Lunch at Daniel Primack's with some lovely wines

Lunch at Daniel Primack’s on a perfect June day. We sat outside, listened to music, ate salt marsh lamb and talked. And drank some lovely wines.

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Oenophile Extra Brut 2008 France
This is just such a pure expression of Chardonnay. It’s direct and quite taut with precise lemony fruit, [...]

Champagne Veuve Clicquot Rich

Champagne isn’t a region known for innovation. When you have a product that’s so delicious and so commercially successful, then why would you mess with it?

But marketing is critical for Champagne. Its value isn’t so much in its intrinsic sensory qualities, as much as its perceived worth. Many normal people drink Champagne and enjoy it [...]

Asda's £10 Champagne Louvel Fontaine is actually pretty good

Oh, I know I shouldn’t say this. But Asda’s £10 Louvel Fontaine Champagne is actually quite nice. I’s so much safer to slate cheap fizz, but I can tell you what I experience, honestly and bravely. Well, maybe that’s overstating things. I tasted this at the Asda press tasting, and then wen’t back and bought [...]

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2002

I do like Comtes. It’s invariably a beautiful wine, and it ages well. I’ve written up a vertical of these wines before, and recently tried the current vintage, 2006. This 2002 is from a ripe, seductive year, and it’s shaping up very well. This is drinking very well now, but will probably still develop a [...]

In Champagne, day 3 (part 2): De Sousa and Pierre Paillard

De Sousa is a small Champagne house with a Portuguese name. It’s run by Erick and Michelle Se Sousa, and was established by Erick’s father and mother in the 1950s. Erick’s dad was a Portuguese musician who fell in love with a French girl (her family name was Bonneville), and they decided to establish their [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]