At 72 years old and reflecting on the recent ‘Springtime Champagne Week’, Michael Edwards says, “I’ve always favoured the little guys [in Champagne] and the sense of the land…”. This week provides an opportunity for champagne aficionados to really taste the broad spectrum of the regions best offerings.

With over 40 tasting events happening throughout the week, Edwards does issue his warning that, with so many attendees, tasting can be near impossible and councils “more discipline” is needed to allow people to get round.

Aside from this small gripe, he does wax lyrical about the achievements of pinot noir growers in the 2015 vintage, who “in this warm year have produced the most wonderful wines. Normally the tannins this far north are quite sharp and green. They were lovely and ripe but they were also quite delicate.”

Edwards links this ripening of the pinot noir tannins to the effects of global warming that is now having a huge impact across many wine producing regions in France and the rest of the world. Although he sees global warming as having a positive impact for winegrowers, that view may not be shared across the region.

Climate change bargains acidity for alcohol

In another interview I conducted that week with distinguished winemaker, Didier Gimonnet (coming soon: Interview: Didier Gimonnet talks climate change impacts), of Champagne Pierre Gimonnet et Fils, Didier explains how they have lost 1 point of acidity and gained 1 point of alcohol. If this trend continues, the effects on champagne production, especially in the vineyard, will mean a great deal of focus on adaptation to maintain quality.

In the meantime, Edwards describes these pinot noirs as “gentler, more elegant, expressive and, most important of all, more digestible wines for everyone to drink.

On Style

People are now less into power and more into precision, freshness… that’s what great champagne is all about, whether it is young or old, it should always be fresh!”

Still Wines: Coteaux Champenois

‘Those are fabulous.. I defy anyone tasting blind to recognise them as from Champagne. They might think it was from Burgundy… wonderful richness!”

Summary

“I think we live in a golden age of wine.” but in warmer years like 2015, “meunier brought a freshness to the blend that chardonnay could not, because it was too hot, you see? Everyone will deny that but I am convinced in my water that that’s right!”

In part 2 (coming soon) we discuss English wine with thoughts on building up reserve wines and the use of the meunier grape variety.

Click here for more information on The Finest Wines Of Champagne

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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.

 

Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch. 

 

It’s been a hot couple of weeks here trekking around northern Catalonia. From the homeland and backdrop to surrealist Salvador Dali’s world to dramatic remnants of the volcano park an hour away, this place is a land of rough-hewn vistas and rustic hospitality.

 

It’s a scorching summer evening in Regent’s Park and what is my glass is of premium importance. The fact that Britain is experiencing a thorough multi-day licking from the sun, is itself unconventional, as are the pourers at this evenings tasting: 4 wine producers from the appellation AOC Ventoux in the southern Rhone.

 

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.

 

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