March 2018 Champagne News 

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to a whole new focus

It’s been a long gestation, but www.kaaren-palmer-champagne is now born, and slowly growing. In addition there’s a new facebook page, Kaaren Palmer Champagne, plus the usual other social media accounts, Instagram and Twitter.
The website has been populated with new and updated information, some of which is derived from the Galaxy Guides website, which is still operational, should you happen to want to look for an old posting, such as Only A Day in Champagne.

On the new website EVENTS is frequently updated. Use the top navigation with the drop down from MORE to find champagne education, books, videos and useful websites. Under CHAMPAGNE, you’ll discover sections on serving, storing, accompaniments, plus Houses and co-operatives. An updated list of growers and their contact details, together with local distributors, will be published in the future.

Meanwhile, there’s plentiful news, much champagne has been tasted, and champagne events attended. 

Kaaren Palmer
Kaaren Palmer Champagne

Tyson Stelzer

is hosting some great events.

At the Charles Heidsieck soirée at Musque in the Barossa Valley..from the left Megan Nunn, Jody Rolfe, Kaaren Palmer, Tyson Stelzer, Sara Underdown, Kevin Palmer. Image courtesy Sara Underdown.

We loved his Charles Heidsieck soirée at Musque in the Barossa Valley and the special visit from Fabrice Rosset from Deutz. Many exceptional Deutz champagnes were served, including the new single-vineyard 2010 Hommage à William Deutz Parcelles d'Aÿ, about which you might like to read more.

For all upcoming events, please regularly check
Kaaren Palmer Champagne News and Events

drinking now

Hugues Godmé Les Champs St Martin 2007, from a single very choice vineyard, is among the range of excellent biodynamic champagnes from Hugues Godmé. It drinks as a cuvée de prestige, as does the Sous Bois. I just wish that we had more. The 2008 version in comparison is tightly coiled, and needs another three years in the cellar before we open a second bottle. The range of champagnes on offer means that you can enjoy single grape varieties, and then check out how they work in a blend. Available from Nick’s


Tasting Notes
Hugues Godmé Grand Cru Sous Bois (Verzy and Verzenay)
A blend of 5 harvests (40% Chardonnay, 60% Pinot Noir; 30% 2009, 30% 2008, 20% 2007, 10% 2006, 10% 2005; 50% first fermentation in traditional 225L champagne barrels, while 30% underwent malolactic fermentation in stainless steel; no fining or filtering, disgorged April, 2016 with dosage 4g/L.
A light, lemon colour with plentiful and persistent fine bead, the nose is seductive and complex. After a general impression of fruit-studded brioche dough, cooked and fresh fruits such as apples, pears and yellow peaches soon appear, followed by mint and tobacco hints. Structurally tied closely to the aromas, the mouth istense and salivating, with a long, dry finish of parallel complexities. A luminous and outstanding example of superb drinking.
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Ratafia Champagne Egly-Ouriet

Top drinking

from the last three months

★The two Hugues Godmé cuvées mentioned above

★2006 Jacques Lassaigne Blanc de Blancs – golden, with a fine and slow bead. Ginger, spice and all things nice. Sweet melon, candied citron, cinnamon, lime juice, mixed and Middle Eastern spices lead into a spine-tingling palate of lemoncurd on gingerbread with a long, slow and exciting lime juice finish. This champagne is a great example of a winemaker conducting his terroir in symphonic fashion. Drink it unaccompanied, or try it with ginger and lemon poached chicken breast, sliced, then dressed with a light soy, served on jasmine rice.

★2006 Emmanuel Brochet (40% Chardonnay, 30% each Pinot Noir and Meunier; 4g/L) – golden, glistening and good. If you want to have the feeling of eating Christmas biscuits by the seaside, the experience of a deliciously evocative nose that includes chocolate honeycomb and toffee covered toasted walnuts, then this cuvée is for you. Palate-wise, the firm attack reveals its aperitif style, with plenty of oyster-shell salinity over the palate. The finale is long-drawn with juicy lemon. Think: oysters, sea urchin, tender calamari.

★ 2012 Champagne Salmon Rosé de Saignée Extra Brut – a single vineyard beauty from Chaumuzy.

★2004 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne
Good friends arrived at the door with a bottle to share, and we should have allowed it breathing time before greedily pouring and tasting. But the reductive, lean and shy palate blew off and we were able to appreciate the toasty and biscuity aromas, the superbly smooth palate, and finally, a symphony of aromatic and gustatory delight.

