Posts in Category: Sparkling

The History of Champagne in Seven Bottles

presented by Dr Graham Harding

It is always a delight to be enchanted by someone who is passionate about their subject and who is, in addition, an expert with unparalleled knowledge. We were given hidden insights and a thorough appreciation of the changing styles of wine called Champagne, since its origins in the seventeenth century. So it was at the first tasting of the year on 29thJanuary 2019 when our own Graham Harding demonstrated the irresistible allure of the golden elixir.

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‘Bulles de Luxe’

Blind tasting the best of Grande Marque champagne and sparkling wine

On 19 October 2017, Michael Palij MW hosted a remarkable (and possibly unrepeatable) tasting even by his own spectacular standards at the Cherwell Boathouse. ‘Bulles de Luxe’ was a blind tasting of 24 champagnes and sparkling wines, ranging from a £5 Aldi Prosecco to £150 wines from the very top producers. Think Cristal from Louis Roederer, Dom Pérignon from Moët and Chandon, La Grande Dame from Veuve Clicquot.

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Sparkling Wines Masterclass

Richard Bampfield MW

Well the evening started with a resounding pop, if not a bang! A capacity crowd were presented with the first flight of four sparkling wines that were selected for their typicity and quality. After some table based discussions Richard set proceedings in motion with the first challenge – what was wine number 1?

The majority of members and guests correctly identified the first wine as a Prosecco and discussions then changed to why this was a good example of Prosecco and what you should look out for in wine of this type.  It was generally considered that this wine was fruity and fresh and easy to drink.  Slightly off-dry, the wine was well balanced and had a good finish, if not the most complex of sparkling wines. The typical “nose” of pears was quite prevalent and another good identifier of a Prosecco.  What people were surprised about was the fine bubbles which are not unusual for good quality Prosecco (typically people assume the tank method results in coarse, unintegrated bubbles).  What was however noticed was that the wine did go flat more quickly than the other three in this flight, which were all traditional method.

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