Champagne Anyone?

17th August 2014

Champagne Anyone?

Having been almost bathing in this stuff lately courtesy of some quite brilliant events and plain decadence I thought it was time to throw a few lines and recommendations out there for what is arguably the King of Wines. Charles II loved it and if it’s good enough for that philandering party animal then it’s good enough for me.

“I drink Champagne when I win to celebrate… and I drink Champagne when I lose to console myself.”  Napoleon Bonaparte

I think that sums things up pretty nicely but of course, given the price tag you’ll want to grab some delicious stuff when you do splash out so here are four recommendations from my recent adventures.

Lanson Ivory Label Demi Sec

This is a fine example of the sweeter Demi sec style of Champagne. It is full of honey and brioche flavours lifted by an effervescent fizz and welcome freshness. We had it with a classic French strawberry tart and it was a match made in heaven. Definitely one for special occasions, when you fancy lifting afternoon tea to hitherto unscaled heights or simply rounding off a meal to perfection.

Lanson are one for the few companies who do not practice malolactic fermentation. All you need to know is that this means the Champagne takes a bit longer to develop but once you get your hands on it, it has freshness and intensity of flavour you rarely get in many other Champagnes of a similar price but will also reward careful storage if you can wait that is. For classic dry Champagne Lanson Black Label is hard to beat and the White Label has sweet pear and grape flavours and a lingering aroma of fresh fruit. The winemakers suggest a twist of orange rind, a raspberry or even a sprig of mint to enliven the wine’s aromas further.

If you’re feeling truly decadent and want your taste buds to sing whilst beautiful women gaze longingly at you, serve the 2004 vintage Champagne at a party. This is too good to keep to yourself.

Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne NV

A recent IWSC silver award winner i.e. blind tasted by people who know what makes great wine and hammering many of its more expensive peers, this is smooth and refreshingly easy to drink with zippy apple flavours and a warm brioche dough aftertaste. Superb with smoked salmon canapés or just on its own when you feel like a lift.

Bollinger Special Cuvee NV

This is up there with very finest Champagnes known to man and although not cheap it’s well worth stocking up when Supermarkets have their blanket “25% off when you buy any six bottles” offers on.

Anyway, I’ve enjoyed this with a spread of cold meats, fine breads and cheese and I honestly thought I’d died and gone to heaven. Of course the fact it was paid for by someone else really put the icing on the cake but if you want to treat yourself, now is the time. I don’t know if this wine will ever be this cheap again such is its pedigree of rich orchard fruits, fine mousse of bubbles and a lingering taste that has you feeling like you could fly.

Oudinot Champagne Brut NV (Marks & Spencer)

There are a lot of really good supermarket own label Champagnes out there.

A restrained, classic style of Champagne with lemon flavours a fine mousse of elegant bubbles and fresh inviting flavours all the way I recommend this lovely drop washes down seared scallops with a butter sauce or on its own to get any celebratory event off to a great start.

Consider that James Bond and Winston Churchill were also great fans and I think you’ll agree you’re in pretty esteemed company with a glass of Champagne in your hand.

Glass of Bubbly

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