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‘Meurtre au Champagne’

It was the author – Agatha Christie – and title that got me. Translated back into English that’s ‘Murder by Champagne’ and it took a moment to work out that this must be the novel that Christie published in 1945 – ‘Sparkling Cyanide’.

‘Sparkling Cyanide’ movie poster (note the yellow iris) and ‘Meurtre au Champagne’

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Champagne – the return of the pint?

Since Pol Roger announced in late August 2016 that they were planning to revive the tradition of supplying champagne in pint bottles, the pro-Brexit British press has been loud in its approval of this decision. A ‘deeply civilised measure’ according to Jonathan Ray in the Spectator; a ‘victory for common sense’ claimed the Express. ‘God’s own bottle size’ according to Simon Berry, the chairman of Berry Bros & Rudd. Continue reading

Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut – a history of innovation

If you like your champagne dry then you’ll know of Laurent-Perrier’s Ultra Brut. You may not have had the chance to taste it, since it’s produced only in very great years. With no dosage at all, the Ultra Brut is, as the company puts it, a wine ‘without make-up’, a wine in its natural form. Very pale and bright with citrus, white fruit and honeysuckle on the nose it’s a great wine with seafood and oysters but also with foie gras.

ultra brut seashore

Laurent-Perrier’s Ultra Brut

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Sauternes gets a sparkle

The family that owns Smith Haut Lafitte last week launched a light Sauternes to be mixed with Perrier water and drunk as an aperitif. Traditional Sauternes lovers are dubious – and probably not reassured by the family’s statement that ‘those who don’t disrupt existing models will have difficulty surviving.’

However, it’s far from the first wine cocktail and very far from the first sparkling Sauternes.

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Pedro Ximenez, 1911-2010: wine legend come to life

It was the year that saw the first non-stop flight from London to Paris, the year that saw the launch of the Titanic – and the end of the last Chinese Imperial Dynasty. It was 1911 and now I can say I’ve drunk wine over 100 years old.

A little fragile perhaps but still vivid on the nose with aromas of ginger, citrus and burnt sugar. A little less length than its younger siblings but still a force to be reckoned with. And there’s still stock available should you want to buy a bottle of this rare and remarkable wine.

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‘Harvested to the sound of gunfire, but drunk to the sound of trumpets’: tasting Champagne Pol Roger

1914 was one of the finest of all champagne vintages. Harvested by women, children and old men in the absence of the men of fighting age, it became Winston Churchill’s favourite wine (and favourite vintage).

Cassidy Dart, of Pol Roger UK, who presented the company’s range of 7 wines at the Bridge Street Wine Bar in Cambridge last week, has tasted this wine twice (lucky man). He describes it as still having a few bubbles, though the colour is slowly shifting towards orange / brown (as happens with almost all old white wines).

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Bubbles over the Loire | Mon Ange, Fillibulle and La Tour Grise

We ate with good friends the other night at ‘La Part des Anges’ in Chinon. Given the name of the restaurant there was only one choice to start the evening: Domaine de la Noblaie’s sparkling rose, Mon Ange. And  very good choice it was. Apricot rather than pink in colour, very fresh on the nose with peach and white fruit aromas. The mousse was gentle rather than aggressive but there was a real liveliness in the mouth and lots of red fruit in the flavour – hardly surprising since this is a 100% Cabernet Franc wine.

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We paid 22€; the cellar door price is around 10€ – and at that price it’s excellent value. There’s no UK stockist that I can trace.

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