Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player


bbbbbbKaaren Palmer — Champagne Editor
Champagne
It’s French and it’s from Champagne!
Champagne is different to all other sparkling wines!

As a passionate advocate of the sublime drink that is good Champagne I invite you to read on. If you care for joy, exhilaration, and delight; if you care for a drink to match any mood, or to draw you away from your darker self, you will find that Champagne is the only drink.

Please scroll down for recent content.

Kaaren Palmer
Champagne Editor

Monday April 14, 2014
We love Champagne Lanson’s crispy style, its freshness, complexity and longevity. That won’t change with a new initiative – further nuances aided by some of the wines being fermented, or some reserve wines stored, in very neutral wood from local forests. You can still expect the black label to have that pure lightly floral, fruity, juicy quality when young, and develop its almond, honey, dried fruit, toasty creamy personality after a little cellar time. It’s always been a champagne which ages gracefully, and no longer do I have to note the year I bought it, denoting N09, N10, N11 etc., on our cellar records, where N denotes non–vintage followed by the year of purchase. For some time now, I have been able to put the year of disgorgement instead, knowing that the champagne is from the harvest 4 years prior.

Long term cellar–master, Jean–Paul Gandon, revered as a wise man of Champagne, will be retiring soon, BUT don’t worry! Hervé Dantan, who did such good things at the Mailly cooperative, has joined the dynamic BCC Lanson Group. He has done a lot with storing reserve wines in wood, cuvée by cuvée. It will be fascinating to see how the story unfolds. More about the BCC Lanson group later!

Suffice to say that management have a way of attracting talent to their ranks, and if I am still writing when harvest arrives, there will be an interruption to attend and ’assist’ at Clos de Lanson’s little vineyard near the House of Lanson in the close suburbs of Reims.

Decanter Magazine have posted an interesting small interview with Richard–The–Nose–Juhlin, who has just been appointed to chair a regional judging panel for the Decanter World Wine Awards. He has also been made a member of the Legion of Honour by the French government in gratitude for his services to champagne, but that’s just an extra piece of gossip for you. To read the full interview please click here

Salon again. (That’s what we call our ’living room’ in France.) Didier Depond says that the 2002 is one of the best releases of Salon ever made. Be assured – it will not be ready for drinking for quite some time, but titillate yourself with Didier’s remarks, and be prepared to drink lots of other champagne in the mean time, especially Delamotte, when Salon does not declare a vintage…to read more please click here

Not too long ago, we tended to miss out on some of the top champagnes – and vintages – in Australia, but as demand in France weakens due to the financial crisis, (despite the Palmers’ contributions to the health of the French economy), we can expect to see more French interest in overseas markets such as ours. So it’s time to begin looking for 2008 releases from a really exciting year. Some of the rosés, of course, are available now, but we wouldn’t want to miss out on some favoured growers. The big House Brut won’t be available for a while yet – the nearest you’ll get is the 2007 Perrier–Jouöt Belle Époque. Already in Australia are 2008 rosés from Roederer (close to being first out of the blocks, as usual, and will respond nicely to some cork time) and Ruinart. The pressure (cellar space, cash flow, urging from customers) for popular growers to release their 2008 sees Vilmart Grand Cellier, Larmandier Bernier Terre de Vertus, Blanc de Blancs from Gimonnet (Gastronome), José Dhondt (Mes Vieilles Vignes, and pure Oger fruit – love it!), and Chartogne–Taillet’s single vineyard Heurtebise; of the Brut, a few have arrived from Chartogne–Taillet, a very popular domain on the outskirts of Reims. We, and a host of journo visitors to Champagne will expect to taste some of the about–to–be–released 2008s, and still wines from the last harvest, during a crazy few days in April, when all the grower groups hold tastings. There used to be only one group, which was manageable, then three, also manageable. Now, one needs to go into training, as there are at least eight over a few days. Here’s a sample from one of my favourite blogs please click here

If only for research purposes, treat yourself to the superb 2004 Bollinger Grande Année. It tastes wonderful in Champagne, and an anniversary is coming up, or a birthday for somebody. It was a recent and rare privilege to attend the Bollinger vin clair tasting with the team from Mentzendorff, Bollinger’s U.K. distributor. After a tour of the cellars and the nearby enclosed vineyard featuring vines growing crowded together as they used to be, and on ancient French pre–phylloxera root stocks, it was off to the cellars. There, galleries and galleries of reserve wines – in magnum, under gentle pressure less than full secondary fermentation, and on cork sealed with a clip called an agrafe – wait to be used in your Bollinger Special Cuvee. After the cellar tour, we had the fascinating joy of tasting selected still wines from the last harvest, followed by lunch with Bollinger champagnes. What a delight it was to enjoy the 2002 Recently Disgorged Grande Année alongside the 2004, to be able to note the underlying Bollinger theme across the range – complexity and intensity on a base of almond biscuit. Here is a lovely little clip to give a good idea that, yes, life can be perfect…please click here to read more.

Top Ten Contender? I would say definitely in the Top 10 of My Life So Far. Thank you, Francis Egly, for the experience and the sensation, for the imagination to do even more with Grand Cru Ambonnay. Your vineyards must be perfectly situated and tended, and you must have selected the best for Egly–Ouriet Blanc de Noirs Vignes Les Crayè:res Grand Cru NV. This made me think about great red wines – without dregs. From the enchanting appearance – golden, with tiny and plentiful sustained bead. Approach the glass, and be prepared – not kidding – to fall in lust–love. Aromas are complex – not overripe, but as if peaches, melons, red berries and champignons de Paris have invaded your dreams, been blended with citrus, cumquats, grilled and roasted new season almonds, then nougat; warm breadiness suffusing throughout. The palate is tightly structured to the aromas, with mouth–coating creamy rich texture, a slightly tannic edge – or wood influence – featuring a touch of vanilla, definite morello cherry, dried citrus peel and honey. Perfectly balanced, and very lengthy on the finish with power rather than acidity. Food match? Just savour it, of itself. Taking a bottle home to compare with what is available in Australia. There is no web–site, no public face – just a proud kingdom, where we might be lucky to partake.

Next News: Bruno Paillard’s vision of what a Blanc de Blancs should be, Nicolas Maillart ungrafted Pinot, Billecart–Salmon Vintage Blanc de Blancs, Afred Gratien Vintage, Taittinger Folies de la Marquetterie – and more.

Monday March 10, 2014
The excellent Drappier family from the Côte des Bars is ever on the search for further improvements in their strong offering. Michel Drappier is developing Drappier’s own yeasts for the fermentation of their grapes. Yeasts occur naturally on the skins of grapes, but they are not all good. Drappier is carefully selecting a good example from his testing of the various strains found on his grapes at harvest. From those results, he will develop his own fermentation yeast natural to his vineyards and his grapes. The yeasts currently used were developed from yeasts on the skins of grapes not necessarily in his vineyard…, an interesting topic, which is explored further from a sensory perspective in the upcoming book! To read more please click here

Without dropping a nano–notch in quality, Deutz, now owned by Roederer, have now broken the 2 million bottles per annum figure. We know where a couple of dozen of those bottles are – including some 1999 William Deutz, and something we can all be in love with – Amour de Deutz 2003. Also available at le winebar at the end of our street. To read the full report please click here

Bling–sational, just add ice at…please click here to read more.

Lalique Icy Large Champagne Cooler – $4,320 AUD (US$3,900)…please click here to see more wonderful Lalique pieces and read about their history

As interesting as it is to detect the elements of a wonderful blend, sometimes we just have to acknowledge that a perfect champagne is more than the sum of its parts, as in Jacquart’s Cuvée Alpha. Indeed, we are seeing more small parcel and commune only champagnes than ever before, and it is possible to find excellent examples. But the wizardry of the blend remains compelling. To read more please click here

As we were saying about the wizardry of the blend…to read the full article please click here

When Salon don’t release a vintage when we think that the year might have been good enough, it’s the year to look for a Delamotte. Didier Depond tells us what we need to know, reported in the useful Drinks Business…please click here to read more.

And the last word goes to the doyenne of British wine writing, and always an enjoyable read,
Jancis Robinson. We love having our prejudices confirmed, and she seems to be something of an expert in this area. Ms. Robinson’s pertinent notes on dosage and age are accompanied by a list of our favourite grower champagnes. To read more please click here

Friday February 27, 2014
Dosnon & Lepage – well, it’s probably just Dosnon soon, but even so – we hunted down a bottle from this very small estate in the village of Avirey–Lingey, in the Deep South of Champagne. The south that provides 20% of all the grapes, but is as unsung as the grape which, further north, produces perhaps 35% of champagne requirements, Pinot Meunier.

