By champagnediscovery, May 31 2019 05:19PM

A chance for us to look back and share our highlights from Le Printemps des Champagnes 2019.


Sunday:

Sunday and Le Printemps des Champagnes was now in full swing and time at a premium.


Les Mains du Terroir:

With two busy salons, it was always going to be difficult to see as many producers as we wanted to. Especially as there was an intriguing masterclass run by David Lefèvre discussing the effects of minerality on a wine, it’s alcohol and sugar perception. We were able to grab a quick catch-up with Janisson-Baradon and Lacourte-Godbillon before tasting Perseval-Farge whom we had missed on the last two years. We also had an excellent tasting with Eric and Mickaël Rodez and Jean-Pierre Vazart before moving on.


Bulles Bio:

The tactic here was to wait until the afternoon when the salon would be a bit quieter. Quieter it may have been but chances were you would have been able to find more room in a rugby scrum! Sadly, some of the wines had run out but we were still able to see a fair number of producers. We decided to skip most of the producers whom we had tasted at the London salon in October and even then time soon ran out. We started with a producer we know very well and love: Lelarge-Pugeot before moving onto the excellent Charles Dufour. Olivier Horiot’s wines were stunning as always and we tasted great wines with Benoît Déhu, Thomas Barbichon, Leclerc Briant, Pascal Doquet, Cyril Bonnet and Vincent Laval. The standout wines from these producers were: Lelarge-Pugeot “Gueux 2013”, Charles Dufour “Bulles de Comptoir #7”, Olivier Horiot “5 Sens 2013”, Benoît Déhu “La Rue des Noyers 2015”, Thomas Barbichon “Réserve 4 Cépages 2013”, Leclerc Bryant “La Croisette”, Pascal Doquet “Diapason” 2011/10 and Cyril Bonnet “Seconde Nature”. There was also a delicious Demi-Sec from André Beaufort of Polisy in the Aube; made with 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay from 1998 with a dosage of 45gl.


Dinner with a good friend at Au Bon Manger rounded off a lovely day with two excellent bottles: Soléra by Olivier Horiot and Les Cognaux by Ruppert-Leroy.


Monday:

Another busy day ahead with three salons so time management would be key!


Des Pieds et des Vins:

We started the day at a salon which continues to blow us away with the sheer talent and quality on offer. Sadly this year we were not able to try every wine and producer as we had at previous events. The producers we tasted with and wines that particularly impressed us were as follows: Etienne Calsac “Les Revenants”, Agnès Corbon “Brut d’Autrefois” 2017 vin clair (we were up to date on her champagnes), Vadin-Plateau “Intuition” and “Ovalie”, Bourgeois-Diaz “3C Collection” 2014, Barrat-Masson “Millésime” 2012 in magnum, Mouzon-Leroux “Angélique” 2012, Rémi Leroy “Saignée Les Crots” 2013, Guillaume Sergent “Les Prés Dieu X.O” 2012 and Thomas Perceval “La Pucelle” 2014.


Club Trésors:

An all too quick visit to Club Trésors where we were lucky enough to try some different wines of Jean-Pierre Vazart including a gorgeous “Special Club” 2010; before two excellent first tastings with Cedric Moussé, notably “Terre d’Illite”2013 and Pertois-Moriset “Les Jutées” 2011.


Terres et Vins:

Always a very busy and well-attended salon. The first hour and a half was limited to Vins Clairs only – the still wines from the 2018 harvest and the reason Terres et Vins began their tasting salon. This gave us the opportunity to taste further Vins Clairs which confirmed our opinion that much of these wines are already very drinkable and in some cases you would happily take the bottle now. Going back 5 years, much of the wines were highly acidic and difficult to taste, having now tasted some of these champagnes; we do wonder how the lower levels of acidity in the 2018 harvest will balance with the higher sugar levels from very ripe grapes in the end wine and of course the potential for ageing.


Another hectic day was completed with a quiet dinner at Le Boulingrin, complete with a bottle of “Terre de Meunier” from Jérôme Déhours.


Santé,


Lee and Gita






By champagnediscovery, May 20 2019 08:40PM

A chance for us to look back and share our highlights from Le Printemps des Champagnes 2019.


Friday:

A relaxed arrival into Reims and time to pick up a few bottles at Cave des Sacres prior to visiting the tasting boutique of Club Trésors where some glasses of Pierre Gimonnet were duly dispatched! A relaxed chat with Carl Sherman ahead of what was likely to be a hectic week. The night was capped off at one of our favourite spots – Aux 3 P’tits Bouchons accompanied by a bottle of Nature et Non Dosé from Lelarge-Pugeot.


Saturday:

Benoît Marguet:

Having been invited for the past few years to Benoît’s vertical tasting of his Sapience cuvées we decided to add on a day at the beginning of our to finally put in an appearance. A cold and frosty start to the week saw us driving south from Reims onto the Montagne de Reims to Benoît’s winery in Ambonnay. A 2014 horizontal tasting of his lieux-dits was also available with Les Crayères, Les Saints Rémys, Les Bermonts and Le Parc alongside his village wines from Ambonnay, Ay and Bouzy. The vertical Sapience tasting had wines presented from each vintage from 2009 to 2015. An enlightening experience and lovely way to start the week.


