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Kaaren Palmer's Champagne News May 2015

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MAY IS

swiftly passing, and there's an inordinate amount of Champagne News, probably best divided over two sipping weekends, celebrating or commiserating over one's footy team, or commemorating those departed, such as Joseph Henriot, who, at the end of April, died at the age of 79. We immediately took stock, because we like Champagne Henriot very much, and despatched our magnum of 1998 Brut at a dinner worthy of it, toasting his memory and the efforts he made to re-establish the historic Henriot brand after his term at Veuve Clicquot. Decanter writer Yohan Castaing, pens a beautiful short eulogy well worth reading CLICK HERE
I offered my 1996 Enchanteleurs to the Springfield Group while I was living in Champagne last year, in a fit of enthusiasm after meeting cellar master Laurent Fresnet at a tasting that celebrated the age-worthiness of their delectable vintages, and thinking that I had more..... But the 1998 in magnum was a consolation, drinking so perfectly that I was proud to share it while at the same time wishing that I'd been more selfish.

ADVANCE NOTICE


Bastille Day Dinner
Tuesday July 14, 2015
Chianti Adelaide South Australia
 
A collaboration, between myself and Ann Oliver with the kind permission of Chianti Adelaide, this is going to be a wonderful evening celebrating all things French. Advance notice will go out Monday June 1, 2015 and include menu and booking form. This dinner is limited to just 30 guests and will not extend to a second night.

AS FORESHADOWED

last month, Assignment Dom Pérignon.
BOOK YOUR PLACE in Hautvillers!  

FINE Champagne magazine

(new website coming soon at http://www.fine-magazines.com/) reveals the Top Ten champagnes from their 2015 tasting on their http://thetastingbook.com/p/100bestchampagnes website, and don't we just love it when their choices coincide with ours! I do admit to never having tasted Laurent-Perrier's Alexandra Rosé, nor the 2006 Henriot which seems to have slipped from distribution in Australia, except for the reliable NV. But I can think of at least a half-dozen champagnes which could easily replace these in a Top Ten – Bollinger Grande Année 2004, Bruno Paillard NPU (Nec Plus Ultra) 1999, Deutz William Deutz 1999, Lanson Noble Blanc de Blancs 1997 and 1998, Jacques Picard Art de Vigne 2002, and so on and so on. We HIGHLY recommend registering for the Tasting Book's website. Even if you don't often have time to indulge in reading and writing about what you're drinking. It is the top site for champagne lovers, and increasingly, other fine wines. Moreover, some true luminaries leave their assessments consistently styled. Read opinions from people such as Essi Avellan MW from Finland, Andrew Caillard MW and Ken Gargett from Australia, Gerard Bassett MW from the UK, James Suckling from the US. Moreover, real people are at the helm. Pekka Nuikki, chief editor, actually responds to friendly emails.
 
Here Are THE Top Ten!! And what is most exciting is that these champagnes are currently available stocks, with the exception of Henriot Vintages, in Australia. 
 
1. Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rose 2002
2. Laurent-Perrier Alexandra Rosé 2004
3. Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2004
4. Ruinart Dom Ruinart 2004
5. Charles Heidsieck Vintage Rosé 1999
6. Dom Pérignon Brut 2004
7. Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002
8. Krug Vintage 2002
9. Louis Roederer Cristal 2004
10. Henriot Millésime 2006
 

WHY SHOULD

Hong Kong kids have all the fun? The Comité Interprofessionel de Vin de Champagne, known for many years as the CIVC, has now officially finished its transition to its new name, the Comité Champagne, and that is now the name that you'll find on their website and on press releases. Always busy with education, they've now released an App, Champagne Campus in Chinese, French and English. Also on-line http://www.champagnecampus.com 
Four questions test whether you are a Novice, a Lover or an Enthusiast. Champagne aficionados should head straight to the quiz for each section. 
 

IT'S EXCITING

that Champagne is being considered by UNESCO for official endorsement as a World Heritage Area, and we'll know after a meeting in Bonn at the end of June, early July. Specifically, a three sites represent Champagne – the hillsides known to have been planted earliest, and known as part of the Grande Vallée de la Marne on the south-facing bank between Hautvillers and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, the old Roman chalk pits converted to cellars and known as the crayères of Reims, and the grand Avenue de Champagne full of its historic Champagne House buildings in Épernay. Below: scale model of Champagne Ruinart's crayères in Reims.

