September 2017 Champagne News 

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Champagne Girls Shine

My favourite Champagne girls, the seven Fa’bulleuses (bulleuse = bubbly in slang French) have won the Champenois Trophy packaging award for their unique offering of a bucket that can hold a bottle from each of their domains. The bucket converts to a stool covered in leather by Champenois upholsterer, Pascal Vithe....pictured right.

The seven women are all winemakers, daughters of winemakers, and/or managers of their own company. When they first grouped together in 2013 to compare winemaking experiences, and search business initiatives in common, it seemed a novel approach that is now a sub-set of the Circle of Women in Wine.

Of course, it’s not just the packaging, it’s the contents that matter. Many discerning champagne drinkers will be aware of the de Sousa family, for example, based in Avize.

You can find some of their champagnes at the Edinburgh Cellars, Wine Star in Canberra, or France Soir in Melbourne.
Beaugrand can now be found on some good restaurant lists.

Kaaren Palmer
Kaaren Palmer Champagne
Images courtesy Charlotte de Sousa

Tastings this month

Some rather divine bottles have been consumed this month, including some excellent Champagne Hugues Godmé.
The great value Reserve NV, Blanc de Blancs NV, Blanc de Noirs NV and Rosé NV – all Grand or Premier Cru fruit from organically and biodynamically farmed vineyards, with the same principles followed through in the winemaking.

We’ve had these in the cellar since last year, and they persist in being very pleasant and interesting drinking as they evolve in beauty. I see them becoming a cellar staple.

Available from the reputable Nick’s in Melbourne, with all orders over $200 freight free to your door.

Also tasted this month

A beautiful Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2004. With a light, buttery yellow colour, and copious and persistently spendid fine bubbles, it’s enticing from the first moment. The nose opens with fresh citrus flowers, fruit and zest. Nutty and toasty, it takes a glass or a little breather to show all its smooth beauty. The palate is attackingly vivacious, firm and tight, indicating further cellar-worthiness. A powerful and abundant floral bouquet - of a heady, honeyed quality - permeates the long length and finish. Very fine champagne indeed! Distributor: Samuel Smith & Son Pol is usually available at all fine retail outlets. Our bottle had been cellared for the last few years at 12–14°C.

Magill Estate Restaruant

While known for the finest collection of Penfolds wines with a depth and breadth of vintages not found anywhere else in the world, you may not know that Magill Estate is developing an enviable champagne list?

Their brilliant young sommelier, Bhatia Dheeraj, was lured from the Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong and other prior international experience. The list has been reported in the press as comprising ‘more than 100 growers’. It’s time we went to have a look-taste – and eat some great food.

Reservations click here 

Do you know about the
Tasting Book?

It’s free, and you can join by registering click here Many experts, self-proclaimed and otherwise, practise and develop their skills in the company of other like minds. To check out a few champagne entries click here  Another favourite Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2004 is one of the finest champagnes that I have ever had the privilege of tasting click here or another favourite Ruinart Blanc  de Blanc click here

Finnish MW, Essi Avellan, is one of my favourites to follow on this site.

More on the 2017 harvest

From the top...Champagne vineyard landscape and grape press copyright © Victor Pugatschew 2017 and
From those who were there, not necessarily in the most favoured sites. It’s all about the challenges of making champagne in a marginal and unpredictable climate. The grape sorting tables have been well used this year. Caroline Henry specialises in small domains and growers click here

And no prizes for guessing where Henri Krug comes from click here 

Scandinavian heritage?

Well, actually, I mean Swedish. As Swedish as my cousins in Stockholm, as Swedish as my grandfather from Karlskrona. Now, we of Swedish extraction can possibly find some reflected glory in the fact the Swedish team has just won the annual blind tasting competition held by the Revue de Vin de France in Burgundy.

click here for the report.
The Brits came second.


Travelling to Champagne?
Champagne de Telmont, who purchased the amazing reserves of the Marne Valley’s renowned Champagne Collard, today offers workshops and more click here

To Paris?
In the beautiful Passage des Panoramas, off rue Vivienne, try Restaurant Canard & Champagne, and their duck matched with champagne. Or choose from their champagne list, a select mix of Maisons (Bruno Paillard, Jacquesson, Billecart-Salmon) and Growers (J.M. Sélèque, Savart, Laherte, Soutiran, Lallier).

57, passage des Panoramas, Paris 2e
Tel 09 81 83 95 69
From €17.50 at lunch, €32 with matching champagne
Closed: Sunday, Monday. Nearest Metro: Grands Boulevards, Richelieu–Drouot

Champagne Billecart-Salmon

has invited selected wine-writers to their latest vintage release at the Ritz in London. Sadly I could not attend, but those who attended were offered the Chardonnay-styled Elisabeth Salmon Rosé 2006, the Cuvée Louis Blanc de Blancs 2006, the Pinot-dominant 2007 vintage blend, and the savoury and complex prestige Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart 2006. Glass of Bubbly’s report includes an interview with Antoine Roland-Billecart click here 

Also in London (where else?)

A fabulous blind tasting comparing vintage champagne to prestige champagne. Is it worth the price difference? The Finest Bubble, which conceived and organised the evening, reports click here  

My comment: Best Value of the all the champagnes tasted must be the 2005 Lanson vintage, still available at Dan Murphy, and still well under $100 per bottle. $69.40 in any six, to be exact. What a bargain!

The Shout

The Shout national liquor news, brings us news of the vigorous Rapenau family, whose champagne brands include Ernest Rapenau...pictured right, G.H. Martel, Vieille France, Charles de Cazanove, Mansard Baillet, Chateau de Bligny, Charles Orban and Comte de Noiron. Christophe Rapenau discusses the excellent result, at the International Wine Challenge, of their Comte de Noiron champagne in a recent interview, where he is also pictured with a fabulous backdrop of the Chateau de Bligny in the south of Champagne click here 

Nick Breeze’s comments, at the end of this article on viticulture vs. climate change improving the grapes in Champagne, are most pertinent click here 
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Kaaren Palmer
Kaaren Palmer
Deluxe paperback 434pp third impression
$140 AUD + $15 postage
within Australia, available soon

Meticulously researched, Champagne, a tasting journey appeals to the cognoscenti and beginners alike. The work comprehensively encompasses history, geography, the grapes, the regions, production, politics, the people, the flavours, and aromas – each of the 44 chapters is accompanied by a tasting guide, which illuminates the topic discussed in the chapter.

To purchase Champagne...a tasting journey
please click here

A link to European distribution and Champagne Houses selling Kaaren's book will be updated when stock is available. Soon!

Champagne Charlie

To be auctioned in New York and London!
From the collection slumbering deep in the Charles Heidsieck crayères beneath Reims, a stunning collection of bottles of Champagne Charlie will be selected from the very first one produced in 1979, and including bottles from the early 1980s. Also up for the hammer are aged Blanc de Millénaires, Rosés and the Cuvée Royale. Further details from The Drinks Business   and for a potted history of the House, and current marketing events click here 
Image copyright © Champagne Jacquesson 2017
Now available
Champagne Jacquesson 740 is now available for purchase at most good cellars.

The Jacquesson numbered cuvées are always a must for any serious champagne cellar. The 740’s base wine from the exceptional 2012 vintage, is Chardonnay dominant, with a low 20% of reserve wines added. Sumptuous yet lean (extra brut 1.5g/L), lively, with seriously vivacious length smacked off by that cleansing lick of bitters.

I love it now, and it will store beautifully.

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The Rapenau Group 2017
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