In Champagne, day 3 (part 1): Pierre Peters and Ulysse Collin

Day three began with a brilliant visit with the engaging, smart Rodolphe Péters (above) of Champagne Pierre Peters. He explained that there are three critical elements for him in making his Champagnes: terroir, pressing and reserve wines.

He begins with terroir. He’s not organic or biodynamic, largely because he has 20 hectares spread across 72 parcels, [...]

What are my 12 most popular recent Instagram posts?

I love Instagram. I post pretty much every day, and interact with quite a few folk there (here’s my Instagram account). What’s interesting is looking at which posts get the most likes. Yes, it’s shallow, but it’s fun to see which pictures resonate most with the people who follow me. So I went back a [...]

Video: judging the International Wine Challenge 2016

So, here’s a short film from the International Wine Challenge judging earlier this month. This was Tranche 2 (the other being in November) of the 2016 judging, and 200 judges gathered at the Oval to work their way through thousands of wines, carefully, methodically and accurately. I hope it gives you a flavour of the [...]

Lunch at Terroirs, with the fab Belluard Gringet from Savoie

Had lunch at Terroirs wine bar today with a friend. I haven’t been here for a while, but we were in the neighbourhood, it was just past noon, and the opportunity presented itself. We did a walk-in, sat at the bar and ordered oysters and a lovely fresh, natural Muscadet (Amphibolite).

It was a magical combination. [...]

In Champagne, day 2: Bruno Paillard, Selosse and Gosset

Day two in Champagne began at Bruno Paillard, someone who I have featured on this site before (here and here). Bruno began with an interesting statement: ‘The true richness of Champagne is the poverty of its soils and the poverty of its climate,’ a comment that was prompted by just how freezing it was, even [...]

In Champagne, Day 1: visiting Vergnon and dinner at Bocal

This Champagne trip started gently, with a weekend in Reims that contained just one vineyard visit: JL Vergnon, in Le Mesnil. We were hosted by Christophe Constant (below), who has been running things here for 15 years now. Vergnon have 5.5 hectares in the Côtes des Blancs, with 18 parcels in Grand Crus and 2 [...]

Le Lude, a new Méthode Cap Classique fizz from South Africa

This is not a Champagne and sparkling wine blog, although if you’ve been scrolling through recent posts you could be forgiven for thinking that it is. It’s just I’ve been quite taken by fizz of late. So I was pleased to be able to try this South African sparkling wine recently, which is creating quite [...]

Grower Champagne focus: the remarkable Gimonnet Oenophile 2005

I’m quite a Gimonnet fan, so I was delighted to find this in a wine shop in Reims at a sensible price. It’s just beautiful. 2005 isn’t the best ever Champagne vintage (it was actually quite tricky), but this wine has developed really nicely and is now at something approaching peak drinking I reckon, although [...]

In Reims, buying Champagne

I’ve been here in Reims since Friday, drawn here by my growing love of Champagne. It has been nice to explore the town a bit, and my self-imposed rule is that while I’m here, I’ll be drinking nothing but fizz. So I have been on the lookout for places to buy good Champagne. There are [...]

Video: drinking Champagne Dom Pérignon 2004 and talking fizz

So, I open a bottle of Champagne Dom Pérignon with brother in law William Beavington, and we drink it, talk about it, and have a broad-ranging discussion about Champagne more generally. The film is here.