Posts Tagged ‘Champagne’

 

Two bottles of Champagne seized by the Nazis during World War II then ‘liberated’ by an RAF serviceman are to go under the hammer this month.

According to Hansons Auctioneers, both bottles – Château de Mareuilsay Montebello 1937 and Monopole Red Top by Heidsieck from an unknown date – are unopened and in good condition.

Each bear a red stamp in German and French that reads: “Sales in the free market are prohibited”, and “Reserved for German army not for resale or purchase.”

They were discovered by a British member of the RAF who was serving in France following D-Day in 1944.
Detail from the Heidsieck Monopole label
He left the bottles to his daughter, who sold them to the unnamed vendor a decade ago.

While Hitler was teetotal, chief of the Luftwaffe, Hermann Goering, filled vast cellars with stolen bottles of Champagne following the invasion of France.
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The drinks business has compiled a list of the current top 10 Champagne brands by global volume sales.

While there are few dramatic changes to this year’s rankings – the slide by Piper Heidsieck was widely forecasted as a result of the brand’s recent repositioning – what does stand out is the decline in sales seen by so many of these major players in the Champagne category.

For many consumers, especially in more traditional markets, Champagne stands firm as the ultimate celebratory drink. However, this slide in sales appears to be the result of two aligning forces: ongoing economic difficulties in some of the category’s biggest markets and the growing competition Champagne faces from an increasingly ambitious sparkling wine market.

Read on to find out which brands are dominating today’s Champagne market.

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London’s wine merchants were delighted on Thursday morning to get a preview of Dom Perignon 2004 – as one said, ‘Finally, something we can sell’ after the lacklustre Bordeaux en primeur campaign.

 
Indeed, Gareth Birchley of Bordeaux Index told Decanter.com they sold 3000 six-bottle cases within the first few hours of the morning – a repeat of their instant sell-out of the Dom Perignon Rosé 2002, which was released in January.
‘We’ve sold three times our original allocation. That’s £1m worth since nine o’clock this morning.’

Buyers were ‘predominantly from the UK,’ Birchley said. ‘It’s by far our biggest market for prestige Champagne.’ He added that they were expecting such a demand.

Vincent Chaperon, Dom Perignon’s chief oenologist and second in command to chef de cave Richard Geoffroy, was in London this morning for a ‘soft launch’ of the 2004 vintage to wine merchants.
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Champagne and the use of oak.

Champagne and the use of oak.

 

While there is no consensus on the use of oak in Champagne production, Michael Edwards considers when it can have a beneficial effect
NOT SO long ago, a sure-fire way of generating a heated argument between winemakers in Champagne (as in Chablis) was to talk about the virtues and pitfalls of making their best, purest wine in oak. There’s one fine grower in a grand cru village, a charming and highly educated man, who grows apoplectic at the thought of his precious Champagne being sullied by a single wooden stave. Certainly since the late 1960s, stainless steel has become the overwhelmingly preferred medium of fermentation in Champagne – because in tank, control of the grape’s journey into wine is complete and it’s easier to use. By the early 1990s, only a few perfectionists led by Krug, Bollinger and Selosse stayed true to their barrels and casks.
Fruits of the forest

How things change. Twenty years on, it’s reckoned that about 100 Champagne producers use oak in one form or other: to ferment the wine, partially or fully, to age the reserve wines or, easily forgotten, when making the wine for the dosage – a crucial skill.

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Moet & Chandon, a French champagne house and co-owner of the luxury goods company Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH), has rolled out the 2004 vintage of Dom Perignon.
The first vintage of Dom Perignon was produced in 1921 and since then the company has released 40 Dom Perignon till 2004.

The 2004 wine possesses aromas of almond and cocoa on the nose and white fruit with hints of dried flowers, toasted notes and round finish, reported Harpers.

 

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White from white.

 

Much as we admire the op art of Bridget Riley, the films of Francois Truffaut and the frocks of Mary Quant, sometimes we grow tired of black and white. Two decidedly colorful champagne styles have overstated their case for decades. Champagne labelled blanc de blancs literally means ‘’white from whites” which is to indicate the wine is a white colour made from white grapes. Actually the wines should be dubbed jaune de verts because they are pale yellow and made from green hued grapes. By law in Champagne, blanc de blancs can only be produced from chardonnay and most other sparkling wine producers around the world follow this tradition as well.

