Weekend in Champagne

Champagne is closer than you might think. A short hop across the channel and it’s only a short distance to one of the most Northerly wine growing regions in France. Felix, Manager at Majestic Belgravia shares his fleeting visit…

Times are hard when your two days off are spent in Epernay drinking Champagne. But I took it on the chin, jumped on the Eurostar & before I knew it I was staring bewildered at the pre-Phylloxera vineyards of Bollinger. As we strolled through the Grand cru vineyards I couldn’t help noticing the early flowering on the vines. Not surprising really considering the unseasonal warmth, not that I’m complaining. So an early vintage for Champagne this year then. Not unlike ’76 apparently. I’ll have to take their word for it as I wasn’t allowed to drink at 6 years old. I had very restrictive parents.

The inevitable tasting commenced starting with the ever palatable & rich Special Cuvee. One amazing fact that I learnt was Bolly store their reserve wines in magnum rather than stainless steel tanks. This fact for all wine geeks everywhere is impressive. To the layman it explains why Bollinger is such a complex & tantalising Champagne.

Next was the 2002 Grand Année Blanc. If I was to write everything that impressed me about this wine I’d run out of space so the short of the long is that it’s absolutely delicious. Even in youth it is powerful, weighty & complex. And for the romantics out there, they still riddle all the Grand Année range & the R.D (recently disgorged). Nice, err, touch.

Bollinger R.D. 1997  Bolly Grand Année Rosé 2002 was next. Read the above & include red fruits, rhubarb & generally pleasing sensations. This is big enough to compete with pork & lighter duck dishes. Or by itself in good company during a summer’s day on Primrose Hill saluting celebrities as they pass. Considering the high prices of it’s contemporaries, the G.A Rosé is a steal, and a delight.

Of course, we tried the non vintage Rosé which again has the hallmark Bollinger structure with bold Pinot Noir red fruit flavours abound. As it is obviously more fresh & lively try it with strawberries soaked in wine with hazelnut ice cream & a perfectly baked Madeleine. That’s what we had with it for dessert. It was lovely. Tres lovely even. Add to that one cigar (un petit), one Cognac & maybe a few more glasses of Special Cuvée for nostalgia & that completes a thoroughly enjoyable trip to Bollinger.

If you’d like to hear more about what Felix and the rest of the Majestic Belgravia team are up to you can follow them on twitter @majesticbel or visit their store webpage www.majestic.co.uk/belgravia

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