An evening of decadence hosted by Rachel of Berkhamsted Majestic took place on Saturday where the epitome of a perfect food and wine match was experienced. The finest of fish and chips washed down with top shelf champagne. The tasting was attended by representatives from the Berkhamsted, Aylesbury, Amersham, High Wycombe and Windsor stores plus Head Office and Commercial.
It all began with a reception of Barons de Rothschild Blancs de Blancs and Baron de Rothschild NV. A lively and fruity champagne with nicely balanced acidity and palate weight. This style showcases the fruit characteristics to their full capacity. Fresh flavours of green apple dominate the nose and the palate resulting in immensely quaffable champagne. Paul Shipley, Berkhamsted
The Amuse-bouche was Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2002. Considering the youth of this champagne the nose was a surprisingly mature, beautiful balance of crisp, clean fruit and the sought after aroma and flavours of brioche and pastry. Well balanced acidity and a smooth mousse give this a fantastic mouth feel – all in all a very well put together champagne. Rob Winup, Berkhamsted
The main course was matched with a Jeroboam of Moët and Chandon Brut Impérial N/V, classic champagne. Green apples, citrus fruit and hints of biscuity flavours on the nose. Crisp acidity, steely minerality, and a bold mousse made this the perfect match to that British favourite, fish & chips. Laure Allison, Amersham.
The after dinner entertainment consisted of three vintage vertical of Bollinger Grand Année: 2002, 1997 and 1996:
2002 – Aromas of citrus peel and toast with the slightest hint of truffles, a delightfully lively mouse and flavours of baked apples made this an exceptional start to the vertical tasting. John Ruck-Keene, Aylesbury.
1996 – The nose displays more of those autolytic characteristics that are so beloved of vintage champagnes, slight nuttiness. Fine mousse on the palate, a more refined mouth-feel and outstanding length made this bottle well worth the wait. Al Fleming, Commercial.
1997 – Fully mature and drinking perfectly now. Truffle and bruised apple aromas on the nose follow through to dried fig and apricot balanced with digestive biscuit undertones on the palate. Chris Love, Uxbridge.
The final course was Cristal 2004. Potentially a truly great champagne, there were glimpses of excellence. The aromas were reminiscent of a French bakery; freshly baked croissants and brioche. The palate was crisp braburn apple with hints of sherbet. Showing signs that it is moving in the right direction, this was a little restrained. Definately one for the cellar. Bex Jones, Windsor.
Nobody could agree on which Champagne was the star of the show all were equally show stopping. A fantastic evening was had by all. We all went home feeling thoroughly well educated on the world of top shelf champagne.