Échelle de cru is 80%, which means the grower receives 80% of the suggested price per kilogram of grapes grown in their village, compared to the Grand Cru villages, which receive 100%.

So now some producersare making and marketing their own champagnes, like they do with wine from very small estates in Burgundy. And some are very good at it. Here’s (another) one.

Davy Dosnon cultivates 2.15 hectares, and is converting to biodynamics and natural fertiliser (the soils are so poor in Champagne that generally a little something is required to get the vines started, but vines need to struggle so they don’t overdo it). Young Monsieur Dosnon himself grows 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. Severe pruning, and a secondary green leaf prune during the high growth phase, curtail the yield and concentrate fruit quality and flavour. Grass is grown between the rows of vines to compete with the shallow roots of the vines and drive the tap roots deep into the ancient calcareous limestony clay–ey hard soils.

Grapes are also bought from 5 nearby hectares to augment production. Unfortunately, I have no information about those vineyards.

After harvest, which is always about a week earlier than the north of Champagne (it’s so close to Burgundy, almost on the very border of Chablis), there’s traditional pressing with minimal fruit handling. First fermentation is in old Burgundian oak barrels, extending to eight to ten months. No fining or filtering, just settling and draining off. Then the wines are blended and bottled, topped up later with a low dosage.

It sounds fine, but what’s it like? Another rustic effort?

The Récolte Brute is anything but brutish. 30% Chardonnay, 70% Pinot Noir, non vintaged, 4 grams of sugar per litre of wine is an extra brut amount. But what’s it like?

The sound of hubble bubble is alive in the bottle. It snaps, crackles and pops as if it’s a Blanc de Blancs, but it’s not frothy. In the glass, it’s a pure clear straw colour, clean and bright. Ripe pear and yellow apple aromas waft from the glass as the beads of mousse break on the surface, with fresh lemons and limes. The first glass literally floats over the palate with a sigh – light, elegant, fresh without being piercing. But it’s also very balanced and integrated. The wine opens with aeration and a little warmth, and the palate becomes more rounded. What begins as a pristine, exquisitely light, dancing–down–your–throat aperitif segues into Act II. Pinot comes to the fore, filling the mouth with a promise of morello cherry, and a richer, fuller body. Reserves (amount not disclosed on their web–site) are delicately handled to maintain the fresh, mineral edge. The oak hasn’t interfered.

Sushi and sashimi are perfect for it.

to visit the Dosnon & Lepage web site please click here and just remember it works a bit like brain training!!!

Not as long on the finish as many champagnes, but utterly delightful. We know that it had more life in it, more layers of flavour, but the bottle is finished.

1% of Dosnon and Lepage sales go towards greenie environmental initiatives. Not 1% of their profits, but 1% of their sales, which of course is a much bigger number. This usually–Adelaide–Hills–dweller likes that.

Krug red wine? Yes, it’s a fact. But it’s from Gumpoldskirchen, Austria… read more

Sunday February 16, 2014
Essi Avellan’s update of Tom Stevenson’s revised book is awesome – informative, tightly edited, and no bullshit. Mind like a steel trap, one of only 2 MWs in Scandinavia. I haven’t read it all (it’s weighty, AND meaty), and a must–to–own for the Champagne tragic.

Esse Avellan…image copyright © Esse Avellan

news from France
Arnaud Lallement Restaurant L’Assiette Champenoise has been given his third gong. It’s not official yet, but we knew it would happen sooner or later – probably ten minutes after the Michelin inspectors tasted the shaved foie gras.

To read my 2011 (and shortly to be revised review)…please click here

At the end of our street in Reims is a great little wine bar which feels so comfortable. Le wine bar by Le vintage…please click here to read the full review.

Monday February 3, 2014
Michael Edwards reviews the Tom Stevenson update

A review of Christie’s World Encyclopedia of Champagne & sparkling wine (Absolute Press)
Michael Edwards

Although certainly a fully revised and updated edition of Tom Stevenson’s standard reference work on Champagne and all things effervescent, this opus is more than that, it’s very much Essi Avelan’s book. Given Tom’s Olympian blessing – “the best champagne taster I have seen” – Essi shows her prowess in comprehensive, precise and jargon-free tasting notes that are very largely up to the moment. Then, delightful surprise, you sense her authority and influence in the 50– page introduction that is an assured step-by-step guide to the traditional method, matters of terroir and the elusive quality of Champagne and beyond …please CLICK HERE to read the full article

Tuesday December 31, 2013
greetings from Reims where we arrived a day ago to stay for several months while I finish my book about Champagne. Focusing on this will mean less content from me and no Galaxy Guides Champagne events until I return to Australia towards the end of the year. However, dates will be set for two special Champagne events towards the end of the year and Champagne susbscribers notified by email.

I would like to thank you for your continued support and Champagne obesssion and look forward to sharing our life in Champagne from time to time in the coming months. Wishing you all the very best for 2014,
regards Kaaren Palmer

finding the perfect match…beyond Champagne and oysters by Richard Juhlin who, as always, is clever and insightful…please click here to read the full article.

And, ever informative and interesting reading Juhlin’s own Champagne Club…please click here

left Richard Juhlin and above Juhlin’s latest Champagne Guide…click on the image for purchasing details.
Images published with kind permission Richard Juhlin
copyright © Richard Juhlin

Billecart–Salmon partners with London’s two star Michelin, Hibiscus, to create a stunning menu for the full range of Billecart champagnes. That, and other historical information makes for an interesting article in Harpers UK…please click here to read the full article.

Agreeable New Years’ Eve suggestions from the well–respected Gayot food–wine site

Many categories of champagne are listed, so there is sure to be something good. Obviously prices are in U.S. dollars, so adjust accordingly. In Los Angeles, we have been drinking Piper–Heidsieck Extra Dry NV, which is a little sweeter than the Australian release, and Devaux NV, which tastes pretty much the same as what can be purchased in Australia – nice Pinot backbone, and good support from reserve wines.

For New Years– Eve in Reims, in the absence of having a handy cellar at the moment, we will be looking for something with a bit of bottle age – so we’ll no doubt select a vintage champagne which is older than the current release.

Monday December 16, 2013
Champagne News December 2013
Kaaren Palmer, Champagne Editor

    highly anticipated
  • Tom Stevenson’s latest edition of Christie’s Encyclopaedia of Champagne and Sparkling Wines, which has been updated with the assistance of Essi Avellan MW
  • Richard Juhlin’s 8000 Champagnesis another not to be missed.

Now is the time to stock up on champagneswith all the competing pre–Christmas bargains. Don’t forget to buy enough to keep some for during the year AND the year after that. Yes, champagne with a little cork age is almost always extra interesting. Just ensure that it is stored in a cool, dark place and you shouldn’t have the problems elaborated by Tyson Stelzer in his latest Champagne Guide 2014 pre–15 (published by Hardie Grant, Richmond, Victoria, 2013; hard cover $39.95, e-book, $14.95).

Tyson’s energetic book is full of champagne information especially about “grower” champagnes, that is, those with R.M. (Récoltant Manipulant) on the label. Usually, there’s a potted history of the house, followed by news of which champagnes are being offered. Information usefully included features the composition of the wines, which year (s), the month and year of disgorgement if it’s available, special vinification techniques, level of dosage, and where he’s tasted it. Why is that last bit useful? Because it’s important to know that a champagne has been carefully transported, under refrigeration through the tropics, into Australia.

For the big brands many have provided excellent info – Veuve Clicquot, for one, and I must say that the NV bottles I have enjoyed recently (two just this week in Melbourne) have been superb. Other Grandes Marques have been less forthcoming about their grape sources and the composition of each champagne. How excellent it is to see that my enjoyment of the champagnes of Jacques Picard is reflected in Tyson’s enthusiasm – one place where I agree wholeheartedly with the points awarded by Himself to each champagne. And one can’t fail to be enchanted by the gorgeous photography.

Unfortunately, the information on where to source the champagnes is missing from this year’s edition, but web sites like wine-searcher.com often have the information on where to purchase the wines.

And please note that Tyson appears to have a predilection for the Chardonnay grape, which comprises less than one third of the plantings in Champagne. Those who concur can have a lot of fun drinking their way through the book. Salut!