Meunier Institut:

This was our first attendance at the tasting run by the Meunier Institut held at the Hôtel de la Paix. Whilst we had heard a few good things about some of the producers, this was to be our first experience tasting their wines. The producers and wines which stood out for us in particular were André Heucq with “Hommage”, Eric Taillet with “Le Bois de Binson” and Demière with “Soléra 23” – a perpetual blend started in 1978. Demière produces wines with slightly higher dosage than we would ordinarily prefer but this is offset by longer aging which adds a delightful richness to their champagnes. The association also had a mystery table where a few older vintages and curiosities were displayed. The 1973 from Eric Taillet, the Demi-Sec from Serveaux (approximately 40 years old) and the 1976 Marc de Champagne by Demiére – a cognac styled distillation were particularly good.


The day was completed with a bottle of Clos des Maladries 2014 from Etienne Calsac.


Santé,


Lee and Gita




By champagnediscovery, Oct 31 2018 04:06PM

On Monday 29th October, we were privileged to attend the first ever organic champagne tasting held in London, presented by the Association des Champagnes Biologiques – the group whom host the “Bulles Bio” tasting during Champagne Week in April. Held at the famous Lord’s Cricket Ground, it was an excellent opportunity to taste some truly excellent wines from eighteen inspiring producers.


Being less of an intense and hectic experience that some of the salons can be during Champagne Week, it was great to be able to chat at length to winemakers to get an in-depth review of their year and in particular the 2018 harvest as well as the lowdown on all of their wines. Of course, it was also a good opportunity to catch up with friends, whilst tasting fifty-seven extraordinary champagnes, wines and ratafia.


The producers present at the event were: Robert Barbichon, Barrat-Masson, André Beaufort, Laurent Bénard, Jérôme Blin, Colette Bonnet, Bourgeois-Diaz, Vincent Charlot, L&S Cheurlin, Vincent Couche, Éliane Delalot, Pascal Doquet, Fleury, Val Frison, Olivier Horiot, Lelarge-Pugeot, Elemart Robion and Yves Ruffin.


This event has really whet the whistle for April’s tasting salons and perhaps reminded us that there are a few more wines needing to find a place in our collection!


Santé,


Lee and Gita



By champagnediscovery, Sep 27 2018 10:59AM

Following on from two difficult years, many vignerons are hailing 2018 as the harvest of a generation. The long warm summer enjoyed across Europe was particularly evident in Champagne with some of the highest sugar levels recorded in the grapes. It was also a bountiful year with many growers recording their biggest crop – so on the face of it, there would appear to be both quantity and quality.


Acidity levels were lower and this was due to a low diurnal range – the difference between temperatures of night and day. Champagne is naturally a very acidic wine due to the fact that the normal climate is regarded as cool. This doesn’t seem to be an issue for many of the top growers and houses whom are confident that they will be able to produce great wines from this uncharacteristically hot year.


It wasn’t always plain sailing – it never really is. There were in places almost drought-like conditions causing the vines to go into hydro stress. Ideally, vines require some hydro stress so that they concentrate all of their efforts onto the berries but of course too much will be detrimental. Due to the high levels of sugar and heat, grapes were often becoming dehydrated and turning into raisins on the vine. What the dry conditions did ensure were healthy grapes with very little signs of disease, rot and mildew – issues that were prevalent in the last couple of harvest.


Once again, parts of the region and in particular the Aube were subjected to summer hail storms with large hailstones causing severe damage to the grapes. Here, problems with rot and mildew did become an issue and whilst these storms were often localised; it had a huge impact on those whose small estates were affected.


Overall 2018 does have the potential to be a seriously good year, but of course; only time will tell!


The photo below is of the very last grapes (Pinot Noir) of the 2018 harvest going into the press at the superb domaine of Lelarge-Pugeot in Vrigny.


Santé,


Lee and Gita

By champagnediscovery, Oct 24 2012 02:05PM

Welcome to our website. My wife and I are Champagne enthusiasts who love both the wine and the region. We have been touring the area for the last eighteen years, as often as our funds have allowed! We are not professionals but ordinary, working people who have simply become immersed in our passion. This passion has pushed us to try to improve our techniques by studying and gaining qualifications with WSET. We currently hold distinctions at Level 2 and Merits at Level 3.


For the last ten years or so, we have been focusing our attention on the hidden gems, the stars of Champagne. Those smaller, quality conscious producers and grower-producers (domaines) who create excellent, seductive wines that are full of character.


Like many people we are becoming more interested in the provenance of our food and drink and champagne is no exception. It is now quite commonplace to find producers who work organically and biodynamically.


We are always on the look-out for the next new houses and cuvées to excite our senses. This website will hopefully share some of our experiences and arduous tasting expeditions!


Regular contributors to the Champagne-Ardenne forum on Tripadvisor, we can be found hiding behind the moniker: PsychoWarthog.


We hope you enjoy the site and will follow us on Facebook and Twitter. You can also contact us via the ‘Contacts’ tab on the homepage. We will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible and are happy to answer any questions or help with trip ideas.


Santé


Lee and Gita


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