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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