Another very worthwhile book with an excellent and consistent template followed for each champagne is Exclusif Champagne by Jean–Michel Garnier. Although in French, it’s easy to follow for any reader of French menus. Featuring 233 producers and 838 cuvées, I find it indispensable. All the information, which one would like to see on a back label, is presented in concise clear format, with a cursor indicating the balance between sugar and acidity. For purchase, see the usual on-line bookstores. For more information, Exclusifchampagne.cpm

Salon 2002 is going to be served in First Class on Japanese Air Lines from mid–December, a pre-release on the official release to the rest of us mere mortals, certainly in Australia. While it will be superb, as it is one of the longest–lived champagnes due to the intensity of the clean acidity of its Le Mesnil Chardonnay, in another 10 – 20 years, it will be sublime.

For those of us whose purses don’t extend to Salon, might I suggest that the sister wine of the house, Delamotte, is an excellent selection. Moreover, if you can find some older bottles which have been well stored, you may well pay “old” prices. Having discovered three such in Prince Wine Store, South Melbourne, they are a snip at $130 AUD per bottle for the 1999 Blanc de Blancs, and to my mind the equivalent of a Cuvée de Prestige. (Perhaps there’s another carton lurking there…). So last Saturday night saw us with our “champagne bucket” saucepan, as we have been in Melbourne for the list cycle of Wagner’s Ring, and musing on the complexity and length in the flute, a “Ring in a Glass”…

In the years when a Salon vintage has NOT been declared, it seems like a good idea to hunt for the Delamotte, as the fruit which would have gone into Salon will appear in the Delamotte. 2000 was the last year in which this occurred.

Today sees us departing for Los Angeles, just in time for the opening of the Petrossian and Champagne Bar…which champagnes? “A wide range” includes Cristal.

For armchair travel featuring champagne, fine food and our personal recommendation of L’Assiette Champenoise as a luxurious stopover in Reims. To read my review…please click here

So many places in Melbourne now sell champagne by the glass, that a special walk is hardly necessary. On Southbank, Ruinart “R”, Veuve Clicquot and Billecart NVs are all served in perfect condition.

other news

  • Hooray! Pol Roger is adding disgorgement date information to its bottles. This is excellent news for champagne lovers, especially those of us who enjoy the complexities, which develop after time on cork. It will enable us to choose to drink lovely Pol for exquisite freshness or decadent maturity.
  • Commendable research in the Flavour Journal, dealing specifically with champagnes, grape dominance, and the influence of branding. Just how hard is it to remove one’s prejudices from our sensory perceptions? How hard is it to pick the dominant grape in the absence of colour and effervescence clues? See flavourjournal.com and, along the same lines, our perceptions of value in blind tastings: a very interesting article in the Daily Mail UK
  • Going to London any time soon? After you have finished the mighty list at the champagne bar at St. Pancras Station, have a look at Champagne Cult in Widegate Street near Liverpool Street Station, then 10 Cases at 18 Endell Street, Covent Garden, for a select range beginning with Palmer NV and ending with Dom Oenothèque 1996. Travelling via Singapore? Perrier–Jou ët now have a dedicated champagne bar in The Mansion, an opulent bar at Scotts Road off Orchard Road. Belle–époque by the glass, anyone?
  • Not enough fizz?Can’t afford a glass washer for Christmas? Just use lots of hot water to rinse glassware, and dry with a dedicated linen towel, not the one, which was used to dry the last saucepan.

Wednesday October 30, 2013
south australian event
Apothecary 1878 Annual Sparkling and Champagne Tasting
Monday November 25th 6.00 pm until 7.30 pm $58 pp including canapés…please click here for full details

Tuesday October 29, 2013
south australian event
Monday 11 November, 2013
Join renowned Champagne expert and author, Tyson Stelzer for a Champagne dinner to celebrate the launch of his latest edition The Champagne Guide 2013 – 2014. $150 pp food and Champagne, start time 7.00 pm…location Georges on Waymouth Street, Adelaide. Please click here to download the details, menu and Champagne matches…reservations essential.

Champagne news
Kaaren Palmer, Champagne Editor Galaxy Guides
Wednesday 30 November, 2013
Apothecary 1878 Annual Champagne

Tuesday 29 November, 2013
Grower Champagnes
are becoming bigger business in Australia, as Le Figaro of December 5th 2012, points out. Perhaps it is our immigrant acceptance of difference, novelty and change, which seems to be inherent in people who are settled anywhere for less than 200 years. So it is with great interest that we note who of the Next Generation are at the cutting edge of delicious champagne. Sadly, not all are available in Australia, but, if you are travelling, seek them out for and be justly rewarded.

Young talents of Champagne
finalists in their categories


Marie and Benoit Doyard
image published with kind permission www.champagne-salomon.com

Chardonnay

  • Marie and Benoit Doyard, Champagne André Jacquart
    Marie and her brother are fifth generation winemakers; André Jacquart was their grandfather’s name. In 2004, Marie and her brother were very lucky to consolidate some inherited vineyards. The Doyards, another branch of the family, are separately well known as vignerons, but their common ancestor is Maurice, the growers' representative and fellow founder (in 1941, when Champagne was occupied by the Germans) of the governing body in Champagne, the Comité Interprofessional du Vin de Champagne (the C.I.V.C).

    In the 1950s, their terroir at Vertus (Premier Cru) was planted extensively to Pinot Noir, which was then often made as a still wine. Today, they have ’responded to what the soil has told them’, and they grow more Chardonnay. In addition, they have plots in Grand Cru Le Mesnil on the Côte des Blancs. Many small plots, and many strips of vines – with varying exposures to the southern sun, varying top soils and underlying depth of chalk – provide the complexity required. 2004 was their first ownership of the crop, so everything they produced was put into reserve wines. Today, primary vilification occurs in small oak barrels which have been used for 2 – 4 years in Burgundy; and their vines are 37 – 42 years old. Their hard work now begins to repay them.

    Champagne André Jacquart, is readily available in Australia through Tim Stock at Vinous Solutions info@vinous.com.au +61 2 9572 7285 — Tim can tell you the name of the retailer closest to you, or try Australia’s best source for a wonderful variety of champagnes – www.champagnegallery.com.au or Philip Rich at Melbourne's Prince Wine Store.

  • Pierre Gonet, Champagne Philippe Gonet
    Le Mesnil Chardonnay, pristine, saline, piercingly pure. Keep this champagne in your cellar for a year or two, and know that the joy of anticipation will be trumped by bliss on tasting. When blended with their vineyards in Oger, there’s a soft delicacy married with the freshness. Where to find? Ask National Liquor Wholesalers, tel +61 2 9787 5733, who is their local stockist, and demand it. Also contactable liquor@mrliquor.com.au

  • Alice Voirin, Champagne Voirin–Jumel
    Alice, assisted by her brother Patrick in the vineyards and at the blending bench, brings a delicacy and sensitivity to the beautiful Chardonnay which they grow in the Grand Crus of Cramant, Avize, Oger and Chouilly. Aromatic as only Cramant can be, in the best years bringing flowers of frangipani via the mousse flowering in the glass, yet balanced acidity giving length and harmony. Ross Duke, Bev, and Vic Pugatschew at French Wine Imports identified the marque long before today. Also available at Champagne Gallery from the astute and knowledgeable David Donald.

Pinot Noir

  • Jérôme Coessens (from the Aube) has been a winner in the Pinot stakes, and demand for his wines means that they are not available readily in Australia, although they have been enjoyed at the wonderful champagne dinners orchestrated by Ann Oliver, culinary and web–mistress, not to mention Adelaide’s long–running Springfield Champagne Club.

    This year, the coincidentally beautiful of face and palate, biodynamically inclined Frédérique Poret, of Champagne Dumenil has crafted a sumptuous rosé from old vines and 45 different small plots in Chigny–les–Roses, Rilly–la–Montagne and Ludes – her wines show a richness and balance deserving of distribution, not to mention matching cuisine, without spoiling the long lees time and post–disgorgement ageing which they currently enjoy.

  • Alexandre Le Brun, Champagne Le Brun, a young gun just south of Epernay; many small plots across 3 hectares in 8 villages ensure a degree of complexity for his champagnes.
  • Nicolas Salomon, Champagne Denis Salomon is located at Vandières on the right bank of the River Marne.

Rosé

  • Richard et Romain Colin, Champagne Colin (based at Vertus, Côte des Blancs, with vineyards at Bergères–les–Vertus, Cuis, Cramant, Oiry, Sèzanne, Venteuil, and Dormans planted 80% to Chardonnay, 10% to Pinot Noir and 10% to Pinot Meunier. Distributed across the English speaking world, but not yet in Australia.

