HOW TO READ A CHAMPAGNE LABEL

Champagne labeling laws differ from other parts of France because the entire region falls under a single AOP, the protected term ‘Champagne’ and the wines are categorized according to styles rather than designations. Here the status of the producer is more important than the vineyard sites.

To distinguish between the numerous different styles, Champagne labels use a range of terms as described below.

* Level of sweetness:
o Ultra Brut – Bone dry or very dry
o Brut – Dry
o Sec – Literally dry but has higher sugar level than Brut
o Demi-sec – Medium dry
o Doux – Sweet

* Non-vintage: A Champagne made from a blend of wines from different years.

Some Champagne houses may use up to hundred reserve wines from previous years to produce a consistent house style.

* Vintage: A champagne made from a single year’s harvest. The label must show the year of the harvest.

* Blanc de Blancs: This term on the label means that the Champagne has been produced entirely from white grapes, in other words, Chardonnay.

* Blanc de Noirs: Refers to Champagne made from black grape varieties (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).

* Rosé: This is often made by blending a little red wine with whites.

* Grande Marque: Means ‘Great Brand’. A producer may use this term but according to AOP rules does not guarantee quality or any style.

* Cuvée de Prestige: These are the top-of-the-range releases from the Champagne houses and may come with a vintage on the label. Some examples include ‘Dom Pérignon’ from Moët et Chandon, ‘Cristal’ from Louis Roederer and ‘La Grande Dame’ from Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

* Marque d’Acheteur: Means ‘Buyer’s Own Brand’. These are often seen on Champagnes sold within a retail or supermarket chain that sells them using their own brand name.

Apart from these there are other non-mandatory terms that may appear on the label that specify type of Champagne producers, maturation time etc.

wine-searcher.com

LCBO INTRODUCES NEW “SWEETNESS DESCRIPTORS” FOR WINE

Liz Palmer

LCBO is launching a new “sweetness descriptors” program starting April 29.  This program will provide useful tasting information to assist consumers when purchasing wine.

The new program will replace the current sugar code numbering system, which currently indicates wines as being a “0”, “1” or “2”…

This program, a first for LCBO, will consists of two elements. The first is a science-based descriptor system that reflects on how dry or sweet a wine tastes. There are five sweetness descriptors:

Extra Dry (XD) – No perceived sweetness, clean crisp acidic finish.
Dry (D) – No sweetness perceived, well rounded with balanced acidity
Medium (M) – Slight sweetness perceived
Medium Sweet (MS) – Noticeably sweet
Sweet (S) – Distinctively sweet

The second is a listing of the actual sugar content as  “grams of sugar per litre”. Both of these elements will be displayed on the redesigned bin tags located on store shelves, and in-store signs.

Initially, the sweetness descriptors and sugar content information will be used for all LCBO table wines, however, only the sugar content information will be available for LCBO non-table wines including sparkling, dessert and fortified wines. The program will also be extended to include all VINTAGES and VINTAGES ESSENTIALS wines as new releases are issued.

The sweetness descriptors initiative is part of “Wine Shopping Made Easy”, a promotion designed to help customers shop for wine in new ways and make shopping simpler. This promotion will be in all 622 LCBO stores across the province from April 29 to May 26.

Moët Hennessy Posts Record Organic Growth In First Quarter

 

Moët Hennessy saw global sales jump 16% on an organic basis – a record performance in the first quarter of 2012, reaching €926 million ($1.2b). The company’s core Champagne and Cognac businesses drove growth during the period. The Champagne stable (up 5% by volume) benefited from strong sales at the prestige level.

Moët & Chandon continues to lead the U.S. Champagne segment, advanced by 1% to 410,000 cases (excluding Dom Perignon); fellow bubbly Veuve Clicquot was flat by volume at 365,000 cases.

This year Moët & Chandon will abandoning its well-known White Star non-vintage offering in U.S. and replace it with a newer Moët Impérial variant, which has been gradually transitioning into the brand’s primary global non-vintage offering since 2007. Bucking the increasing popularity of sweet wines in the U.S., Moët Impérial is a drier style with 30%–40% Pinot Noir, 30%–40% Pinot Meunier and 20%–30% Chardonnay.

Liz Palmer

 

(Source: Shaken News)

A Photo Essay Capturing Richard Geoffroy’s (le chef de cave de Dom Pérignon) Natural Character

Written and Photographed by Liz Palmer

 

This photo essay is a collection of images of my interview with Richard Geoffrey, Chef de Cave, Dom Pérignon, capturing his expressions and movements.

