Monthly Archives: June 2011
At last! A moment to stop, think, write (!) and reflect on the last fortnight, not least trying to buy a house and having my wisdom tooth whipped out quicker than you can say Chablis, which is where I spent a few days last week.
Don’t get me wrong, the tooth-pulling wasn’t Chablis’ fault, even if, as a wine style in general, Chablis’ racy acidity is responsible for its trademark freshness. In fact the freshness may go some way to explaining why, after my 3 months in Oz earlier this year, I was craving Chablis like nothing else when I came home.
During my trip I packed in everyone from niche producers like Moreau-Naudet (to whom The Wine Gang awarded its top white wine trophy last year) to the hugely important co-operative producer La Chablisienne, which churns out a mind-blowing quarter of Chablis’ entire production every year, and then I also visited larger producers (not that there are many in this tiny village) like Brocard, which may still be family-owned but which is very popular with us Brits and has a strong focus on biodynamic wines.
One particular highlight was my vineyard tour in Lulubelle 2 – a Citroën 2CV. I’m no petrol head, but I do love a goofy car, and have one of my own (a Figaro) to prove it. Lulubelle 2′s owner/my tour guide, Eric Szablowski of Au Coeur du Vin, explained (in between details of Chablis’ crucial soil layers) that every Citroën 2CV has a name. It’s compulsory.
A bit like it’s compulsory to recognise the full set of Chablis wines, not just the top notch Grand Cru wines, according to Eric. With than in mind, below Eric explains why, when tasting Chablis, you should always remember and begin with the first appellation of Petit Chablis, then progressing to straight Chablis, moving up to Premier Cru Chablis and finishing with the crème de la crème, Grand Cru Chablis.
More on Chablis soon, in The Spectator (Scoff) and here on my website.
I’m Croatia-bound this afternoon with The Wine Gang, where we’ll be sipping and spitting for our initiative with Wines of Croatia. Y’see? Yet another reason why the tooth issue had to be resolved asap.
A brilliant drop of fizz that proves Prosecco and Cava are not the only European sparkling wine alternatives to Champagne to be had. This one, from the Loire and made from Chenin Blanc, is dry, delicate and frothy, but has lots of pears and apple juiciness giving it loads of character and a really friendly aperitif wine. It comes in a classy-looking bottle too.
Another quick blog but it’s been far too long – sorry! At the moment, the Eurostar is my second home.
Last week I was in Champagne getting the low-down on all that’s happening including new releases, details of the last vintage (hardly anyone is going to be releasing a 2010, it seems), the current releases (so many people have launched a 2003 now after being practically written off a few years ago), and then for those who could divulge their previously top secret plans, there seems to be one hell of a lot of limited-edition research/work releases going on too, these days.
And what are these developments? Well I can’t say much, partly because I still don’t know myself (!) but also because I’m saving all my acquired nuggets of, er, wisdom, for Imbibe’s (www.imbibemagazine.com) Champagne supplement, which I am editing this year. This is an awesome project in which to be involved as Champagne has so many functions in the on-trade (restaurants, bars, hotels etc) environment, there are so many options and opinions. Watch this space!
Now I’m being called to the platform. Tonight I am off to Chablis, this time for Spectator Scoff (www.spectator.co.uk/scoff), and not having being for a few years I’m looking forward to getting the low down here too.
In a nutshell, if it’s north east France, I’ve got it covered this summer. Now I just need to squeeze in a visit to Alsace and I’m done!