  • Nathalie Falmet, Champagne Falmet (Rouvres–les–Vignes, in the Aube. Availability: See crackawines.com.au


  • Nathalie Falmet
    image published with kind permission www.champagne-salomon.com
  • Alexandre Salmon, Champagne Salmon (Chaumuzy, Ardre Valley, Montagne de Reims) The Art of Champagne – the Blend

  • Lucie and Sébastien Cheurlin, Champagne L & S Cheurlin (Celles–sur–Ource) Children of Richard Cheurlin, award winning producer in the Aube, their vineyards have been producing since Roman times, and their family history as winegrowers goes back hundreds of years.

  • Véronique et Richard Petit, Champagne Petit et Bajan (Avize)

  • The Public’s Choice Winner of the Young Talents of Champagne Competition
    Fabien Grumier, Champagne Maurice Grumier, (Venteuil) for his blend.

  • Judges’ Winners
    Chardonnay: Alice Voirin
    Pinot Noir: Nicolas Salomon
    Rosé: Nathalie Falmet
    Blend: Lucie Cheurlin

October 25, 2013
Our most recent Champagne dinner and a little more about food and Champagne matching…plus where to drink Champagne.

  • Champagne editor Kaaren Palmer
  • the best way to learn about Champagnewell drink it of course...to learn more please click on the image
  • Champagneedited by Kaaren Palmer
  • our most recentôè Champange dinner....October 2013THEME Expressions of Three Distinct Areas of Champagne Compared to More Complex Blends
  • Arrival - Pehu-Simonet Grand Cru Le Mesnil
Blanc de Blancs NVPuff pastry, truffled duxelle
  • Amuse Bouche - Claude Cazals Cuvée Vive Grand Cru Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs NVSpring pea velouté with pancetta
  • Course One - Deutz Brut Classic NV
Fresh and smoked Streaky Bay oysters, crumbed and fried cured scallop mantle, smoked oyster jelly
  • Salad - Jean-Paul Morel Reserve Brut 
Grand Cru Verzenay NV
Salad of bitter and sweet greens, Mozzarella
  • Main course -
Brice Grand Cru Verzenay NV
Tenderloin of veal, veal jus, oyster mushroom, swede potato gnocchi
  • Cheese - 
Brice Grand Cru Bouzy NV
Double-cooked Gorgonzola piccante and walnut soufflé, kumquat pearls
  • and the wild card................Coessens Bland de Noirs
  • Dessert - Billecart-Salmon Demi-Sec NVPistachio blancmange strawberries ginger and citron ice cream
  • just a day in Epernayto follow Kaaren's guide..click on the image
  • where to drink Champagne in Melbourneclick on the image for Kaaren Palmer's list
  • to read more recent news about Champagneclick on the image and please scroll down
  • want to learn more about Champagneeven the French recommend Richard Juhlin...click on the image
  • we're on the searchmyth or magic we're looking for the stopper that really works...!!!!
  • at the moment...Billycart stopperis rating well and we're trying to source retail stockists
  • where to drink Champagne in Sydneyplease click on the image for a wonderully eclectic list!
  • the perfect match for.............?Chicken liver custard, bone marrow, sea urchin emulsion, cured scallop mantle
  • Moët & Chandon Nectar Imperialto see the entire menu click on the image
  • fin....

September 17, 2013
My favourite awards, the Decanter World Wine Awards, are out again. For all the details, please purchase the magazine, or refer to their website by clicking here

The Sparkling Winemaker of the Year Award, for the seventh consecutive year, went to Régis Camus, until recently in charge of all things Charles Heidsieck, and now improving the fortunes of Piper–Heidsieck.

Trophies
International Trophy – Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millenaires 1995
NV Champagne Trophy – Louis Roederer Brut Premier
NV Rosé Trophy – Paul Cochet Brut Rosé
Vintage Champagne Trophy – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2004
Vintage Rosé Ttophy – Charles Heidsieck Rosé 1999

Gold
De Castelnau Blanc de Blancs Millésime Brut 2002
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV
Charles Heidsieck Vintage Brut 2000
Jaacquart Rosé NV
Lanson Noble Cuvée Brut 2000
Les Pionniers Vintage Brut 2000
Moët & Chandon Rosé 2004
Palmer & Cie Blanc de Blancs 2007
Palmer & Co Brut Millésimé 2004
Palmer & Co Brut Réserve NV
Piper–Heidsieck Brut Cuvée Rare
Millésimé 2002
Piper–Heidsieck Cuvée Sublime Demi–Sec NV
Pol Roger Pure Brut Nature NV
Pommery Brut Ropyale NV
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2005
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2002

Silver
Amazone de Palmer Brut NV
André Roger Vieilles Vignes Brut NV
Canard–Duchêne Cuvée Charles V!! Blanc de Noirs Brut NV
Canard–Duchêne Cuvée Léonie Brut NV
De Castelnau Millésime Brut 2002
Charles Chevalier Brut D'Honneur NV
Charles Collin Cuvée Charles Brut NV
Charles de Cazanove Tête de Cuvée Brut NV
Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve NV
Charles Mignon Cuvée Comte de Marne NV
Charles Orban Carte Noire Brut NV
Collet Brut Millésime 2004
Collet Demi–Sec
Collet Grand Art NV
Cuperly Brut Prestige NV
Cuperly Grande Reserve NV
Déhu Grande Reserve NV
Devaux D de Devaux La Cuvée NV
Devaux D de Devaux Rosé
Dom Caudron Camille Philippe NV
Duval–Leroy Blanc de Blancs Brut 2004
Duval–Leroy Rosé Prestige NV
E. Rapenau Brut Rosé NV
Esterlin Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
Fleury Extra Brut 2000
G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut NV
G.H. Mumm Brut Le Millesimé 2006
G.H. Martel & Cie Cuvée Victoria Rosé Brut NV
H. Blin Reserve Brut NV
H. Blin Rosé NV
Heidsieck Heritage Brut NV
Heidsieck & Co. Monopole Rosé Top NV
Henriot Rosé NV
Jacquart Brut Tradition NV
Jean Comyn Harmonie Brut NV
Jean Dumangin Blanc de Blancs Extra Brut NV
Jean – Noel Haton Brut Extra NV
Lallier Brut Millésime 2005
Lanson Extra Age Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
Lanson Extra Age Brut NV
Le Brun de Neuville Cuvée Chardonnay Brut NV
Louis Chaurey M&S Brut NV
Louis Dousset Original Brut NV
Madame de Maintenon Brut Rosé NV
Malard Brut Blanc de Blancs NV
Marc Initiale Noir et Blanc Brut NV
Moët & Chandon Grand Vintage Collection 1993
Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial NV
Napoleon Brut Blanc de Blancs NV
Oudinot M&S Cuvée Brut NV
Palmer & Co Extra Brut NV
Paul Goerg Brut 2002
Paul Goerg Cuvée Lady Brut 2002
Paul Laurent Pierre Darcys Brut Blanc de Noirs NV
Philippe Gonet Belemnita 2004
Pierre Darcys Brut NV
Pierre Paillard Brut Rosé NV
Piper–Heidsieck NV
Pommery Apanage Prestige Brut NV
Pommery Cuvée Louise Brut 1999
Taittinger Folies de la Marquetterie NV
Taittinger Folies de la Marquetterie Brut 2006
Taittinger Prélude Brut NV
Thiénot Brut NV
Thiénot Brut Rosé NV
Thiénot Cuvée Alain Thienot Brut 2002
Trepo Leriguier Cuvée Solennelle Brut NV
Trepo Leriguier Songe d'une Nuit de Vendanges NV
Veuve Clicquot Rosé 2004
Veuve Monsigny No 3 Brut NV
Victoire Brut Prestige NV

The British supermarket chains also did well with their Buyers'’ Own Brands
In the bronze class, there were almost one hundred champagnes listed. Those who received a particularly good showing with more than a couple of champagnes included Alexandre Bonnet, the supermarket chains Asda and Marks and Spencer, Bauchet, the co–ops Beaumont des Crayères, H. Blin, Le Brun de Neuville and Chassenay d’Arce, Besserat des Bellefon Cuvée des Moines, the Boizel range, Charles de Cazanove, Collard–Picard, Dom Caudron, Duval–Leroy, Fleury, G.H.Martel, Heidsieck & Co. Monopole, Henriot, Jacques Copinet, Jean–Noël Haton, Paul Cochet, Prestige des Sacres, and Taittinger.

vintage 2013
A very late Spring in Champagne was not looking good, plus there was some bad hail damage to pockets of vines, but July and August have been warm and sunny. In fact, the weather has been warming for the last twenty years, bringing harvest dates an average of two weeks earlier and increasing the alcohol in the grapes by .8% (statistics courtesy of the C.I.V.C). The strength of the harvest will enable reserves to be quarantined for future use in years that may not be so favourable.

