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.
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!”
“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.
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An aperitif by the coliseum
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.
Artichoke pasta and very fine Pigato
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!
Soave: volcanic wines with elegance and longevity
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.
An American In Paris; Tanisha Townsend (@GirlMeetsGlass) discusses podcasts, Paris wine bars, & what she's drinking at the moment
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.
Wine tasting in Galicia: The pilgrims search for Albarino
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.
Interview: (Re)Defining the Entre-Deux-Mers, climate change & tasting with Stephane Dupuch
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.