★ 2002 Champagne Krug – with lobster!

★2008 Champagne Louis Roederer, crispy and salivating, paired with 2008 Champagne Pol Roger as aperitifs at a very special birthday dinner.

★ 2008 Champagne Palmer’s Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs NV and the Chardonnay dominated NV. Special note to self: order in the winter, when transportation will be cooler. 

★ Robert Moncuit Reserve Perpetuelle Blanc de Blancs from Le Mesnil, obtained from Langton's


In its annual guide to the best wines of France, highly regarded magazine, La Revue de Vin de France, has awarded a well-deserved ‘coup de cœur’ [translation: love-strike], to Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve. 40% reserve wines and long ageing on lees impart enticing, elegant and complex aromas to a luscious palate of excellent vinosity. This is truly one of my favourites, and always held for further ageing in my cellars.
We hope that we’ll be able to add Champagne Piollot to your tasting list soon. The distributors, Living Wines are coming to Adelaide’s La Buvette and the Adelaide Hills’ Aristologist, and we hope that they’ll bring samples. I purchased some bottles of this producer after reading a great review of the Polisot producer’s 2008 vintage in a French champagne guide, Jean-Michel Garnier’s Exclusif Champagne 2014. Recommendable.
Champagne Boizel have found a new Australian distributor, Matt Schmitt from Crush Wine Distribution. I have tasted the entire Boizel range on the Avenue de Champagne in Épernay, and found all delightful. For pricing, contact Matt.
The cellarmaster is leaving – long live the cellar-master! Long-term chef de cave, Dominique Petit says his farewells to Champagne Pol Roger next month, and will pass the baton to Vertus’ La Goutte d’Or Cooperative’s experienced chef de cave, Damien Cambres. You may have tasted his work before, as Champagne Paul Goerg and Champagne Napoleon have both been made under his care and control.
Champagne Larmandier-Bernier has purchased some more vineyards in Avize and Oger, adding to their Grand Cru holdings. The vines are old and well located, and will contribute to the 2018 harvest. And on a very happy note, the son of the house, Arthur, rejoins his parents after a stint overseas, and has been welcomed back to the team. In the mean time, Sophie and Pierre are thrilled to hear that Decanter Magazine placed their Longitude among the top 20 wines of 2017, while the Springfield Champagne Group included their 2008 Vieilles Vignes de Levant for showcasing the wines of Cramant. Those who drink a lot of champagne, and thrill to the tension between fruit and acidity, absolutely loved it and saw great potential ahead, while others found it uncompromisingly taut. But what a gift for any cellar, and to be able taste the same vintage and the same wine in five years from our cellar – I almost can’t wait, but I must!
Christopher Walkley of Glass of Bubbly online magazine, waxes eloquent about Champagne H. Blin from the co-operative at the pretty village of Vincelles on the right bank of the Marne Valley. Follow the Route Touristique along the northern River Marne, and you’ll find it near Dormans, its slopes south and southwest producing supple, balanced and fruity champagne. If you like Meunier, you’ll be interested in these, available in Australia from The Good Drop 

Charles Hargrave distributor of Champagne Bernard Bremont, gives us a review of the plans for the expansion of the Champagne vineyards in his blog. More information about these fascinating houses can be found in the appendix of Champagne, A Tasting Journey. 

Drinking locally...Adelaide

Further special treat territory may be explored at the home of Australia’s iconic red wine, Penfold’s Grange. Believe it or not, I’m speaking of the restaurant at Magill Estate, where friends and I spent an evening tasting pre-Pernod Ricard 1990 Perrier-Jouët Belle Époque, Selosse Version Originale, 2002 Salon, and 1996 Billecart-Salmon Clos St Hilaire. There was some pretty nice Penfolds’ stuff, too, all of goodly age. Finally, a gorgeous ratafia from Champagne Egly-Ouriet bid us a stunning goodnight. Many thanks to Penfolds Magill Estate sommelier, Bhatia Dheeraj, for assembling a formidable list full of the best growers and stunning cuvées de prestige not normally available to the mere mortal.

Also in Adelaide, and nicely stored at The Apothecary, we found in its long and tempting champagne list, a 1999 Pol Roger Winston Churchill and a 2002 Billecart Clos St Hilaire.

East End Cellars – choose from the fridge at modest corkage, or enjoy the Champagne José Dhondt by the glass. Reliably lip-smacking Louis Roederer NV by the glass is available diagonally opposite at Mothervine, also at Hey Jupiter further west along Vardon Avenue.
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