IF YOU

like photo albums, have a squizz at the one CLICK HERE with very handsome Hadrien Mouflard heading the album, and sartorially elegant as only the French can be, suited for the occasion. It's in French, but in this case the pictures speak a thousand words about the past and the youthfully energetic present. You might also like to have a look at Drappier's album CLICK HERE 

WHAT'S ON

in Champagne?
  • Catch it while you can! An exhibition of past trappings of champagne marketing in the tourist office in Epernay, 29 Apr - 31 May  
  • The run through the vineyards from Aÿ for 18 km through the vineyards of the Marne Valley is on again on May 30th, but registrations are now closed for participants, as the maximum number of 1600 has been reached. As usual, departure is in two stages: a timed race with ranking without tastings, and a festive race on a hilly course 21.5 km free pace without a rating - admittedly - but with champagne tastings and many activities throughout the course. If you're keen to participate, you'll have to wait until next year, 28th May 2016 CLICK HERE
  • Not to be missed in Reims, the light show which plays onto the facade of the cathedral, with atmospheric sound accompanying. Hours of operation are posted near the operating box, Place du Parvis, in front of the cathedral. 
  • Also in Reims, 6th-7th June, the Fêtes Johanniques, celebrating Joan of Arc's contribution to the history of Reims, begins at 2pm on the Saturday. She, who guided the Dauphin to Reims to be crowned as Charles VII in the famous cathedral, is now commemorated by a mediaeval fair full of spectacles - jugglers, jousters, madrigal singers, strolling minstrels, knights and fair maidens, magicians and market stalls, artisan displays (forges, spinners, etc.), fighters, hawkers and hucksters, food stalls and spit roasts (no cutlery or napkins, it's mediaeval, after all, just wipe your hands on your costume). Costume? Indeed, many join in the spirit of the weekend, dressing up, and doing what the Rémois do best if it's sunny – basking in the sunshine in the Place du Forum. Le Wine Bar is perfectly situated. The streets between the Place du Forum and the cathedral are closed to all but foot traffic, and a suitably mediaeval atmosphere is maintained with performances on the stage near the cryptoportique, the old Roman covered markets below street level. The highlight this year will be a procession from Basilica St. Rémi to the Cathedral, with actors taking the place of St. Joan and the Dauphin. The cathedral is the venue for performances of sacred music.
Copyright © Kaaren Palmer & Ann Oliver 2015
 
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On behalf of James Smith

We would like to invite you to attend a very special Champagne dinner at Chianti Adelaide.


Champagne – from Rosé to Blanc de Noirs


Tuesday June 30, 2015. Chianti head chef Tobias Gush, sommelier Duncan Vent and Chianti’s resident consultant chef Ann Oliver have presented a menu devised working in collaboration with James Smith and matches that are the sum of the passion they all share for Champagne.
$195 per person food and Champagne
Please CLICK HERE to download the menu and Champagne matches and CLICK HERE to download the booking form.
 
This is a very exclusive dinner and seats are limited to just 30 guests. Payment is required when making a booking.
 
This dinner is hosted by internationally regarded Champagne expert James Smith and sponsored by the Champagne Bureau.

HOW CHAMPAGNE

ages for 170 Years!!! Bottles of Heidsieck, Juglar (subsumed by Jacquesson) and Veuve Clicquot were found from the 1830s–40s lying deep beneath the sea, on the trading route of those times between France and Russia. A total of 168 bottles of 170-year-old champagne lay on the dark floor of the Baltic sea, twenty-one metres below the surface. It was a curiosity, but was it any good? On tasting, it was purportedly still 'fresh, floral and fruity' (Le Monde), conserved by the depth, coldness and stillness of their environment as well as the higher levels of added sugar of those times. This was despite being three degrees lower in alcohol, which scientists believe to be due to the cooler climate of the times. Renowned Swedish taster was one of the privileged few to try it. He found aromas of orange, Christmas spices, honey, and peaches. Philippe Jeandet, food biochemist at the University of Reims: tobacco, leather, the intrinsic features of champagne, and scientists at the Uni confirmed the accuracy of Veuve Clicquot's records (by testing, not tasting!) and as well found cheesy and animal notes, also 'wet hair' aromas (The Times). All researchers were from Philippe Jeandet's group in Reims combined with researchers from the University of Munich. The results were submitted as a paper to the American National Academy of Science: 'spicy, smoky and leathery' aromas, they said, also that the champagne was fermented in wood (no surprise as all champagnes were then fermented in wood). To read about what the scientists actually tested please CLICK HERE

OF SERIOUS

interest to enthusiasts, especially those without big cellars, is the debate, which has been going on for some time, about the amount of time a champagne should rest after disgorgement to allow the dosage to integrate fully into the champagne. All good producers allow a minimum of three months, and many prefer a much longer time. But, as is always the case in Champagne, nothing will be decided until everybody agrees. Decanter reveals that quality-conscious producers with plenty of storage capacity favour a ruling to maintain consistent excellence across all producers, whether grower or large House. Once can only guess at the identity of the demurring chef de cave. On the same page is a link to Tyson Stelzer's top late-disgorged champagnes. 
 
Above....past trappings and gizmos (exhibition in Épernay) features items such as the trendy 19th century fan.
Copyright © 2015 Ann Oliver, All rights reserved.


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