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31 July 2014

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A fizz for all reasons - Champagne Special

(menu)

Celebrate, commemorate, speculate, congratulate… and do it with Champagne. Jane Parkinson comes up with ten fantastic fizzes, and occasions to match


There are countless occasions when a Champagne cork should be popped, and there are seemingly countless Champagnes to choose from. Whether you are looking for some serious value for money, want to mark a romantic rendezvous with something classy, feel like indulging in fizz with the first meal of the day, intend to reap the rewards of ageing a good Champagne or simply need something to stick in your picnic basket on a sunny day, you should find the perfect bottle to fit the bill in our round-up of 10 Champagnes that go hand in hand with 10 different occasions.

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Alternative bottle size

Delamotte Brut NV
Corney & Barrow
Whether you’re looking for a little less or a little more, it’s great to know that a delicious brut, non-vintage Champagne such as Delamotte can cater for all your needs. Made from the three classic Champagne grapes – Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay – this wine is crisp and lively with juicy fruit and gentle buttered-toast flavours.

Celebration

2002 Dom Perignon
Majestic
To celebrate in style, it’s worth having a wine such as 2002 Dom Pérignon, which more than lives up to the hype of its reputation. Concentrated, with pretty white flower aromas and a firm citrus intesity, the palate is powerful yet it has finesse, too, with fine bubbles and a freshness of grapefruit which
is balanced out by luscious apricot flavours. Celebrate
with it now, or indeed over
the next 10 years.

Aperitif

Larmandier-Bernier Terre de Vertus Extra Brut NV
Lea & Sandeman
A perky, dry fizz is great to pep up the palate before a meal or to sip alongside some salty nibbles. Larmandier-Bernier keeps a keen eye on low-sugar (very dry) Champagnes, and this one oozes zingy refreshment, balanced minerality and mouth-watering lemon shortbread notes.

Gift-giving

2000 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne
Berry Bros & Rudd, Fortnum & Mason, Harrods, Majestic, Waitrose
Inside this classic, handsome bottle is an equally handsome wine that makes for a great gift. A grand cru Champagne made from Chardonnay only, it has a creamy, brioche and toasted nut complexity balanced by a lovely freshness for its age. A gift to please every Champagne lover.

Picnic

Bollinger Rose NV
Berry Bros & Rudd, Lea & Sandeman, Majestic, Waitrose
The key to getting a picnic Champagne right is to have something that can match a whole range of picnic fare. With its mix of rich raspberries and crisp apples, Bollinger’s version is perfect – working well with meatier dishes, salads and even strawberry puddings.

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Romance

2004 Deutz Blanc de Blancs
Harrods
An intimate occasion calls for an intimate wine, so step forward the indulgent but elegant and pure Chardonnay from Deutz, an understated Champagne house that’s capable of making sublime wines. This is teasingly floral and a little bit creamy, with ripe citrus flavours and a long biscuit finish, all of which makes for seriously sensual supping.

Afternoon tea

Laurent-Perrier Rose NV
Majestic, Sainsbury’s, Selfridges, Waitrose
When sweet treats like cakes or macaroons are on the menu, a demi-sec Champagne would work, or you can stick with something dry but full of red fruit, like this famous fizz. It’s a rosé with plenty of red berry flavours – as well as delicate, food-friendly bubbles.

value for money

Champagne Marguet Blanc de Noirs NV
The Wine Society
For some really good bang-for-your-buck fizz, check out merchant The Wine Society’s offerings. This one, a blend of Champagne’s two main black grapes – Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier – ticks all the authentic Champagne boxes: a lively fizz, with firm fruit and a salty character to whet the appetite, with a lightly nutty finish.

Cellar potential

2000 Pol Roger Blanc de Blancs
Berry Bros & Rudd
Top-notch Champagne is delicious when it’s older – the fresh, citrus flavours become sumptuous and honeyed. This is a perfect example of such a wine, made wholly from Chardonnay. Even now, its magic is still unfolding, so keep it for another 5 to 10 years… if you can wait.

Breakfast

Dosnon & Lepage Recolte Noire Blanc de Noirs NV
Roberson Wine
Hello pastries and toast, hello Blanc de Noirs! A favourite of sommeliers, producer Dosnon & Lepage has a reputation for quality and flavour. This one, made purely from Pinot Noir, is barrel fermented for extra richness and texture. Expect round, juicy flavours of creamy raspberries and crunchy red apples, with a rich, toasty finish.


This feature was published in the summer 2012 issue of Square Meal Lifestyle.

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