What is better than tasting Champagne? Being invited to taste lots of premium NV and Vintage Champagnes from not only the biggest Champagne houses but also some of the lesser known.
This extraordinary event was held at Melbourne’s Plaza Ballroom on August 26, 2019 and is the brainchild of Tyson Stelzer who hosted his sixth Taste Champagne Australia event as ‘The Biggest Champagne Showcase in the New World.’ The event hosted 214 cuvées from 42 négociant houses (i.e a merchant who purchases grapes, bulk juice or finished wine from vineyards), a record of 30 growers and 6 coopératives – 78 estates in all! Talk about being a kid in a candy shop — try being a Champagne enthusiast surrounded by wonderful and interesting Champagne growers, representatives and distributors, showing off ‘the best of’ from their respective houses.
Tyson recently expanded his road show from (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney) to Hong Kong and London.
My tastings were delightful and delicious. I tried not only from the older well known Champagne houses such as Bollinger, Pol Roger, Louis Roederer, Pommery, Veuve Clicquot, Taittinger and André Clouet, but also some Champagnes I either hadn’t tried for sometime or ones I hadn’t yet had the pleasure to experience. Ruinart delivered a surprising Rosé which was very well rounded and interesting. Beau Joie (with their recycled copper superbly designed jackets which surprisingly was not designed by Jean Paul Gautier carried not only a uniquely designed bottle but was superb to taste too). It was not simply about being the best dressed: Beau Joie Rosé was a fresh and fruity wine, brimming with watermelon, strawberry and citrus notes. I look forward to tasting more from this house in the future.
Les Cinq Filles, Delamotte, Henriot, Charles de Cazanove, Billecart- Salmon, Devaux and more…
On my first round browsing the tables and talking to the Champagne hosts I selected Rosé on a quest to see what Champagne appealed to my taste buds – I very much enjoyed the Henri Abelé Sourire de Reims Brut Rosé 2006. This highlighted rhubarb and straw it was a prestige Champagne with a gorgeous floral taste. Also, as many will know at Christmas Pommery is often one of the Champagnes I have at home. The Pommery Brut Rosé Royal NV is quite delicious and very affordable and I of course had to have a little taste. The Louis Roederer Vintage Rosé 2013 is barrel aged in oak tuns and matured on lees for 4 years and left for a minimum of 6 months after dégorgement (the process of disgorging is to attain perfect maturity) and gives a beautiful depth of taste and a surprise on the palate.
“ Louis Roderer is unlike any other Champagne house of its magnitude. Never have its wines looked more characterful, or more precise.” – Tyson Stelzer.
Pol Roger offered a Rosé Brut Vintage 2009 to try which was too easy to drink and quite delicious, carrying a mix of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. Before the second fermentation 15% red wine is added (Pinot Noir) tasting of fresh red fruits, brioche and spice. 7 years of ageing in the depths of their 33 metre cellars (below the ground) creates the elegant delicate finish. I was fortunate to listen to Tyson Stelzer at a Pol Roger dinner for La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs at the Brisbane Club earlier this year which was spectacular.
“ The Champagne of Pol Roger are desperately precise, intricately delicate and flawlessly pristine.” – Tyson Stelzer.
The Vadin- Plateau Rosé Brut NV was delicious, dry and balanced. This house spans nine generations since 1785. They craft cuvées led by meuniere from the premier cru of Cumiéres and surrounding villages.
Champagne A. Bergère produce a Rosé Brut NV which is balanced and extra brut. The floral bottles were produced by the madam of the house which are a lovely option to purchase.
“André Bergère’s chardonnay – led cuvées are sourced from far-flung sites spanning the terroirs of the Sézanne, Côte des Blanc and western Marne.” – Tyson Stelzer
Delamotte Rosé is the fifth oldest Champagne house and one of the few houses that do the saignée method (meaning bleeding in French where a portion of the pink juice from the grape must is removed at an early stage, which is fermented separately to produce rosé) – this is done similar to Laurent Perrier – with the skins making the wine.
One of the most elegant rosés I tasted was the Henriot Brut Rosé NV which is produced with 60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir, with three years on lees and 305 reserve wines +12% Pinot Noir for colour. This is easy to drink, savoury and exceptionally delicate. They commenced production in 1808 and are 10th generation producers.
So the answer is what is better than tasting Champagne??? Well that would be tasting lots of Champagne!
Congratulations to Tyson and his team for creating a superb event that was not only fun but educational too!