Tim Hall of Scala Wines, U.K., is my favourite contestant for the 2013 European Ambassadors’ Award. His web–site www.scalawine.com contains plenty of well–written and interesting material on our favourite topic, the fine wines of Champagne.

August news
Those of us who drink a lot of Champagne sometimes try to pick the dominant grape in a blend. We’re sometimes right – it’s a one out of three chance, after all. But we’re sometimes wrong! How does a Pinot Noir from Mailly, Champagne, taste so like a Chardonnay? The answer, says esteemed winemaker and frequent drinker of the best Champagnes, Pamela Dunsford, is because .“you’re dealing (with) Pinot Noir neutralised by making (it) as a Blanc de Noir (white wine made from black grapes) and low ripeness fruit, so that the variety definitions are quite subtle, and Pinot Meunier is low aromaticity. That’s why reserves, wine –making style and villages etc. are so significant.“ And so says Oxford academic, Charles Spence, who reported on a study carried out by the University of London’s Centre for the Study of the Senses. Amateurs and experts alike were both at a loss to pick the percent of Chardonnay. To read more fully on the topic reported, and some of the Champagnes reviewed, that useful site for finding the best value Champagne, please click here for more details.

But keep trying! You will have a lot of fun trying to improve. Also see this article for more information about how to improve you tasing memory bank…please CLICK HERE

Europeans, particularly the French, are not drinking as much Champagne in these post–GFC and their zero growth GDP times. The CIVC, the body which regulates Champagne production, have reduced the amount allowed to be harvested this year, down by 5%. Bollinger will also be hit, although their sales are up please CLICK HERE to read more.

Selling less in France has not deterred the birth of a new brand, Brimoncourt (be patient as the site is remarkably slow to load), born of a number of idle moments of wealthy entrepreneurs Alexandre Cornot and Arnaud Dupuis–Testenoire, who have set up shop, so to speak, in historic Aÿ, Grand Cru village of the Marne Valley. This is their “sophisticated response to convenience and boredom“. The rosé and blanc de blancs are due for release in September.

A new favourite, Alpha, the latest cuvée de prestige from Jacquart, the co–operative of the co–ops, which can select from 7% of the entire vineyard area in La Champagne…can’t wait for it to reach Australia!

Watch out for rising star, Mlle. Floriane Eznack. This young woman of surpassing talent will make her mark.

Finally, it’s public, although we heard a year ago. Laurent d’Harcourt, who loves visiting Australia so much that he brought his whole family on holiday here, is the new CEO now that Patrice Noyelle has retired. He is part of the enrichment from outside the family, extremely genial, as bi–lingual as Jacquart’s new winemaker Floriane Eznack, generous with information, and a formidable brand ambassador with a product which remains as popular as ever in Australia. All the Pol cuvées are outstanding value, are generally released later than the other Grandes Marques, and respond beautifully to further cellaring.

Moët & Chandon, whose latest released NV is currently drinking more beautifully than it has ever done, have released a clip from their winemaker, Benoît Gouez, about the release of their 2004 rosé. For an insight into blending, it’s fascinating listening for any Champagne student. Try not to be distracted by Benoît’s new look, as if he’s ready to slip back to an earlier century… click here

Mathieu Kauffmann has resigned as chef de cave at Bollinger, reports La Revue du Vin de France, after a disagreement with his replacement, Gilles Descôtes… click here to read more.

BTW, drink Bolly on the terrace at the Paris Shangri–La Hotel while gazing at La Tour Eiffel. It’s a hot, hot summer over there, with the Weather Channel predicting 40 degrees C on Saturday, not quite the beginning of the “summer holidays“, which occur in August. Merde!

A couple of good food–match–with–Champagnearticles have found their way into print for those who need yet further confirmation that Champagne is a wonderful food wine.

To read more on the subject use the following links www.washingtonpost.com and www.latimes.com, where Richard Geoffroy suggests food matches for Dom. We have been referring, with good success, to a wonderful new book, Champagne et Gastronomie, at this stage only available in French, by wine educator Franck Wolfert and Richard Marchal, the scientist working at the University of Reims, who discovered that botrytis rot in grapes causes a lack of fizz.

June 13, 2013 at the drinks business Gabriel Savage introduces Bollinger’s new chef de cave Gilles Descôtes …to read the full article please click here

June 12, 2013 at www.decanter.com Georgina Hindle opens the champagne and food matching debate with an excellent video Veuve Clicquot Champagne and food pairing with Dominique Demarville…to read the full article and watch the video please click here

June 7, 2013
just to tease you read Chapter 3 of Kaaren Palmer’s book
A Year of Champagne…a journey with friends CLICK HERE

May 31, 2013
some of Britain’s best!
Hot dogs and Champagne at Bubbledogs…“a Champagne bar that doesn’t serve caviar!”…please click here a lot of fun!

A simply fantastic list at Texture…please click here to read more

the disgorgement debate continues…
Disgorgment dates the Drinks Business takes it on…please click here to read the drinks business Patrick Schmitt’s excelent article and make sure you read to the end, which ends with a mention about some of the trading of still wines which goes on in Champagne. Know as ’sur latte’, in reference to the slats on which bottles champagne rests during its secondary fermentation, it is a murky business indeed…!

May 17, 2013
Champagne editor Kaaren Palmer reviews dinner by Heston Blumenthal…please click here to read her review.

May 13, 2013
Champagne editor Kaaren Palmer is currently travelling in Europe…at this very minute on the Orient Express. Amongst tastings in Champagne, dining out in France and especially important visits to Noma and The Fat Duck it will be a very busy time so new content will be occasional for the next two months.

May 6 2013
Victoria Wizard writing for TelegraphWine reports that “Three glasses of Champagne a day could improve your memory. A regular glass of champagne could improve your memory, according to scientists.”…please click here to read the full article.

Geoffrey Dean writing for Harpers Wine and Spirit Trade Review reports on the eitement around the 2012 vintage. “Although it is still too early for a clear consensus to emerge among the Champenois, a good number are getting so excited after the recent assemblage of the 2012 vintage that it is even being compared to those of 1959, 1969 and 1990.” To read the full article please click here.

recently added The Bentley Bar to Sydney’s where to drink Champagne…please click here to read more.

Also…we both agree Press Food + Wine Adelaide has a very nice Champagne list… click here to read more. We also like the fact that there aren’t a lot of rules e.g., food all day, plenty of wines by the glass, small serves that encourage sharing and grazing, good bread (although one needs at least twice as much butter) at least it doesn’t taste of the fridge. Sweetbreads, despite a tad too much star anise, were utterly divine and I can’t wait to eat them again! But, guys…how long would it take to shell a few peas!!! AO per favour Kaaren Palmer!

Small nit picking about the peas, but we love Press’ chef and co–owner Andrew Davies’ offal dishes.

March 23, 2013
Jacob Jaffney writing for the Wine Spectator finds that researchers believe Champagne boosts brain power… CLICK HERE to read his full article.

Malika Dalamal writing for Zagat's blog writes about a very cool new Chamagne bar at Selfridges#8230;just what one needs to keep up the stamina for shopping… CLICK HERE to read the full article it looks very swish.

The Corner Restaurant at Selfridges…image © copyright Zagat

March 15, 2013
Vale Henri Krug, where to drink Champagne and much more Champagne news…please scroll down for more recent Champagne news!

