The Finest Bubble’s founder, Nick Baker, organised a fabulous tasting showing the finest examples of Grand Marque champagne, as well as a selection of very fine “grower producers”.
Drinking magnums of champagne is often seen as a fun extravagance (which of course, it is!) but fun is not the only upside of a large format option. Wine in larger containers, age more slowly. At The Finest Bubble we tasted a number of the sparklers in both their 75cl bottle and in magnum. Each time there was a marked difference between the two. Increased freshness and openness of the fruit character seems to be a prevalent feature. I am hoping that more tastings in the future offer us the opportunity to compare wines aged in different format bottles.
For adventurous Champagne lovers, The Finest Bubble offers the opportunity to explore different cuvées, vintages, styles and formats. With over 200 champagnes on the list, from the finest houses, this is journeyman territory.
Particular delights were: Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995, Jacquesson Cuvée 741, Palmer & Co 2008 1.5L, Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs 2009, Pol Roger Brut Vintage 2009, Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2007, Ruinart Rosé NV, Vazart-Coquart 82/12 Grand Cru NV & Vazart-Coquart Special Club 2008, Bollinger R.D. 2004 and Bollinger La Grande Année Rose 2007 [I am not sure there is much left to list but there we are!!]
It was also good to see Nyetimber flying the English flag. Their Rosé MV, Blanc de Blancs 2010, and Tillington Single Vineyard 2013 all tasting deliciously well!
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Soave: volcanic wines with elegance and longevity
Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.
An American In Paris; Tanisha Townsend (@GirlMeetsGlass) discusses podcasts, Paris wine bars, & what she's drinking at the moment
Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.
Wine tasting in Galicia: The pilgrims search for Albarino
The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.
Interview: (Re)Defining the Entre-Deux-Mers, climate change & tasting with Stephane Dupuch
Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch.
Wine tasting in northern Catalonia in the foothills of the Pyrenees
It’s been a hot couple of weeks here trekking around northern Catalonia. From the homeland and backdrop to surrealist Salvador Dali’s world to dramatic remnants of the volcano park an hour away, this place is a land of rough-hewn vistas and rustic hospitality.
Talking food and wine & Carluccio's motto: "MOF MOF"
Carluccio's deli and restaurants are a high-street staple, where great flavours in food blend easily with quality wines on the list. Following the death of the charismatic founder, Antonio Carluccio, his spirit lives on in style and philosophy. Nick Breeze talks to Head of International Operations (especially where wine is concerned!), Mike Stocks about wine-list tips, food matching and the great man of "mof mof":