Soon we will celebrate Christmas, New Year and a few other special days afterwards. It will be the time when we open many great bubbling bottles from the most famous wine area of Champagne in France. The bubbling wine in champagne glasses bring us the most welcoming feeling during this festive season. It is actually also the beverage you can drink with nearly every dish made from around the world. The mousse on the palate always pairs nicely the taste buds of a gourmand’s tongues if you like it or not. In a way, Champagnes and other sparkling wines do enhance various types of dishes with its liveliness, usually throughout the meal.
Irecently came back from a short wine trip to the area of Champagne and Bordeaux and had the pleasure of visiting two great Champagne wine houses, Lanson in Reims and Bollinger in Ay. Two big names in the circles of champagne, but so different like a Riesling from Elsass in France compared to a Riesling from the Rheingau in Germany. I am pleased that Champagne has this level of variety.
Lanson started in 1760, with its name inherited from Lanson Père et Fils in the year of 1855. Today the house produces high class Champagnes like so many others. The most well known Champagne is called Lanson Black Label Brut which is also available in Bali. There is also a selection of many Champagne types Lanson produces like: Non Vintages, the Vintages, the Multi–Millesimes and the Prestige Champagnes. In Bali you can find the Ivory Label Demi Sec NV, Extra Age Brut NV, Noble Cuvee Brut 2000 and Noble Cuvee Blanc De Blanc 2000 with the wine supplier Dimatique. Like in most Champagne houses the best Champagnes are made with grapes that come from the Grand Cru and 1er Cru areas of the Champagne area. We tasted, all in all, about 10 different Champagnes and I must say that most were welcomed by my palate.
Bollinger started in 1829 as a family business and has never changed until 2008 when the Family gave the business of the Champagne House to Monsieur Jérôme Philipon but still under the hand of the Family Bollinger. The Champagnes of this house are different to Lanson because all the wines are fermented in Barriques wood barrels and most off the reserve wines are held in steel magnum tanks, it is the only Champagne house in the world which does this. Therefore the price is of course higher and I would mention too that this Champagne is mostly only found on the wine list of esteemed restaurants.
The best known Champagne here is called Special Cuvee Brut NV. The house produces the following Champagnes: Bollinger Rose, La Grande Annee white and Rose, Bollinger R. D. (Recently Disgorged) and the very rare Vieilles Vignes Françaises made only in good years coming from one single block, 1 hectare in size. For me the most astonishing Champagne I tasted in the tasting room of Bollinger was the R.D. Champagne 2002. A real must have for someone who claims to know a thing or two about Champagne. In Bali, the wine supplier Dimatique hold the following Champagnes of Bollinger: Bollinger Rose Brut, La Grande Annee Brut 2005, La Grande Annee Rose 2004, R.D. Extra Brut 2002 and the very rare Blanc de Noirs Vielles Vignes Francaise 2005.
I do hope that all you Wine and Champagne lovers have a festive time with lots of Champagne at your tables. See you next year with an update on what is new and great in Bordeaux.
Harald Wiesmann, Restaurant Manager of the fine dining, Asian-inspired Haute Cuisine Kayuputi and Chief Sommelier at The St. Regis Bali Resort, has a very interesting career history spanning a number of years with different roles in various countries. His 43 years of international experience has led Kayuputi to receive prestigious awards from the Wine Spectator Magazine (USA) for six consecutive years since its opening six and a half years ago, and dubbed as a fine restaurant that has one of the best wine lists in the Asian region. Harald is set to publish his book, titled “Wine and Dine at St. Regis Bali Resort” in the near future