Blanc de blancs is the new kid in Champagne, having been around only about 85 years of Champagne’s three century history. The first blanc de blancs was produced in 1920 by Eugèn-Aimé Salon, the founder of the highly collectible house of Salon. Two decades later, Taittinger launched its beloved blanc de blancs, Comtes de Champagne, and the rest is history. Blanc de blancs is now produced by most of the famed Champagne houses including Billecart-Salmon, Deutz, Charles Heidsieck, Jacquesson, G.H. Mumm, Bruno Paillard, Philipponat, Pol Roger, Louis Roederer and Ruinart amongst others on the Hong Kong market. Salon and Krug (Krug Clos du Mesnil) produce full-bodied blanc de blancs, but otherwise expect blanc de blancs to be light, dry and elegant. Its ethereal character and graceful finesse makes blanc de blancs a superb aperitif and ideal partner with seafood and fish. But don’t drink these wines when young as they’ll take the enamel off your teeth. Blanc de blancs requires at least 2 fashion cycles to mature, developing admirable character and complexity about 8-10 years from their vintage date.

 

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A woman in Florida suffered an embarrassment after she accidentally swallowed a one-carat diamond, which had been placed in a flute of Champagne.
The charity event was held by the Tampa Women’s Club, where customers were offered a US$20 glass of Champagne, with a chance of winning the $5,000 diamond. A stone was put into each of the 400 glasses on offer at the event, but only one was real.

The problems started when Miriam Tucker, 80, accidentally swallowed her stone, which happened to be the real diamond.

 

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3 Glasses a week improves your memory.

3 Glasses a week improves your memory.

 

Champagne usually marks a memorable occasion for most of us – but scientists are now claiming three glasses a week can help to ensure it’s a memory that lasts.

Researchers say that a healthy dose of bubbly can help against brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.

Jeremy Spencer, a biochemistry professor at Reading University, said anyone over 40 would be wise to drink two or three glasses a week.

‘Dementia probably starts in the 40s and goes on to the 80s,’ he said.

‘It is a gradual decline and so the earlier people take these beneficial compounds in champagne, the better.’

His team say the source is a compound called phenolic acid, found in the black grapes, Pinot noir and Pinot meunier, both of which are used for champagne.

 

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The 2012 Vintage report...

The 2012 Vintage report…

 

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.

 

Damien Le Sueur, director of production for Taittinger, has led the praise, declaring that “what seems clear about 2012 is that it meets all the requirements to be a great vintage”.

 

Le Sueur told Harpers that his own team’s sense of anticipation dated back to the harvest. “At the end of September, we really had great expectations. In tasting after tasting, we discovered that the ‘vins clairs’ were beautiful.

 

“The harvesting conditions were excellent with perfect weather with freshness in the morning, very healthy grapes and a yield far lower than usual. We have enjoyed working on the assemblage of each of our
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No more being blond!

No more being blond!

 

Researchers serve bubbly to lab rats and see improved memory; two studies look for links between alcohol and cancer

Champagne may bubble with more than deliciousness. According to research from a team at the Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy department of the University of Reading in the United Kingdom, organic acids in the French sparkling wine actually increase brainpower.

In their report, published in the journal Antioxidants & Redox Signaling, the authors explain that research showing certain chemicals in foods can improve memory is extensive, but there is a lack of data on phenolic acids. The team served Champagne (equivalent to a glass per day for people) to lab rats for six weeks and found the rodents showed an improvement in spatial working memory, thanks to improved cell-cycle regulation in the cortex and hippocampus, the part of the brain that controls learning and memory.

Lead researcher Dr. Giulia Corona said the tests show promise for humans as well. “Daily supplementation with a low-to-moderate doses of Champagne for six weeks led to an improvement in memory,” Corona told Wine Spectator, “indicating phenolic compounds in Champagne may interact directly with nerve cells, improve the communication between cells and encourage nerves that carry electrical signals in the brain to regenerate.”

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