of course. It was practically invisible to me as hardly anyone stocked it. My  memory of it was great, and memorable but in those days a malolactic Champagnes and a straight Chardonnay weren't exactly on the top of my agenda of Champagne explorations. In those days I was fascinated by Pinot Noir expressions. Though, it would be unfair to say that about a year later I would drink Mumm de Cramant which is a village, grand cru, growing exclusively Chardonnay grape producing extremely elegant and floral Champagnes. Mumm's relic which I have not seen on the shelves for years reminded me of Bonnaire, but yet again, Bonnaire slipped my mind just as Mumm's blanc de blanc slipped from shop shelves; for years (a decade!)

Until, last Friday, it was offered to me as a gift. I was very pleased to see it! I was pleased to see they have changed the design and I was pleased to be drinking it. I was excited to finally have something as delicious as Cramant Chardonnay.

Oh and was it sensational! Round, perfectly balanced, although not a total blanc de blanc but unmistakably rich, full of fruit and long elegance. Structured almost like an Avize Chardonnay would be, and as elegant as Le Mesnil would grow. Brioche nose with light hints of honey will develop over a few years into nice hazelnut tones. And for an entry level Champagne this is an absolute BARGAIN and a total sensation!

I have a new favourite!

Buckets of it now!

Monday, 17 October 2016


I am not sure how many really care, but the question that I have been trying answer to myself is clearly on my mind, and has been for a few years.

The difference this time, is that perhaps I have found an answer to it which I feel is good enough to accept without compromising wines or houses or vintages, which may not stand out as much as some select few or worse reduce the brilliance of vintages, house styles just to a universal one. That in itself for me seemed too unjust and discriminatory, and in simple terms I just could not do something like that because, as you have probably ascertained, I experienced so many wonderful Champagnes and to select just one was a mission impossible.

I ,also, perhaps slightly hypocritically, dumped the question on my reader and between the lines the text was: 'I cannot make that decision nor will I commit to naming the best champagne so if you are a drinker who cares about that, then perhaps you should name your best Champagne'. This was a good approach, one a psychologist would apply, but in the end the question remained unanswered. And, as  friend put it, 'a Champagne expert' like me, with my own critical approach, should be able to answer the question. Because, I, too, as a drinker, dumped the question on me.

You will find that the answer is just as confusing as the question, but the story of it makes sense. The fact that even an expert, regardless who named him/her, cannot answer the question does not mean that there is no answer to it. Yes, there is no such thing as the best Champagne, in fact the oblique nature of the adjective 'the best' is in respect to Champagne wines, houses, vintages virtually impossible to apply. Without a doubt it is okay to accept that Champagne is the best wine in the world, but he who drinks it will know that, and he who does not will probably argue that so that as a question and a dilemma is practically redundant.

The answer is surprisingly simple. It is a straight forward no; there is no such thing as 'the best Champagne' but if the question is changed into something that many aren't able to articulate, we encounter a very reasonable avenue of thought and emotion to explore. And it is exactly there where the answer lies.

Those that drink Champagne genuinely love it. It is true that the current trend of dissing Champagne in favour of 'Prosecco', is best summed up as cheaper alternative but delivers a similar sensation albeit utterly incomprable. So human sensation is the answer. I can progress from processo and say with great confidence that Champagne is infinitely more sensational. I can also say that there are some sensational sparking wines from all over the world but then there is Champagne, wine and region, which produces the most sensational fizz in the world and even within that region there are more sensational Champagne than others.

Naturally then, what is the most sensational Champagne? And what is the best sensation in a human life? Love? Falling in love? Standing in Love?

So, what is the most sensational Champagne? Well, simply, the one you love, or the one you have fallen in love with! Does this satisfy me as the answer the question of 'the best' Champagne? YES!
Because I have fallen in love with a few and love many.