Let me tell you about last week’s Virtual Bubbles Masterclass Tasting...

With approximately 20 guests popping-in throughout the 90 minutes we were live, we celebrated several elegant -and different Champagnes.

The first to be presented was Champagne Pommery‘s non vintage Brut Royal. 

9 April Champagne Pommery Brut Royal non vintage unopened bottle and presentation box

Champagne Pommery Brut Royal non vintage unopened bottle and presentation box

Champagne Pommery features in one of Susan’s speaking engagement keynote presentations, titled ‘Les Veuves de Champagne’ .
A presentation of three pivotal Widows of Champagne, and how they saved both their Houses and the region-  and there are a lot of fabulous fun (feminist) facts to hear about!

Madame Jeanne-Alexandrine Louise Pommery was widowed in 1860, at the age of 41. One of the first initiatives she took was to purchase 120 limestone and chalk crayères, the caves carved beneath the city of Reims by Roman soldiers in the third century AD. These unique cellars allowed her to store and age thousands of bottles in a temperature-controlled environment (10 °C); an initiative which was replicated by many other champagne houses.

During the thirty years as head of the House of Pommery, Madame Pommery established a loyal team of employees. With the vineyards being located so close to the war zones of Champagne, she was the first company director in France to establish Legacy Payments for family members of loyal workers killed while working in the vineyards.

Madame Pommery also spent a considerable amount of time and her own money advocating for the Welfare of women and children of Champagne. She was one of the first company directors in France to create retirement and health funds for her employees, and can be directly credited with establishing the very first Maternity Leave program, worldwide, for female employees.

Upon her death in 1890, Madame Pommery was the first woman to be honoured with a State Funeral. 20,000 people gathered in the streets of Reims to honour her great contributions to the city and the Champagne industry. The French President delivered a tribute, and issued a decree changing the name of Chigny, her country home, to Chigny-les-Roses, in honour of all the rose gardens she planted in her spare time(!) Three cheers to Madame Louise Pommery.

Next, we touched base with the early attendees in the zoom room regarding the bubbles they were enjoying: there was a Champagne Piper Heidsieck getting colder in the freezer (!), another Champagne Pommery and a couple of lovely Tasmanian Sparkling Wines, which led to the question whether the #CGTour to the Effervescence Tasmania festival of Sparkling Wine would be occurring in November, or not…? The answer is YES: even though the formal festival is not confirmed, Susan will be leading a Champagne Goddess Tour to Tasmania in the second week of November 2020 to celebrate the magnificent Sparkling Winemakers of Tasmania (subject to Covid-19 domestic-travel restrictions, etc). Details coming soon to the Tours page.

This conversation was the perfect segue to introduce Delamere Winery‘s non vintage Tasmanian Cuvée; being sipped by masterclass participant Kate. Delamere Vineyards is located in Pipers Brook, in the Tamar Valley, North Eastern Tasmania. Husband and wife team Shane and Fran Holloway manage the wine making and viticulturism, respectively. Shane has a marine biology background, and is passionate about creating perfection in the winery, from the excellent grapes from their vineyards. Kate’s tasting notes regarding the Non Vintage cuvée were that it suited her preferred style, perfectly: a light, fresh, aperitif style; not too many complexities and a lovely lingering finish that had you inclined to reach for more, to sip – and sip again.

Following the Tassie Sparkling,  we touched on an amazing grower in Champagne that Christopher Hayes brought to the class: Champagne Bernard Brémont Grand Cru 2012.
This grower champagne is rather unique, being imported into Australia in very small numbers by the former head of Treasury Estates Sparkling Wines, Charles Hargrave.
Christopher chose to indulge in the magnificent 2012 vintage.
An excellent vintage in Champagne, one that is starting to be coined a ‘Grand Vintage’ by the CIVIC, (Le Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne) Similar to other fabulous vintages such as 1996, 1990, 2002 and probably 2008 it delivered a memorable cuvée of high acidity, finesse, complexity and length on the palate.
Christopher noted that it was demonstrating surprising maturation after only 8 years of age.
Another masterclass participant, Andrew, enjoyed the 2012 Champagne Canard-Duchêne  … also containing a scintillating balance of brioche and yeast notes, honey and almonds…

April 9th "Virtual Bubbles Masterclass" Lanson 2005 Vintage Champagne empty Bottle with Cork

April 9th “Virtual Bubbles Masterclass” Lanson 2005 Vintage Champagne empty Bottle with Cork

Another Champagne house jumped into the spotlight, with Maggie sharing her tasting experience of the Champagne Lanson 2005 Vintage Cuvée.
A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes (no Pinot Meunier), Maggie declared her wine was one for pairing with food: the initial fresh floral notes and ripe pear developed into a lovely baked apple and cinnamon perceived warmth on the finish as the wine opened up in the glass.

Lanson is one of very few Grand Marques (larger champagne houses) to NOT incorporate Malolactic Fermentation ( MLF)  into their wine-making process… Most Chef de Caves add a proportion of Malolactic Acid to the fermenting wine, to intentionally lower the level of natural acidity-  and develop that distinguishable creaminess to be found in (most) champagnes.
The omission of MLF leaves the Lanson champagnes with a freshness, purity of fruit flavours and a long lingering finish which assists the wine to age well – hence the 2005 still delivering with finesse and verve!

Thank you to approximately 20 guests who joined the Masterclass, and indulged in a very happy Holy Thursday before Good Friday and the Easter Long Weekend ‘in Isolation’.

Now, over to you: leave a comment below, and tell me about the champagnes or sparkling wines you enjoyed over the Easter Weekend or since?
Then let me know what Champagnes you would like me to critique/ discuss in any upcoming Events!

And finally: please subscribe to the CG newsletter, my YouTube Channel, and see you again at our next “Virtual Friday Night Bubbles online Masterclass” – May 8th.
This Masterclass will be celebrating Adelaide Hills Sparkling Wines in honour of those who wine makers who lost many vines in the Adelaide Hills Bushfires of December 2019.

À bientôt et à votre Santé,

Remember to Register for the next wonderful “Virtual Bubbles Masterclass” on May 8th…This one is for our amazing Australian Sparkling Wine !
Don’t forget to add any comments to this post ….and let me know what Champagne’s you would like me to critique/ discuss in any of our Events.