  • Vale Henri Krugimage copyright The Drinks Business click on the image to read their obituary
  • Champagneedited by Kaaren Palmer
  • we're on the searchmyth or magic we're looking for the stopper that really works...!!!!
  • at the moment...Billecart stopperis rating well and we're trying to source retail stockists
  • where to drink Champagne in Sydneyplease click on the image for a wonderully eclectic list!
  • want to learn more about Champagneeven the French recommend Richard Juhlin...click on the image
  • just a day in Epernayto follow Kaaren's guide..click on the image
  • the best way to learn about Champagnewell drink it of course...to learn more please click on the image
  • yes we are organising Champagne events for 2013to be the first to know about these unique events click on the image to subscribe to Champagne news
  • to read more recent news about Champagneclick on the image and please scroll down
  • Champagne editor Kaaren Palmeris travelling in Europe from the start of April for three months...expect some great Champagne news along the way
  • Champagne education programs for 2013will start mid-year and go to subscribers first to subscribe click on the image
Vale Henri Krug1 Champagne2 we're on the search3 at the moment...Billecart stopper4 where to drink Champagne in Sydney5 want to learn more about Champagne6 just a day in Epernay7 the best way to learn about Champagne8 yes we are organising Champagne events for 20139 to read more recent news about Champagne10 Champagne editor Kaaren Palmer11 Champagne education programs for 201312

March 3, 2013
Just in time for the Adelaide Festival Kaaren’s revised Adeaide by the Glass…please click here to get the list.

February 9, 2013
Kaaren Palmer reviews
Providence Los Angeles
5955 Melrose Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
USA
web www.providencela.com
email info@providencela.com
telephone +1 323–460–4170

February 3, 2013
Providence, 2 star Michelin

CHAMPAGNE
Wonderful champagne list of expensive goodies, plus some interesting fave grower champagne, Pehu–Simonet’s Blanc de Blanc and Rosé, Selosse, Jacquesson Dizy and Dégorgement Tardif, Grande Année 2002, Clos des Goisses 2001 (bad year, but the best possible vineyard probably means it’s really good), plus another page full. We BYO’d ($30 corkage) Laurent–Perrier Grand Siècle, which slipped down like molten silk.

There’s not much sense of occasion in this restaurant, despite wall–to–wall staff. Only one ladies loo for all the diners – would not be legal for that number in Oz. But we were pleased to have been able to wangle a booking at short notice via Teresa’s management.

FOOD
Our meal started with one of those jellied spheres on a too cold spoon. A strange sweet mango–ish beginning, followed by not light enough choux which had its strong rather pasty cheesy interior injected into it some time before. Next to it was a creamy emulsion in a small glass. Into this was poured some tepid sweet potato soup. Mix together with a plastic straw and suck. Hmmm, I’m thinking, but everybody else is raving about it. And I don’t like the taste of warmed plastic.

We ordered àla carte prix fixe US $85 pp as not all of us wanted the tasting menu. I said that the chef could just feed me.

On the table was some smoked trout spread flecked with salmon roe and chopped herbs, with a very thin rectangular seedy biscuit. Delectable combination, great textures.

Good breads, a choice of three, a foccacia–like ’seaweed’ bread, white rolls and bacon rolls. Good butter, salt on the side.

Perfect oysters, freshly shucked, delicious. Two small, four big, superfluous dressing. US $21 per serve. Kevin’s Maine lobster was far too salty, and the accompanying hearts of palm, avocado and nori salad prettily plated. US $10 supplement. The Alaskan King crab the other side of the table attracted US $32 supplement.

I was served dainty and very tasty small scallops, simply cooked, circling the plate with an attractive garnish of pea sprouts, pistachio, yellow petals, Japanese turnip braised and in puree – loved it!

For four of us, there were generous serves of beautifully prepared fish (Kevin ordered duck in the vain hope that it would be as good as that at home). We passed around tastes. No food miles saved here! The cod had been flown in from Norway, the sea bass from Rhode Island. My serving was a large amount of gorgeously textured monkfish (US $10 supplement) of delicate flavour, with small, but rather firm potatoes and a flimsy dusting of fresh black truffle, presented theatrically under a silver cover. The truffle lacked aroma.

To me, the desserts looked pretty ordinary, but three disappeared without trace. Kevin and I treated ourselves to the cheese trolley US $10 supplement. The American artisan cheeses were a revelation, some of them unpasteurized. Superb textures and flavours and all cheeses in perfect eating order.

VERDICT: Worth a return trip. Fair value. KP

January 28, 2013
Letter from Los Angeles
Kaaren Palmer
Champagne Editor

Have found some excellent champagnes at a specialist called ’du Vin’. Enjoyed 1998 René Lalou, thrilling and seductive nose, palate to match, steeped in honeyed elegance, evolving to a palace of delights, but it was so dark at Gordon Ramsay’s at the London, that we needed a torch to read the menu. The champagne was great though and only $30 corkage.

Gordon Ramsay’s influence might still be in the kitchen but they are cutting down their wine list and dumbing the whole thing down, from staff training through to what’s on offer…to visit their web site please CLICK HERE

We have lobbed into LA during a restaurant promo week so bad luck and good luck. But lunch at Ramsay’s with $25 for 3 courses for lunch, $45 for dinner was a bit of a steal and allowed us to indulge further in our wine selections (as if we needed encouragement!). Lunch example chicken dumplings, pork belly with lobster, coconut panna cotta with mango sorbet. All very good but noisy and crowded, possibly due to the generosity of the special offers.

Nevertheless divine mushroom risotto with a scallop (not bad, but not as good as our local Paul Polacco’s) and a quail egg, the best of thee courses.

Forgot to bring link for camera to kev’s computer. I’d say the kitchen is hanging on by it’s fingernails as the house made bread was tired, the butter some collapsed oats from this morning. As soon as one person is finished, the plate is whipped away, making the other person feel they must scamper to catch up. Amarone, traditional Italian proved and excellent find and two good Jewish delis within walking distanceof the London…more later. KP

Champagne news January 5, 2013…is available from THIS LINK

  • Chick in ChicagoRM, West Loop’s Champagne Salon, Chicago image copyright © www.chicagonow.com
  • Only a Day in Epernayclick on the image to go straight to the full story
  • vintage poster epernayKaaren Palmer's walk in Epernay has had tremendous feedback
  • Our kind of dietand...trust us weight is not a problem when you drink Champagne!
  • The Shape of the Bottlenot just that the weight which equates into a carbon imprint....more in 2013
  • Where to drink Champagne in AustraliaElba, Perth Australia
  • L'Assiette Champenoiseclick on the image to go to Kaaren Palmer's review
  • Sabering Champagnemore than a little fun....Adelaide girls who can....Kate Laurie (Deviation Road), Prue Henschke (Henschke Wines) and Lousie Radman (radpublic)
  • A Regional Victorian JewelBendigo click on the image to go straight to the details and don't forget the fabulous exhibitions at
  • champagne selectionOne of the great treats of France five different Champagnes, a generous pour and affordable - click on the image
  • Champagne and Food Matching ClassesKaaren and Ann Oliver do about three a year..not for beginners
  • the perfect match for Möet Nectarchicken liver custard, bone marrow, preserved scallop mantle, sea urchin beurre blanc
  • Champagne EducationKaaren Palmer works with experts like Jim Smith promoting Champagne and giving high level tasting education
Chick in Chicago1 Only a Day in Epernay2 vintage poster epernay3 Our kind of diet4 The Shape of the Bottle5 Where to drink Champagne in Australia6 L'Assiette Champenoise7 Sabering Champagne8 A Regional Victorian Jewel9 champagne selection10 Champagne and Food Matching Classes11 the perfect match for Möet Nectar12 Champagne Education13

november
…20 November 2012
East End Cellars are importing and distributing one of our favourite growers, José Dhondt. José Dhondt do not have a web site but you might enjoy this utube video , , from Grand Cru Oger on the Côte des Blancs. The NV, 2007 and Rosé de Saignée are all available. Fino at Willunga feature the NV on their wine list, and indeed it is drinking beautifully and has travelled well. Pure pleasure!

Updates to where to drink Champagne by the glass in Adelaide — coming soon, but STOP PRESS reports that Billecart by the bargain glass $14 is available at the Stirling Cellars and Patisserie next to Foodland in Johnston St. Also check out the excellent Champagne list in the Stirling Hotel Grill Restaurant.

The Stirling Hotel Cellars and Patisserie
image copyright © The Stirling Hotel

…18 November 2012
Without disgorgement dates, how do we know it’s fresh?
The new Bollinger NV bottle is now available in Australia, so finally, in the absence of disgorgement dates, we know it’s fresh, just from the bottle shape.

