Champagne Masterclass at Stannary St

Published: 06-05-2016

Last Thursday Luke Robertson led us through a truly fascinating Champagne tasting. What a man for the job; combining Champagne geekiness with a deep and sincere love of drinking the stuff, whenever he gets the chance. 

The format was relaxed and Luke had a array of questions fired at him but for me two themes came to the fore. Firstly, the contrast between Grandes Marques and Grower
Champagnes and secondly, an examination of blended Champagne versus Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir single varietal examples. 

Pol Roger was put into bat for the Grandes Marques and generally received kind comments for a lightness and elegance of style. The vote went comprehensively to A.R.Lenoble's non-vintage Intense however, which benefits from three years of aging before release, rather than Pol Roger's fifteen months, giving it a much greater depth and complexity.

The flights of single varietal Champagnes hammered home Luke's point that grower Champagnes offer better value for money and more personality than Grandes Marques, primarily because more of the money goes into the bottle, rather than into the marketing budget. 

Again, A.R.Lenoble took the honours for the Chardonnay with the 2008 Grand Cru Chouilly but that really is a Champagne for the future and it would benefit from considerable aging.

The Pinot Meunier's were eye openers to most people with earthiness, red berry fruits, structure and tannins. Both wonderful wines and the room couldn't split the Bérèche and the Benoît Lahaye. 

Finally, the Pinot Noir, the fullest and richest of the line up. Cédric Bouchard may only have 1.45 hectrares of the Côte de val Villane vineyard but God, his efforts are appreciated. A very exciting wine, both for now and the future.

This was the first of a number of masterclasses at Stannary wine and please contact us on 020 7582 6865 or sign up to our mailing list if you would like to be kept up to date about future events.

Sam Clarke 


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