In the basement level St James’s Room at 67 Pall Mall, London, the glasses were well and truly out for the tasting that aimed to test the assertion of celebrity chef, Marco Pierre White, that only a “total numpty” would buy English wine.
We talk a lot about fizz on this site and I personally adore sampling sparkling wine from as many regions or producers as possible. With our retailers offering an ever broader selection of bubbles at varying price points, it has been pleasing to see crémant take such a mainstream position in bottle shops and supermarkets.
Tim Hall from Scala Wine is a well known Champagne expert and importer specialising in a very carefully selected list of wines. A tasting that pits the NKOTB, English Sparkling, with the established global standard for what sparkling wine actually is, Champagne, did not escape his radar. Gratefully he shares his response here:
I think it is great. and I am entirely comfortable. It's all part of the fun of assessing wine - this is a wine specialist club, not a bench marking official outfit. Steven is obviously part of the story of this kind of face-off so a no-brainer for the club's marketing. I'm glad a club I am a member of is doing this tasting.
We’ve heard a mixed response to the Steven Spurrier’s imminent ‘Judgement of London’ tasting, ranging from excitement to outrage. In this thoughtful reply to my email, and whether you agree with him or not, Terence Kenny speaks with decades of industry experience:
Knowing Steven Spurrier and his inquisitive well directed love for wine, what he is doing is good and I am glad that he is doing and not some 27 year old geek with a shelf full of half read books and 500 posts on facebook about wine. Spurrier is legitimate.
It seems that English sparkling wine producers don’t appreciate their customers being referred to as “numpty’s”. Responding to Marco Pierre White’s barbed comments, a tasting has been organised called the Judgement of London (#JoL) at 67 Pall Mall, London’s wine focussed private members club.
The tasting will be in the spirit of the famous ‘Judgement of Paris’, also presided over by Steven Spurrier in 1976, adding a layer of historical context to the proceedings. He himself will compére the London event which is sure to raise eyebrows, as Spurrier himself is a producer of English Sparkling Wine at Bride Valley Vineyard in Dorset.
Interview with Nick Breeze
In his new book, 'A Secret History of Champagne & the Rise of the Great Growers', Aussie author Rob Walters tells a story of how the small vine growers in Champagne are changing the balance of power in one of the worlds most historic and famous wine regions. In this interview Rob delves deeper into what he considers as the drivers of quality, especially in relation to terroir driven wines, in Champagne.
The annual Printemps de Champagne week in late April brings together the leading artisanal Champagne producers who are setting new standards and raising the profile of grower producer wines to dizzying heights. To not know them is to live a life in small part.