Stars of Champagne!

Stars of Champagne!

Whitmore & White
"Come quickly, I'm drinking the stars!" - Dom Pérignon may have never actually uttered those immortal words, but every sip of Champagne is as mystical and wonderful from the first glass to the last, and that quote sums up the experience poetically. In fact Dom Pérignon, contrary to popular belief, did not invent, create or stumble across Champagne. His part in its history is not inconsiderable, but we the British have something to shout about as we have made several important contributions to the development of Champagne over the years. Christopher Merret, an English Physician and Scientist, made observations on the addition of sugar to wine and the resulting secondary fermentation (the process by which champagne gets its bubbles) almost fifty years before Dom Pérignon used that method. Merret's observations lead to a greater understanding of how sparkling wines behave and how best to refine them. Merret made an even more important contribution some years later together with Sir Robert Mansell. They were able to perfect the production of glass bottles that would be strong enough to withstand the pressure exerted on it by sparkling wines, something the French were unable to achieve. The British design is still used today. Perrier-Jouët, in an attempt to make his Champagne more popular in Britain, didn't add any sugar to his 1848 vintage, instead labelling it as 'Brut', a style that proved be be so popular that for most producers it is their 'House' style. Our scientists, our glass producers and our palates all influenced the Champagne we know and love today. My choices for now: Bollinger NV Brut Bollinger is the very epitome of fine Champagne for me, it has elegance yet power, its enjoyable and always leaves you wanting more. Champagne houses use 3 different grapes to achieve there desired style, 2 of these varieties, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, are red with the white grape Chardonnay being the third. Each grape brings a unique characteristic to the wine, Bollinger's famously rich style its all down to its blend of Pinot Noir (60%) with Chardonnay coming in at 25% and Pinot Meunier 15%, it is the Pinot Noir that gives this champagne its beautiful richness, providing a wonderful spice on the nose. The palate is full of brioche and subtle hints of apple and pear. Served as an aperitif with canapés of cheese or smoked salmon, this Champagne screams class and sophistication. Deutz Blanc de Blanc 2008 Blanc de Blanc is a style of champagne that only uses white grapes and is therefore 100% Chardonnay. It is also a vintage Champagne as denoted by the year meaning it is made up of a single years harvest. Vintage Champagnes are made to age, they age very well and can command a much higher price than their none vintage alternatives. This champagne has a wonderful mouth feel, there are biscuity notes and a lovely fresh citrus acidity, this is really good value champagne and it will age very well. Simon Parkinson Manager, W&W West Kirby