A wine blog in ‘Dry January’? Well, YES actually.
If it makes you feel better, it’s about a wine naturally on the low-side in terms of alcohol and calories…Champagne!
2015 finished in spectacular style at Cracking Wine HQ with the UK’s first Fizz Festival firmly under our belt and what a corker it was too. Pictures here:http://www.crackingwine.co.uk/fizzfestival
Time for a break I thought.
I haven’t been to Reims (the epicentre of Champagne production, alongside Epernay) for some time and set off in early December to visit some fantastic producers and make up for the fact that I didn’t drink much fizz at the festival itself (bad form).
I had to visit Champagne Thienot as they were voted the top champagne at said Fizz Festival and it is easy to see why. Their non vintage brut is absolutely stunning. The usual suspects in terms of grape varieties (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) but with a surprising amount of age for a non-vintage and some expert blending.
They are the youngest Champagne house at only 30 years old and still run by Thienot family – we were shown around by the daughter, Garance. Find out more about them here:http://www.thienot.com/
For visits to the Champagne region (it is very easy to do on your own) look here:http://www.reims-tourism.com/Discover/Champagne/The-Champagne-Tourist-Route
Before I go, a few interesting facts about Champagne:
1: Unless it’s made in the Champagne region, it can’t be called champagne (you knew that!)
2: The wine goes through two fermentation processes, in a tank and the second in the bottle itself
3: You can’t hate chardonnay and love champagne, it usually makes up around 1/3 of the blend
4: Blanc de Blanc champagne is 100% chardonnay
5: Grapes are hand picked and the wine ages for at least 15 months = expensive to produce
6: Ageing on the ‘lees’ (dead yeast cells) gives toasty aromas (lees get removed, don’t worry)
7: Non vintage champagne is not meant to be kept, but will keep longer than Prosecco etc.
8: Seriously, drink it though!
Also an interesting website for you here: http://www.mymaninchampagne.com/
And on that bombshell……see you next time!