The new bottle has a narrower neck, and therefore less of the surface area of the champagne is exposed to the tiny amount of air trapped between the cork and champagne when the bottle is upright.

to read more about the change of bottle shape…please CLICK HERE

…10 November, 2012
Decanter’s Giles Fallowfield reports
Moving on Ayala president Herve Augustin resigns.
Augustin has recently overseen a restoration of Ayala’s fortunes and of the image of the brand, which had fallen into decline in the 1990s, leading the house to its best financial performance in many years in 2011…to read the full article please CLICK HERE

…3 November, 2012
Adelaide Apothecary 1878’s Annual Champagne and Sparkling Wine Tasting 2012
Monday 26th November 6.00 pm to 8.30pm $58 includes canapés…please CLICK HERE for full details and booking information

Decanter travel guide: Champagne, France
Wednesday 8 August 2012 by Decanter Be the first to comment
Apart from the famous wines, this region is rich with world heritage sites, history and art. Giles Fallowfield bases himself in Reims for a busy long weekend. Read the full guide to Champagne, including the best houses to visit, plus top places to stay, eat, shop and relax. Published in the Decanter August 2012 issue…please CLICK HERE to read the full article.

last week
Celebrate International Champagne Day at Deviation Road Winery with their sparkling winemaker Kate Laurie, Kaaren Palmer, Jim Smith and Nick Ryan for a Sunset Champagne Masterclass on Friday October 26th 2012 at 5.45pm

Explore a range of grower champagnes alongside the famous Grande Marques and discover the personalities that make up the tapestry of champagne.

Bracket 1 — Aperitif Style Champagnes Often drier, lighter and very crisp, these wines leave you wanting more…!
Bracket 2 — Influence of Oak Many makers are reverting to the traditional use of old oak barrels for either fermenting or ageing their base wines. How does this affect the aroma and taste?
Bracket 3 — Rosé Often overlooked, but Rosé champagnes offer a richness on the nose, and depth of flavour on the palate that make it perfect for any occasion.
Deviation Road Cellar Door, 207 Scott Creek Rd, Longwood (Via Stirling)

$110 per person payment required at time of making booking full details tomorrow. Numbers are limited reservations can be made with Mary Ranford +61 8 8339 2633 or with email wine@deviationroad.com

last week…29 September, 2012
AFP – Gerard Liger–Belair lives in a bubble and he doesn’t care who knows it.Champagne physicist reveals the secrets of bubbly.
France24 International News
18 September, 2012

French scientist Gerard Liger–Belair works on a glass of Champagne in his laboratory, on September 13 in Reims, eastern France. Teaching at the University of Reims, Liger–Belair worked with scientists Guillaume Polidori and Philippe Jeandet to find out the exact role of bubbles in the aroma and taste of champagne and engineered glasses to give measurable bubble flow patterns. Bubbles are his passion. And they have given the 41-year-old French scientist arguably the best job in all of physics. To read the full article please CLICK HERE

Friday 21 September, 2012
Champagne: where the party’s really at
Matt Walls for Tim Atkin MW
September 16, 2012

Sometimes I feel very lucky to be living in the UK when it comes to getting hold of good wine. Since the UK has historically been an importer of other countries’ wines, rather than producer of its own, the UK wine industry has tended to be open-minded and meritocratic when it comes to the wines it sells. This has led to a diverse range of countries, regions, grapes, producers and vintages, giving us excellent choice, and on the whole, carefully researched wide selections for at least the more established wine producing regions of the world. But there is one major region where we are letting ourselves down, and ironically it’s right on our doorstep: Champagne.
Please click here to read the full article

Tim Atkin is not just an important wine person but a brilliant photographer to see some of his stunning work please click here

keeping the fizz in families…Sunday 16 September, 2012
Tom Horrow for www.campdenfb.com
August 9, 2012

The Krug family has long held to a charming tradition at the birth of each male child: before the infant is introduced to the mother’s breast, it receives a thimbleful of champagne. When on their deathbeds, in a rite similar to the Catholic sacrament of Extreme Unction, family members receive another thimbleful, more if requested. Thus the opening and closing moments of their lives are saluted with the endeavours of their family, the work of several lifetimes.

The wine world is intimately connected with family. Please click here to read the full aticle

the big news…September 7, 2012
Champagne harvest to start next week
4 September, 2012
Rupert Millar
the drinks business

“Speaking to the drinks business, Laurent Fresnet, cellar master for Henriot, said that he was hoping to begin harvesting on 12 September, with many other houses apparently looking to begin by the 15 or 17 September.

He added: “It will be small in quantity but potentially very nice in quality – fingers crossed” not to be drawn on the subject of vintage he merely proclaimed he was “more optimistic this year than others recently” despite the difficulties.

Champagne’s vineyards have been hit repeatedly this year by hail, frost and disease but a warm, dry August has helped salvage the situation somewhat.

please CLICK HERE to read the full article

Champagne harvest quota announced
© acp/Alan Julien

Uncertain times for Champagne.
Posted Wednesday, 05 September, 2012
www.wine-searcher.com

Miserable spring weather and falling sales have prompted the Champagne region to reduce its harvest quota this year.

please CLICK HERE to read the full article

August 25, 2012
fabulous news Champagne editor Kaaren Palmer is the South Australian finalist in the amateur section of the 2012 Vin de Champagne awards and Kate Laurie, winemaker Deviation Road is the South Australian finalist in the professional section of the 2012 Vin de Champagne awards…please CLICK HERE to read about the awards and finalists from other states.

August 17, 2012
Champagne suffers the worst season in decades. “Bad News for the Bubbly: Champagne Suffers Worst Season in Decades Aug 17, 2012 4:45 AM EDT Freakish weather conditions have hurt champagne producers, and experts warn that the prospects for the coming harvest look increasingly dim. ” reports The Daily Beast… CLICK HERE to read the full article.

previous news
10 August, 2012
There are ample reasons to visit Chicago starting with a pilgrimage to Grant Atchatz’ Alinea but Glenn Murray writing for www.chicagonow.com reports RM, West Loop’s highly-Anticipated Champagne Salon opened its doors August 2. Sought–after sommelier Jason Wagner, 32, who formerly served as Wine Director alongside 28–time Michelin Star recipient Joël Robuchon, has announced that his progressive hospitality project, RM, will officially open to the public on August 2nd. Alongside the nationally–revered nightlife visionaries of Element Collective, Wagner will launch the 1,500 square foot high style champagne salon and spacious outdoor patio, which is discreetly tucked-away at the foot of a secluded cobblestone alley at 116 N. Green Street…to read the full story please CLICK HERE

RM, West Loop’s Champagne Salon, Chicago
image copyright © www.chicagonow.com

A great way to enjoy France’s Champagne region…Just launched last week by France’s Champagne region is the wine tourist friendly OenoPass…to read the full article please CLICK HERE

David Rosengarten writing for the www.huffingtonpost.com writes “Another Sparkling Innovation From Champagne’s Most Prestigious Producer”…to read the full article CLICK HERE

Reuters report Vranken–Pommery Monopole records growth in its turnover in the second quarter of 2012: up 5.5%…to read the full article please CLICK HERE

The games might be almost over but worthwhile remembering the London 2012: St Pancras Grand Champagne Bar was refurbished in time for the London Olympic games…to read the full story please CLICK HERE

4 August, 2012
Finally the consumer will know just how old their NV champagne is, by looking at the disgorgement date and subtracting the amount of time the House puts the champagne on lees. The main harvest will be the year before that.

“Research conducted by Paillard shows that Champagne goes through ’five or six different ages’ following disgorgement. It begins with a fruit–dominated phase, before moving to flowery notes, then spices and then toasted aromas, before progressing to candied fruit and, finally, roasted notes. It can take five years for the first spiced notes to appear, the research said.” To read the full article please CLICK HERE

29 July, 2012
Only a day in Champagne Kaaren Palmer outlines how to make the most of that day…click here to read the full story and for more Champagne news and two dinners check out our July what’s hot

20 July, 2012
MUMM LAUNCHES BLANC DE BLANCS Champagne by Gabriel Savage, The Drinks Business…GH Mumm has replaced its 130–year old Mumm de Cramant cuvée with its newly introduced Mumm Blanc de Blancs… CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Champagne bubbles improve flavour by Richard Woodard, Decanter writes…Champagne’s bubbles are more than mere decoration – they contain up to 30 times more flavour than the wine itself, scientists have discovered.
A study of five Champagnes and high–quality sparkling wines revealed that the liquid in a glass of Champagne and the bubbles have very different chemical fingerprints… CLICK HERE to read the full article.

July 6, 2012
As more and more grape growers and wine producers turn to the old ways and take on biodynamic farming, Giles Fallowfield in Decanter reports that Louis Roederer is now Champagne’s biggest biodynamic producer… CLICK HERE to read the full article.

