By champagnediscovery, Dec 8 2016 03:00PM

Œnothèques and oddities:


Older wine and for that matter champagne can be a delightful tasting experience, albeit one which so often passes us by. A lack of suitable storage and more often than not, a lack of patience can interfere with many an enthusiast’s collection.


Whilst it is possible to purchase older vintages and prestige cuvées; you either have to take a risk via a well-known online auction site where storage conditions may be debatable; or alternatively stump up the high premiums demanded from reputable dealers or auction houses.

Another option is to look out for re-released – late disgorged wines that some producers make available. These can be a more reasonable and less wallet busting introduction to the joys of well-aged champagne and have the advantage of additional ageing in the bottle where the wine remains in contact with the lees.


Bollinger are famous for their late release vintage RD (recently disgorged) cuvée which retails for around €275 per bottle. The excellent Jacquesson et Fils however re-release their numbered non-vintage range (single harvest plus reserve wines) as Dégorgement Tardif, retailing at a very reasonable €78.


Some producers would rather wait for as long as it takes until they feel the vintage has attained the ideal point of maturity before releasing, such was the case with Corbon and their sublime 1996 which has been afforded a mere 20 years. Others, such as Michel Loriot will give you a glimpse of old vintages like the unforgettable tiramisu in a glass that was their 1959 Pinot Meunier, disgorged a couple of days prior to our 2015 tasting. A 1985 Corbon, tasted 30 years later was incredibly fresh, vibrant and just beginning to develop some gorgeous tertiary aromas.


Over the years, we have invested in electronic wine cellars (not having access to a real cellar) so as to protect our treasured collection. My parents on the other hand developed a unique way of aging an old bottle of ‘R’ de Ruinart 1993, purchased during a visit to Ruinart in 1999.


For several years it was stored in the kitchen before being transferred to the garden shed with all the climatic and temperature fluctuations such storage brought about, before spending its later years in an old fridge in the same garden shed. Despite all of this and no doubt testament to the quality of the Ruinart Chef de Cave, when drank at Christmas last year; it showed particularly well. Some oxidative notes to begin with (unsurprisingly), soon gave way to a beautifully rich, honeyed and intense character. It was both a surprise and a real treat. It had a led a stressful and completely unorthodox life when compared to bottles stored in ideal conditions but despite this, had still managed to grow old gracefully!


N.B. We do not advise ageing champagne in garden sheds!


Santé,


Lee and Gita














By champagnediscovery, Oct 17 2016 10:09PM


Following on from our previous article regarding the difficulties faced by farmers and producers this year, we were in Champagne at harvest time to see for ourselves the effect the year’s weather had on the grapes. We were able to gain first-hand experience from a number of vignerons and be guided around vineyards to ascertain the extent of the problems 2016 has brought.


Jean-Marc Sélèque and Cyril Janisson of Janisson-Baradon are based in Pierry and Epernay respectively, both situated on the Côteaux Sud d’Epernay. Each reported a considerably smaller crop than normal but was pleased overall with the quality the grapes were showing. This sentiment and experience was echoed on the Côte des Blancs when speaking to Etienne Calsac and Agnès Corbon from Avize along with Adrien Dhondt of Dhondt-Grellet in Flavigny.


Moving south to the Côte des Bar it was clearly a different story altogether. Predicted losses in the region of 60-80% were in some places optimistic with rumours that one prominent producer would not be opening the press.


We visited Charles Dufour; a young vigneron farming organically in Landreville. He took us to his wonderful plot “Le Champ du Clos” in the Ource valley. Here, Charles picked less than a bucket of grapes for testing. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc all showed a variety of damage sustained as a result of the climatic events of the year. One bunch alone suffered from mildew, botrytis and sunburn! Despite expecting a seriously reduced harvest, he was however confident in the quality of the grapes and therefore the resulting champagnes. It was much the same story for Olivier Horiot in nearby Les Riceys and for Aurélien Gerbais of Pierre Gerbais in Celles-sur-Ource; all of whom craft wonderful champagnes (and still wines) - there is still much to be optimistic about.


So pretty much as expected, this year promises plenty in terms of quality. 2016 certainly has the potential to be a very exciting vintage and one well-worth keeping an eye on…..there just won’t be masses of it!


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 seventeen years, as often as our funds have allowed! We are not professionals but ordinary, working people who have simply become immersed in our passion.


For the last ten years or so, we have been focusing our attention on the hidden gems, the artisans 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


"Don't wait for that special occasion to drink champagne. Create that special occasion by drinking champagne".


Welcome to Champagne Discovery

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