Outside on the grounds of the Abbey

I met Richard Geoffroy at the Abbey of Hautvillers, the celestial home of Champagne, where in the 17th century the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon conducted research and experiments on the wines of Champagne.

 

 

Richard Geoffroy has been the head winemaker for over 20 years of Moët & Chandon’s Cuvée Dom Pérignon, and shows no signs of slowing down. He greets me with a warm smile, quite personable and relaxed.

 

Tasting

The scientist at work: focused, attention to detail and perfection – wines often mirror their maker. I was absolutely thrilled to taste with one of the world’s premier Champagne artists. I paced myself in elegant moderation.

Richard Geoffroy’s comments:

“A seamless, silky texture is what I’m looking for –

I am not looking for weight or power.”

“Dom Pérignon must be vibrant and long.”

 “Dom Pérignon is all about pleasure and joy!” Richard Geoffroy

“Perfectly Balanced!” Liz Palmer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VEUVE CLICQUOT BUSINESS WOMAN AWARD (UK) 2012 SHORTLIST IS ANNOUNCED

Veuve Clicquot has announced this week it’s shortlist for “Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award” at the WIE (Women: Inspiration & Enterprise) Power Breakfast at The London Stock Exchange, and the three finalists are:

  • Anya Hindmarch: Founder, Anya Hindmarch
  • Helena Morrissey: CEO, Newton Investment Management
  • Ruth Rogers: Chef & Owner, The River Café

The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award is regarded as the ‘Oscars’ of female entrepreneurs and business leaders, and is now in its 40th year.  It celebrates entrepreneurial women who have made a significant contribution to business life in the UK. The nomination criteria are those ideals epitomised by Madame Clicquot: Entrepreneurship, financial success, Corporate Social Responsibility and acting as a role model.

All Finalists selected by the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award judging panel demonstrated the strongest evidence of all nomination criteria. Notable achievements included Helena Morrissey’s groundbreaking 30% Club, which helps champion the issue of women on boards, Anya Hindmarch’s entrepreneurial story and global pioneering of her ‘I am not a plastic bag’ initiative which raised the issue of plastic bag usage amongst the public’s consciousness as well as the government’s agenda, and Ruth Rogers’ steady growing business, changing how we perceive, as well as cook, Italian cuisine.

Carolyn McCall, a previous winner of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award and current Panel member, noted: “The nominees for this year’s award are all great role models and have all the attributes that Veuve Clicquot looks for in its Business Woman Award. This award has played a vital role in recognizing and celebrating women in business.”

Sian Westerman, MD of Rothschild and member of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award Panel commented: “This strong shortlist, drawn from an excellent long list, exemplifies what women can achieve in business: strong entrepreneurship and leadership, combined with a desire and ability to deliver real change in society. Spanning areas key to the UK economy of fashion, finance and hospitality, they are great role models for all who aspire to succeed in business.”

Jasmine Whitbread, CEO of Save the Children International and member of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award Panel said: “It was inspiring to see the sheer quality and range of candidates for the award — busting the myth that there aren’t many women business leaders!”

The Award’s 20-strong judging panel is comprised of business leaders, including Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive, easyJet, Jasmine Whitbread, CEO Save the Children, Duncan Bannatyne, Entrepreneur and Dragon, Caroline Michel, CEO, Peters, Frasers and Dunlop as well as Sian Westerman, MD, Rothschild and other key industry experts.

The winner of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award will be announced at a high-profile Champagne reception at The Ballroom at Claridge’s, London on the 18th of April 2012 at 6.30pm.

Christina Jesaitis, Senior Brand Manager, Veuve Clicquot said: “As we reach our 40th year of the award, social and environmental responsibility are still a key focus for our judges and this year’s finalists all represent business women that have embedded these important attributes into their organizations. The award also looks for those women that are able to act as more than just an example of a successful business woman, but rather an inspiration and mentor for future female entrepreneurs; we believe that all of our three finalists have demonstrated this quality.”

 

Liz Palmer
@champagnehouses

Champagne 2011 exports reached their second highest volume in 5 years

Champagne exports 2011 reached their second highest volume in five years – with sales close to the peak of 2007.  Exports in 2011 were up by 5.1%, rising to a total of 141.2m bottles, the second largest volume ever achieved behind 2007 and only 9.5m bottles less than this peak, according to the latest statistics just released by Champagne’s governing body CIVC.

