Fabulous Masterclass on Oct 27th 2023, International Champagne Day…. My Thanks to all that attended!

What Champagnes & Sparkling Wines did we Taste on the Zoom Masterclass?

Here are my Notes from that Class.

Firstly I asked everyone to bring 4 different shaped champagne or wine glasses to try their chosen Champagne or Sparkling wine, to see the difference the shapes made on the actual Tasting experience.
And it was quite revealing!
Many found that their taller, traditional flute styles more quickly lost their bead and bubbly mouthfeel, as did the more wide open at the rim glasses.
Best performers for most on the night were the more “tulip” shaped glasses.

Here are the various bottles of ‘Bubbles’ everyone brought along to try and some of their Tasting Notes (from other Reviews)

Louis Auger NV (Non Vintage)
“A fantastic lesser known Champagne, offering remarkable value-for-money and quality. Complex notes of bread, biscuits, citrus and apples complement the light, toasty mouthfeel and soft rounded finish.
Perfect as an aperitif or a companion to lighter style meals.”

Champagne Duval-Leroy
“The Maison Duval-Leroy revels in the art of blending Pinots and Chardonnays. Enriched with around fifteen crus and a generous quantity of reserve wines, Duval-Leroy Brut Reserve confirms its complexity and is recognised for its consistency. Providing a perfect balance between finesse and power, it draws out flavours of dark chocolate, cinnamon and roasted yellow figs, expressing its subtle, melt in the mouth sophistication. Ideal as an aperitif wine or celebrating with friends and family.”

Champagne Bichat
“Bichat Brut NV is French champagne at a not-so-French price. It’s crisp, clean with a creamy mouthfeel that punches well above its weight for French champagne in this price range”

Piper Heidsieck NV
“One of the greatest value-for-money authentic Champagnes available. Created by eight time winner of ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ at the International Wine Challenge, Regis Camus, this is a crisp and elegant Champagne with a depth and complexity that belies the price”

Charles Orban Blanc de Blancs
“Charles Orban is a another grower/producer Champagne to offer simply amazing value-for-money for authentic Champagne. From a hands-on producer who have been tending their vineyards for decades, Charles Orban Blanc de Blanc is made from 100% estate grown Chardonnay that has a discrete nose of butter and nuttiness, rounded by a palate with hints of brioche. A complex, mouth-filling boutique Champagne perfect as an aperitif or alongside many heartier meals”

House of Arras 
“A spectacular cuvée from Tasmania’s finest region and crafted by Australia’s most awarded sparkling winemaker.
The equal of many non-vintage Champagnes, this fine cuvée has bready biscuit notes and a salivating mouthfeel”

Lanson Bio Organic
“Inspired by nature, Lanson has created Le Green Label Organic from its vineyard located in the villages of Verneuil & Vandières.
The 16 hectares of the Domaine de la Malmaison are cultivated organically and biodynamically with the greatest respect to plants and soils.
Rich, amber gold with lively and persistent bubbles, the nose is dominated by mineral notes with pear, peach and blackcurrants lead to citrus notes and oriental spices
In the mouth the wine is long and persistent with ripe fruit flavours such as pear, Mirabelle plum and mango balanced out by a profound minerality.”

I think everyone learned something new that night, as we focused all our on attention on the sensory experiences, step by step, as laid out here so well by GH Mumm:

It is important to bear in mind that wine tasting is an eminently subjective exercise – for all manner of biological, chemical and personal reasons, we all experience wines in slightly different ways.
The best approach is to trust your intuition and taste – follow your nose and of course, your palate!

The first step is to look closely at the champagne in your glass, studying its colour, clarity and bubbles.
Look at the way the bubbles form and rise to the surface. The size of the bubbles is an indicator of quality: the smaller the better.
(Naturally, champagne is renowned for its very fine, elegant bubbles)

Colour is also an indicator of age. Younger champagnes are often paler and clearer than older vintages.

The next step calls upon our sense of smell, as we explore and enjoy the wine’s complex bouquet of aromas—also known as the nose.
First, give the champagne a little time to open up in the glass. Hold the rim of the glass just below your nose and inhale gently.
Start by letting the aromas wash over you. Then try to pick out and describe some of the distinctive notes you can detect.
How would you define those aromas? Are they fruity, floral, woody? Remember that the aromas found in the nose are a hint of the flavours to come on the palate.

And now for the final sense, and perhaps the most important of all: taste. Take a sip of your champagne and allow the flavours to fill your mouth.
Again, try to pick out and put words to some of those complex flavours.
You may detect red berries, or perhaps hazelnut, or even a dash of creamy vanilla. And what about those fresh citrus notes?

My Note:  “mouthfeel” is a term we use... How does the wine feel on the palate? sharp, lean, soft? prickly, cooling, smooth, velvety? My ABC’s of Champagne will give you more terms to know!

Contact Me if YOU want to be part of our Next Masterclass in December….. à votre santé!