Diana Goodman puts forth a lovely tongue–in–cheek article with a lot of historical references. One hundred rules on how a gentleman drinks Champagne… CLICK HERE to read the full article.

June 22, 2012
Reported by Giles Fallowfield in Decanter Friday 15th June – One of the worst hailstorms in recorded Champagne history has hit the southern Côte des Bar region, destroying this year’s grape crop.
For us, that means delicious Drappier will suffer. About 100 of their 187 hectares was destroyed, affecting next year’s prospects as well, with about 50% damage to another 50 hectares. Also affected are 91 ha in Bergères, 210 ha in Baroville which includes the co–operative Barfontac and the grower–maker Philippe Fourrier, and 156 ha in Meurville, 6 kms south of pretty mediaeval Bar–sur–Aube, home to respected grower Étienne Christian. Supplies of Drappier’s Grand Sendrée may become constrained, which makes recent special offers of one of our favourites doubly attractive.

A large family–owned distributor in the UK, the PLB Group, has joined the grower champagne promotion by signing up Cattier, Dampierre, Edouard Brun, Legras & Haas, Lamotte and Malard, all of which have Premiers and Grands Crus Champagnes. As reported by Harpers, they are part of the great Families of Champagne selection by the U.K.’s PLB Group Ltd. Of these, only Cattier and Dampierre are available in Australia…watch this space!

At Lanson there is a really good history time line, with excellent notes, a video clip with Gerard Basset MW showing how to serve champagne and discussing Lanson’s styles, and a host of other good features… CLICK HERE to take a look. Unfortunately, we are not offered two of Lanson’s wonderful creations, the Noble or the Extra Age series, in Australia. Nor the historical releases. Sob! Monsieur Basset also discusses malo–lactic fermentation, and storing champagne.

May 29, 2012
Cannadian sommelier and writer François Chartier applies scientific principles to food and wine pairing. We link you to a fascinating article published on www.wine-searcher.com……please click here to read the article. For new Champagne news galore please click here

François Chartier selling the science and wine matching story!
Image from the wine–searcher web site

Heading for Paris? Make sure you follow Kaaren Palmer’s fabulous guide for drinking Champagne in Paris and we have also expanded the Where to Drink Champagne into a separate navigation. To read more about Champagne in Paris… CLICK HERE

There is also plenty of information for Australia and we have had especially good feedback from Kaaren’s Melbourne Champagne walk…use the where to drink Champagne on the right hand side navigation.

champagne and food
Champagne and food, the delicate art of matching food to Champagne is a particular passion of mine and I am delighted to finally be able to activate this section in Champagne. In the coming months/years will will be building a library resource for our readers where you will be able to search your Champagne house and find our suggestions…even sometimes a fabulous recipe!

Please use the Champagne and food navigation on the right hand side.

To be the first to receive news about Champagne events
the best way is to SUBSCRIBE to Kaaren Palmer’s Champagne


Champagne news!
links to recent articles for an excellent world view of what’s happening in the world of Champagne
last updated 25 May, 2012

Philippe Reboul at www.thetruffleman.com.au is now the distributor for Champagne Paul Déthune from Grand Cru Ambonnay in the Montagne de Reims, home of powerful and smoky Pinot Noir as elaborated by them. The estate of 7 hectares, sloping southwards towards the sun, is planted 30% to Chardonnay and 70% to Pinot Noir. We were fortunate to taste the elegant Blanc de Noirs at a reference tasting at the Comité Champagne in Epernay last October. The champagne is barrel fermented for the first fermentation. Its generous mousse wafts glorious fruity notes, with secondary notes of delth and power. This is real foodies’ champagne and would pair wonderfully well with game, duck, aged beef and rich sauces. The balanced acidity refreshes, and the length goes on and on. Truly delicious! Consult Philippe’s web-site for a local retailer.

Philippe also distributes the excellent champagne tasting pocket books. A delightfully chic bi–lingual champagne tasting pocket book has reached Australia from La Champagne, France. Put together by Frédéric Bouché, the thoughtful and knowledgeable sommelier at L’Assiette Champenois in Reims, and Ragnar Fridrikkson, Icelandic born food and wine author and photographer, now based in Reims, it comprises sharp maps, champagne information covering terroir, the cru system, the grapes, tasting tips, a small glossary and a run-down on vintages. With their aroma wheel, which is especially for champagne, is info on dosage and bottle sizes. There are 100 further pages, each containing an excellent template for tasting notes.

If you’re in Pall Mall, try the champagnes and the meat pie with foie gras… click here

Cuvée de Prestige bargain Drappier Grande Sendrée 2004 was the wine of the night at a blind tasting of 7 different champagnes. Retailing for under $100, the aromas open with deceptive prettiness before morphing into an exquisite flavour bomb of tender length. Oh love! Available at one of the chain stores or Steve Norton at Pinot Now takes you straight to the Drappier page. We were privileged to taste Drappier’s entire range when we visited them in the southern part of Champagne, the Aube, last year. The road to Urville, their village, doesn’t even have a line down the middle when it departs from the D4. This is very pretty countryside with gorgeous villages which seemed to have missed the devastation wrought on Champagne by the wars of last century. We met the charming grandpapa and toured their ancient cellars which were attached to the monastery Clairvaux and dug in the 12th century. The champagnes were de Gaulle’s favourites. A rarity to watch for is their “Quattuor Blanc de Quatre Blancs”, a blend of all four white grapes, 25% Chardonnay, and 25% of each of the ancient varieties Arbanne, Petit Meslier and Pinot Blanc.

For some cool stuff about sabering champagne (yes, slicing the top off with a very sharp blade), AND champagne protocols click here for some good stuff from Champagne Mumm!  

Also highly recommended reading David Donald’s excellent article on Jacquesson… click here

 

4000 Champagnes
by Richard Juhlin
hardcover about $1500 but good secondhand copies around for about $200

Respected by the French, and believed to have the greatest knowledge base of Champagne in the World surprisingly Richard Juhlin is Swedish. This is a must have book if you are very serious about learning about Champagne AMAZON

Copyright text and images © www.galaxyguides.com 2011 and Kaaren Palmer 2011

follow Galaxy Guides

last updated April 14, 2014

Champagne Editor Kaaren Palmer

2002 Gosset–Brabant
Cuvée Gabriel Brut Grand Cru

an utterly sublime way to see in the New Year. Delicately savoury incredible length of finish, exquisitely fine, soft, but persistent bead, and whilst this bottle was drunk without food…the chef in me could only visualise, lightly sautéed sliced veal, wild and cultivated mushrooms, butter, smoked salt (the Swedish one), fine freshly ground white pepper, veal jus highly accentuated and sweetened with a lot of caramelised vegetable, chervil and tarragon a whisper of farm cream.

Anyone got another bottle I'd be up for cooking the match…Ann Oliver, food editor and publisher!

index
Champagne home
  • Champagne
    basically why we love Champagne and constantly updated links to new content!
  • Terroir Driven Champagnes
  • Terroir Driven Champagnes identifying the detail ink to come
  • Champagne and Food
  • Champagne and food the delicate art of getting it right!
  • Champagne and food matching library, your ever expanding resource for a good match…Kaaren Palmer
  • Champagne and food matching — a chef’s point of view is sometimes a different approach…Ann Oliver and friends
  • Champagne Education
  • Champagne Education — resources to learn more about Champagne
  • Books About Champagne
    Kaaren’s book about Champagne
  • Champagne editor Kaaren Palmer is writing a book about Champagne and from time to time during the process of writing her book, she will be publishing excerpts. Learn all about champagne guided by Kaaren’s tasting sessions. Please click here to read more.
  • about Kaaren Palmer
  • Kaaren Palmer was a finalist in the 2010 Australian Vin de Champagne Awards
    click here to read Kaaren’s biography.
  • subscribe to Champagne news
  • CLICK HERE to fill out the subscription form.
  • Off to Melbourne for a chilly but fabulous dining and drinking weekend enjoy Kaaren’s Champagne walk
    click on the image

    food editor and publisher
    Ann Oliveremail

    champagne editor
    Kaaren Palmer

    wine contributors
    Dr Alexandra Burridge
    Duane Coates

    regular contributors
    Marian Clarkin — melbourne, victoria

    restaurant review policy

    employment opportunities
    AUSTRALIA & OVERSEAS

    privacy

    unless otherwise stated
    copyright © text, recipes and images Ann Oliver 2010

    this web site is designed, built and maintained by www.annoliver.com copyright © text and images unless otherwise stated
    Ann Oliver 2011