However because of a slight downturn in domestic sales in France, where the market weakened towards the end of the year, total sales figures rose by just over 1%, to 322.97m bottles.

The best performers in emerging markets were Russia (up 24.5%), China (up 19.4%), and Hong Kong (up 15.1%) – the rate of growth slowed in the second half of 2011; these three markets between them account for 4.1m bottles.

Top performer in emerging markets was India at 58.7% – total shipments to this market reached 290,286 bottles.

Shipments to Belgium and Germany both rose by 8.5% – the best results achieved within Europe.

Shipments to the USA recovered well, rising by 14.4% to 19.4m bottles – still short of the historic peak of 23.2m bottles in 2006.

Shipments to Australia rose to 4.86m bottles.

Michel Letter, head of G.H. Mumm and Perrier-Jouët, said, ‘2011 was the third best year ever after 1999 and 2007 with total shipments reaching 323m bottles, not bad considering the worldwide economic situation.’

 

Liz Palmer

@champagnehouses

Louis Roederer creates Foundation for Contemporary Art

Champagne Louis Roederer, a prestigious, family-owned house has announced the creation of the Louise Roederer Foundation for Contemporary Art. The aim of the Foundation is to promote and develop new contemporary art projects.

Founded in Reims in 1776, Louis Roederer owns several wine portfolios including Champagne. Through the creation of the Louis Roederer Foundation for Contemporary Art, the company aims to draw attention to its patronage of the arts, a company policy since 2003, through supporting new projects. To this end, the Foundation has entered into a partnership with the Palais de Tokyo Contemporary Art Gallery in Paris.

The Louis Roederer Foundation will support artistic innovation and allow art to become more accessible to the public. In order to achieve this, the Foundation is developing partnerships with various artistic institutions, the commissioning and purchase of works by artists with whom the house has created links over the past ten years, through supporting artists at exhibitions, previews and festivals all over the world.

 

Liz Palmer
@Champagnehouses

Academy Awards: The “Moet Red Carpet Glamour” is unveiled as the exclusive Champagne cocktail for the Governors Ball

Moet & Chandon, the Champagne of success and glamour since 1743, announces the winner of the inaugural Moet Oscar Cocktail Contest. The legendary Champagne House congratulates Chicago native Adam Seger, whose “Moet Red Carpet Glamour” cocktail dazzled a panel of expert judges and social media experts. The Moet Red Carpet Glamour cocktail was selected for its originality, taste and popularity and will be brought to life at the 2012 Governors Ball, the after-party of the 84th Academy Awards®.

The Moet Red Carpet Glamour captures the essence of Hollywood glamour with exquisite notes of heady cardamom and kaffir lime that develop a refreshing and harmonious taste. This winning cocktail was chosen for its combination of the Hum® botanical spirit with Moet & Chandon Imperial, which highlights the flavor profile of Champagne while truly celebrating the elegance of the Academy Awards.

“The Moet Red Carpet Glamour cocktail will be a gorgeous addition to this year’s Governors Ball,” said Aida Mollenkamp, Moet & Chandon’s Award Season home entertaining expert. “The cocktail is intriguing and innovative yet still allows the flavor of the Moet & Chandon Imperial Champagne to shine.”

Aida Mollenkamp has joined Moet & Chandon as this year’s home entertaining expert in a new Oscar season collaboration.  The acclaimed chef and culinary curator, known for her signature combinations of fresh, seasonal ingredients and use of ethnic flavors.

Moet Red Carpet Glamour Cocktail Recipe:

  • Fill a chilled Champagne flute 1/2 way with ice.
  • Stir 1 ounce of fresh squeezed Sour Mix and Hum® Botanical Spirit with fresh ice.
  • Strain into flute to fill 1/2 way.
  • Top with Moet & Chandon Imperial.
  • Garnish with a single rose petal.
  • Continually refresh as you wish with Moet & Chandon Imperial as the Champagne will float on top of the Hum Sour, but its effervescence will deliver Hum’s heady cardamom & Kaffir lime notes.
  • Fresh Squeeze Sour Mix Preparation: Combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water until sugar is completely dissolved. Add 1 cup fresh lime juice and 1 cup fresh lemon juice and refrigerate.

As winner of the 2012 Moet Oscar Cocktail Contest, Adam Seger and a guest will receive an exciting behind-the-scenes Oscar weekend, including a three-night stay at the JW Marriott Los Angeles LA Live, round-trip airfare on United Airlines, car service, tickets to the Governors Ball Preview Event, red carpet bleacher seats at the Fan Experience Red Carpet Arrival and Viewing Party on Oscar Sunday and access to the official Oscar viewing party at El Capitan.

