Friday, October 1, 2010

Frenchie Bubbles in Robe

After visiting Champagne and tasting some great wines at the Vins et Terres de Champagne, the least I expected is to end up at a great Champagne tasting in Australia. Yet I am a lucky girl and thanks to Peta, an ex-sparkling wine maker at Hardy’s I was in for a treat. The brand Champagne portrays finesse, elegance and high quality; this was exactly the result of the tasting I had the pleasure to attend last weekend.

I am not going to bore you with the same details on grape varieties, soils and methods of production; all that is found in books and of course is important to know before such a tasting. Yet what struck me most at this tasting was the variety of styles that can be very distinctive according to the house or brand behind the label. The tasting was split in 2 flights of 5 wines and from the first 5 I picked one of the least favourite by the other winos; Lanson Gold Label 1996. Composed of 57% Pinot Noir and 43% Chardonnay, this wine had a multi-layered nose with citrus and lemon rind as primary aromas and the brioche, toast and honey coming through more pronounced. The palate had more citrus fruit and a mouth puckering acidity which cuts right through the mid-palate; a long persistent mineral finish. I was one of the few who picked this wine as their favourite and the debate was most about the nose; has this wine got too much of a sherry aroma to it? Is it complex or is this wine lacking freshness? As for me, I could just sniff this wine for hours without getting tired and the fact that the palate had such refreshing mouth watering acidity (coming from the lack of malo-lactic fermentation whilst wine making) made the unexpected contrast more interesting for me. Of course the class and poise of the Dom Perignon 2000 couldn’t be unappreciated or undervalued. The lovely white flower intermingling butterscotch and hazelnut aromas; then the creamy fine bubbles and the long complex finish made this wine stand out from the bubbly crowd. :)

The next flight of wines were really tough to pull apart and choose your favourite; tough job yeah! :) Pressed to choose, I picked the Krug Grande Cuvee Multi-Vintage; MV actually meaning NV yet sounds classier, typical Champagne branding! :) Again this wine had a wide spectrum of intense aromas yet what I enjoyed most was the palate which had a lively acidic attack balanced out with citrus and savoury notes; sweet and sour as someone around the table described it. The 1998 Sir Winston Churchill by Pol Roger was also enjoyed by many. This Champagne had more of a female touch to it; more finesse than robustness. The nose had a particular floral lift which gave the wine more youthfulness and its racing acidity with ripe apple smoothness on the palate showed this wine will develop further in years to come.

Champagne, the same ingredients with a multitude of recipes, gives diverse styles which can please extensively on both nose and palate. Hopefully this tasting helped Peta get closer to her Champagne dream and win the Champagne trip in October organised by CIVC. For me it was another discovery and learning experience.. Bring them on! :)

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