More from the Grassington Festival…
After an entertaining evening with Blowers – Henry Blofeld “My dear old thing” earlier in the week Tuesday evening brought Champagne Tasting with Joe Fattorini at the Fountaine Inn, Linton.
With a similar format to the Beer Tasting Evening Joe Fattorini who is one of the world’s leading wine experts introduced “Champagne” and his talk included some history, methods of production, grape varieties and a few good stories, we tasted 6 Champagnes from a variety of houses.
The six Champagnes we tasted were :-
- The Mystery Wine and not strictly a Champagne but the English equivalent Primrose Hill from Chapel Down, Tenterden, Kent and very good it was! Colour = delicate hue of summer roses, light aroma, spritzy feel and full palate, flavours of redcurrants, creamy strawberries & a hint of rosehip. Available from Booths @ £16.99
- Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label NV, Golden colour, aromas of bread, yeast. £33.58
- Bollinger Special Cuvee NV, one of my favourites and our guides favourite Champagne house, intense & aromatic. £34.01
- Nicolas Feuillatte Rose NV, from a cooperative with an onion skin salmon pink colour, tastes of alpine stawberries and a light bodied balance, blended style. Available from Oddbins £35.99
- Perrier Jouet Blason Rose NV, more restrained but complex nose and a bit more peppery, liqorice, strawberries and redcurrants. £39.78
- Bollinger Rose NV, red cherry & raspberries, complex, this newly launched champagne was exclusive to Selfridges now available elsewhere. £41.40
What did we learn?
Some of Joe’s musings included – Champagne is traditionally grown on Limestone areas as are Sancerre and Chablis, the same Limestone geography of the Champagne region emerges under the channel in Kent giving the English the favourable possibilities of replicating Champagne growing possibilities along with climate change adding to the effect.
Champagne is made from 3 main grape varieties but a few houses use others, the main grape varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and the lesser known grapes include Pinot Blanc, Arbanne & Petit Meslier. Only one Champagne House “Moutard” use all six grape varieties in its ‘Cuvée aux 6 Cepages’.
It is said that the more expensive Champagnes have more bubbles and the older the Champagne the slower the bubbles, books have even been written just on the topic of Champagne bubbles and its true!
The magic letters of wine when tasting and describing are B L I C, that is
Most good wines taste of 2 or 3 things, very good wine may taste of 4 or 5 things and excellent wine can taste of 10 things!
Food and Champagne matching suggestions :-
Champagne is brilliant with Lamb or even with a curry!
Joe had lots more to say and explain on the subject of Champagne and it is well worth attending one of his events or presentations, Joe recommends further reading on the subject in the following books:-