Despite the gorgeous sunny evening outside we had a full house at last week's ‘Let's get Fizzicle’ Corks Crew wine club event.
We welcomed Derek Langton the UK National account manager for Moët Hennessey who hosted the evening and enjoyed answering questions from our wine club members.
He told us that Champagne sales in UK market are down 20% from the peak time before the recession & difficult euro exchange rate issues impacted sales.
The French have traditionally been Champagnes biggest fan each year as they have in the past consumed 60% of the champagne that is produced.
Jersey drinks 2.5 times the UK in champagne per person - so we all have to keep up the good work to keep that accolade going!!
Moët was the only Champagne house to make a Vintage Champagne in 2003 the winemakers saw it as a challenge, the result is a richer style ready for drinking now, and it will not have the acidity to age as long as a normal vintage champagne. It was an enormous challenge because that year experienced a heatwave but also the most severe frost, the earliest flowering, the meagre-est yield and the longest / earliest harvest which started in mid August of that year.
The next Vintage to be released will be 2002 as 2003 was ready for drinking earlier than the 2002. He said generally vintage champagne can age for up to 10 years from the vintage date. Derek recommended that NV (Non Vintage) champagne really needs drinking up 2 years from release which raised the interesting point of why don't Champagne producers put a bb date to encourage best practice – how does a consumer know when that bottle of nv was actually released to the market, as only the barcodes tell the champagne house the actual release date etc?
He explained to us that the reason the bottom of a champagne bottle has a curved shape and is not flat, is same reason as the bottle neck needs thick glass, so it does not explode under pressure. Only bottle and magnum sizes go through the secondary fermentation in the bottle. The bigger sizes are filled from the smaller ones after the secondary fermentation has taken place.
The Ruinart Blanc de Blanc's NV (which is made purely from Chardonnay grapes) showed elegantly, perfect as an aperitif or Derek suggested that you could enjoy this champagne with seafood, & particularly oysters.
It was interesting to try the two Rosé champagne styles, the Moët & Chandon Brut Rose Imperial nv was crisp, fruit filled lighter style, very suited to serving as an aperitif, and it was certainly very easy to drink! Derek also suggested that we should try it and other Rosé champagnes with lamb or duck dishes. The Ruinart Rose which had more obvious structure & a longer length was really delicious and although you could happily enjoy this now on its own, the complexity would enable it to work beautifully with food.
All the wines showed well, the Greenpoint Brut ‘Methode Traditionelle’ NV sparkling was a very pleasant start with its citrus fruit notes & creamy soft rounded finish, but my two personal favourites were the Ruinart 'R' NV & Ruinart Rosé Brut NV and these Champagnes also received a very positive response from the room, along with of course as expected, the fabulous 2000 Vintage of Moët & Chandon Dom Perignon.
We are all looking forward to our next event on Tuesday July 13th our 'Sensational Sancerre' event with Tim Wildman ‘Master of Wine’, unfortunately if you have not already booked your place - this event is now fully booked.
Liz Mitchell - General Manager