Taittinger Prestige Rose NVMarta served a dish of oven roasted lemon chicken - wow - herbaceous and juicy it was the perfect match for the Taittinger Prestige Rose.  This is very popular rose champagne and rightly so.  After a mouthful of chicken coated with the flavoursome oils, the strawberry flavour leads the charge of red fruit intermingling for a great tasting sensation.  Really delicious.  The fresh acidity clears the palate leaving a space for the next desirable forkful of food! Other guests seemed surprised that champagne would be served with a main course but everyone agreed that it is a pairing that should be indulged more often.  Very pleasurable indeed!

Taittinger Nocturne Secand finally…. we closed off with a bottle of Taittinger Nocturne NV, blue cheese and chocolate truffles.  The Nocturne is aged on its lees for seven years before disgorging and has a very high level of sugar (17g) that dictates its sweet style.  Sweet champagne made with so much class does not get enough
appreciation.  It is a powerful wine with intense ripe fruits including peaches and pear.  The flavour stays in the mouth for a long time and loves squaring up to the cheese.  I was hoping to have this with cheesecake but forgot to buy it in!

These last two champagnes displayed two varied styles very well for two very different situations.  We closed the night with glowing smiles and much talk of the next tasting… so any tips of champagne … please let me know. 

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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":


Winemaker and owner Nicola D’Auria greeted us at the entrance of this fascinating cantina. The winery and cellars have been designed by Rocco valentini in the shape of a vertical barrel in order to immerse the tasters senses in wine.


East from Roma to Abruzzo

From Rome we headed east to Abruzzo, a region of Italy that rises up like a burly landlord to greet the traveller. The Apennine mountains at their tops are stark and beautiful, lonely, yet fulsome. Rustic doesn’t quite do this landscape justice. It’s a place for pilgrims, peace lovers and, of course, we followers of Bacchic and gastronomic pleasure.


After days of picking grapes in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the pickers get together to drink, chat and enjoy the drinks they are meticulously involved in the making of. 

Also check out local winemaker, Nico’s, top tip for a white Burgundy from Saint Aubin that you don’t have to travel to Burgundy to get!


What started in El Quatre Gats tapas bar in Barcelona, soon became an adventure in the Marche region of Italy, that lies along the east coast facing Albania across the Adriatic Sea. El Quatre Gats is famously where Picasso had his first solo exhibition as a young edgy artists in the Catalan capital and I was there dining with Dr Pia Casarini Wadhams, Director of Italy’s only Polar Institute, Il Polo.


The Palazzo is located in the centre of Fermo, a small Roman hilltop town with a rich history dating back to antiquity. Flying from abroad, Ancona is the closest airport, 67km north (about an hours drive) along the coast of the Adriatic sea.