Champagne TastingA thick tussle and thrust down Oxford Street over the weekend has poignantly made me aware that Christmas is not far away.  As yet I have not given it a moments thought… well until now anyway.  In a flash of inspiration and email circulating we have decided to hold a champagne tasting with a few friends tomorrow evening.  Below is the prescribed menu that we all hope will turn on our inner Christmas lights and create laughter where there was formerly chapped grimaces.

Okay... to start with we'll have a blind tasting.  There'll be one champagne and two non-champagne (sparkling obviously).  We'll see if people can guess which is which (served with water biscuits and small amount of smoked salmon these cheeses: Brillat savarin, Langres, chaource).  Here we'll be serving Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut Non-Vintage, a bottle of ******** and **********.  It will be interesting to see what people choose as their preferred sparkler as opposed to what they think they've chosen.

We will then compare a pure chardonnay champagne (Blancs de blanc) with a blended chardonnay & pinot noir (blanc de noir).  These will be the all chardonnay Mandois Cuvee Victor 2002 (a terrific smaller Champagne House) and the blended Taittinger Brut 2004.

Accompanying the rose champagne we'll have a lemon chicken dish with baby new potatoes in butter and parsley with green beans.  I'm hoping this will demonstrate how this champagne is able to stand up to and cut through the fat in the butter and textures of the meat.  This champagne is the Taittinger Prestige Rose NV (Another guest has been asked to bring a rose champagne so I do not know as yet what they'll choose).

For dessert we need something rich and sweet to match the sweet champagne (Sec).  I am thinking Cheese cake and white chocolate truffles.  Some creamy blue cheese as a side option will also be sensational.  We have a bottle of Taittinger Nocturne Sec.

The tasting takes place tomorrow evening so I'll be posting the results on what people thought.  Any other suggestions for pairings are welcome!

Post Script:  Two wines have been blocked out so that attendees of tomorrow eve do not know what is in the blind tasting.

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

Climate change podcast

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


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.


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.


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.


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