 

Liz Palmer
@champagnehouses

 

 

 

Franco Stalteri on Champagne Burger… by Liz Palmer

If you’ve heard of Charlie’s Burgers, the stories have most likely been shrouded in mystery and intrigue. This auspicious, boundary-pushing, word-of-mouth popup-dining destination is the brainchild of Toronto resident Franco Stalteri.

I’m sitting down with Franco to discuss his latest venture “Champagne Charlie Burger” late December. Our meet-up took place at 416 Snack Bar one of his haunts and apparently a lively after-hours chefs’ hangout. The place is dark and sultry with the odd flicker of candle light and comfortable enough to interview and sip a glass or two of Champagne without much notice.

Franco is probably one of the most stylish, driven, and savvy guys you’ll ever meet in Toronto and as Director of Experimental Marketing at Your Brand Integrated Marketing Communications, he’s industry-connected.

 

LP  Tell me about Champagne Charlie Burger and the concept?

FS Charlie’s Burgers has been around for over 3 ½ years and I thought it would be good idea to bring Champagne as an added feature to our events.

It’s been a one-year project from sourcing the house/grower, an agent and designing the label.

I found a champagne grower who was intrigued with my dining concept and the thought of combining it with champagne  – he was willing to try something new.

LP  You sealed the deal and Champagne Charlie was born!

Franco presents Champagne Charlie Burger Blanc de Blancs Brut NV and strategically pours the champagne into my flute and his – we continue the conversation. I decline to eat as my focus was on the conversation and tasting notes.

LP  I’m very excited to hear …which are in the Champagne region, which classification, and which grower?

I pull out a map of the region.

FS The village of Oger as he writes on the map. It’s located in the department of Marne, region of Champagne-Ardenne, and in district of Épernay.

Henry de Vaugency is an eighth-generation Champagne grower and family-owned.

All of the grapes are sourced from their own Grand Cru vineyards –They has over 12 hectares of prime 1er Cru vines scattered over ten villages with predominately chardonnay grapes.

The production is onsite, including pressing, bottling, ageing, disgorging and labelling.

LP  Can you tell me some historical facts on this house?

FS  This house started in 1732 and is still family-run, and I believe the cellars date back to the 18th century.

LP  What about Champagne Charlie Burger?

FS  It’s a very good quality Champagne, Grand Cru, Blanc de Blanc, with a blend of 01/02 and 03 vintages.  It’s been cellar-aged for five years.

We have used it at some of our events and it’s been quite successful with guests.

Champagne Charlie Burger can be served as an aperitif, with appetizers, dinner or with dessert!

Sales are word-of-mouth and we are now on our 5th shipment.

LP  What are you pricing it at?

FS  A fair market price of $67.00 CDN

LP  So, what’s next for Franco Stalteri?

FS  I’m working on something exciting for February – watch and see!

 

Tasting Notes:

VISUAL ASPECT: Brilliant colour and golden tints; fine lively bubbles with plenty of finesse.

NOSE: Notes of honey and green apple stand out, followed by complex citrus aromas; nicely mellow overall impression of a pure chardonnay that has aged for several years.

ON THE PALATE: very fresh, confirming the rich bouquet; lively yet delicate in the attack, followed by a long-lasting finish; good balance between vinosity and elegance.

Champagne Charlie Burger.. A brilliant effort 93/100

 

Charlie Burger Champagne is available through

www.charliesburgers.ca

http://twitter.com/CharliesBurgers

 

Liz Palmer

@champagnehouses

 

Taittinger is the Champagne of choice for SAG Awards

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the 18th Annual Screen Actor Guild Awards ceremony behind the scenes event at The Shrine Auditorium Champagne Taittinger is the Champagne of choice.

The results are in after months and weeks of voting, Hollywood’s actors finally name their picks for the best performances in the films and TV shows of 2011 at the annual Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The SAG honors, which are closely watched in the race for Oscars, follow the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice given by media watchers, as well as acknowledgements from the U.S. Producers Guild and Directors Guild, which represent their respective professional groups in industry matters.

The SAG Awards are a key barometer of which films and actors have a good chance at winning Oscars, the world’s top film honors given on February 26 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, because performers make up the largest voting branch of the academy.

The SAG Awards air on U.S. TV on Sunday night from Los Angeles on cable networks TNT and TBS, and on Global Television in Canada.

Liz Palmer
@Champagnehouses