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3 things you have learnt from buying from the Society?

Thanks @danchaq, I completely agree with your sentiments. I was also struck by the similarities in so many areas when I had a scan of your cellar contents compared to mine. There are a lot of common regions and styles as well as some obvious differences. I could see you building up some interesting flights in some areas over the next few years.


Thank you for sharing Leah (all sorted now) and what a lovely selection. Much more varied than my cellar as you have nearly twice the number of different wines to me. Must make it fun when deciding what to pop!


I have had a lovely weekend with all my new Cellar Tracker friends and perusing your collections. However there is a down side! I’ve realised that I have been missing out on the Xinomavro wines! I sail with a group of friends in the Greek isles every year and I must admit that decent wine in the Marina supermarket is a challenge!

Based on the members reviews and the contents of all your cellars, a case of six of the 2017 Rapsani Terra Petra is on the way. I really pondered the magnum offer in the Christmas list but have to be realistic as to when I could broach them. I also picked up in the lovely half-bottle port offer in the same brochure, and my choice was the Single Quinta Dow’s and Graham’s case at £95.

The main damage was done however when I looked at the number of people who had some Ridge Monte Bello tucked away. This is a wine that I have no experience of although I have heard and read about it. I checked out TWS site and the 2014 is available at (compared to wine-searcher and a few other Googles) at a very competitive price. I will have to tell Lady Brentw1 that my finger slipped and I thought I’d hit the bottle button, not the case!

So you all have a lot to answer for!


You need to have

(1) a lot of money, and/or
(2) a strong marriage, and/or
(3) extreme will power.


Similar to the above I’ve learnt

  1. I’m weak willed.
  2. I’m a sucker for an offer.
  3. That Mrs Lewis must never know about 1 & 2.

3 - you think she doesn’t!!!


Oh dear, I predict a big investment in your future!


Welcome to the community!


@Brentw1 Too true… although having only recently properly started my cellar I feel so inferior :rofl: looking at everyone amazing bottles they have in their cellars… Some amazing stuff in cellars though!

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@HudsonRoux, we all had to start somewhere. I remember building my first IKEA wooden rack (sadly not available any more) and proudly putting my dozen bottles from Tesco in it!


OK, I was going to post this on a ‘Champagne and all that Fizz’ thread but it fits better into my ‘3 things that I have learnt over the years’ theme of this one. This is not for all you expert, experienced (way beyond my capabilities) bunnies who have also imparted great tips and knowledge to this quest, this is for people at the beginning of the journey (as we all were at one time).

This is a topic (Champagne that is) close to my heart and the Cellar Tracker search for Champagne on my iPhone has just produced the headline ‘204 bottles and 9 pending of 49 wines’. I’d better hide that one from Lady Brentw1 and pretend that I haven’t just ordered another case of TWS’s cracking NV with that excellent offer that is on at the moment! I also noticed when I looked through some of the awesome cellars that a lot of members kindly gave me access to, that I have a bit of an obsession with the stuff as I seem to have a hell of a lot more than most! :flushed: So I’ve had a lot of practice with the fizz if nothing else, but all this is only in my opinion of course.

  1. Experiment with the different blends to see which you like personally. All the big houses play around with the proportions of primarily Chardonnay (about 30% of the plantings in the region, Pinot Noir (38%) and Pinot Meunier (32%) in their house NV’s. There are tiny quantities of other permitted grapes such as Pinot Gris, Arbane and Petit Meslier but the big three dominate. Bollinger is a Pinot Noir dominated blend at 60%, whereas Louis Roederer is somewhere in the middle with 40% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier and Brimoncourt make an 80% Chardonnay blend. The extremes are the Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) and the Blanc de Noirs (usually 100% Pinot Noir although I have come across blends of this and Pinot Meunier as well as a 100% Meunier). Both in my opinion are better with lots of cellar time and I have just had a fabulous Le Mesnil Blanc de Blancs from the co-operative in the region that I thought was austere and horrible when I opened the first bottle two years ago. Find out what floats your boat!

  2. Don’t let it pop when you open it (in my opinion of course!). The name of the game is a slight hiss and no spillage as we are not Louis Hamilton! My method is to chill the bottle, put a tea towel over the cork and to turn the bottle not the cork. I’ve never needed a champagne star or similar as for the last 40 years, every cork comes out easily with this method and I’ve never spilled a drop! Honest! It’s too precious! (Could go down the Lord of the Rings path here but maybe not). Don’t get vintage champagne too cold by the way. Hugh Johnson recommends 8 to 10 degrees otherwise what you are paying for is hidden.

  3. Many people comment that aging NV Champagne improves it and I would certainly agree with them. Most of the Champagne houses shout about how their release is ready to go but in my experience it is the date of disgorgement which dictates whether this is the case or not. This has been a bit of a naughty secret in the past but most houses are now getting better at it. Charles Heidseck actually put the date clearly on the bottle (and were the first arguably with their ‘Mis on Cave’ releases as early as the 90’s). I have bottles in the cellar with the date of bottling (2013) and the date of disgorgement (2018) clearly printed on the back label. Bollinger however prefer a more ‘James Bond’ approach and on a bottle I have by my side, the code L1907901 appears in faint black lettering under the Bollinger name on the neck foil. This is the labeling date code and a fair guide to the disgorgement date. The first two digits on the neck of Special Cuvée and Rosé are the year and the next three digits are the number of the day of that year, so L19079 means the 79th day of 2019. Why make it so flipping hard?

The link above to Tyson Stelzer’s website has one of the more comprehensive guides that I have come across.

I suppose another question is why the Champers tastes better (for some people) with a bit of age. Well my view is that it is to do with the ‘marriage’. When that temporary plastic ‘cup’ (thanks for clarifying that for people @peterm and see the follwing post folks) is popped to expel the sediment from the second fermentation, the bottle is topped up with a small quantity of still wine, the ‘dosage’. This usually contains an amount of sugar syrup to adjust the sweetness of the wine. I think time is required for this to integrate into the body of the wine as well as the normal aging that take place with any wine and oxygen. I try to give all NV’s at least 18 months and some (Bolly in particular) have been spectacular after 5 or 6 years).

Anyway hope this is helpful to newer drinkers and apologies for teaching others to suck eggs and pop corks!


I prefer a black dominant Champagne, not keen on Blanc de Blanc, so as you rightly say, it’s matter of taste and best to find out what one prefers.

Meunier was the most planted variety by far when I first visited Champagne all those years ago but it was never mentioned by name. It’s only recently since Meunier has been found to be a Pinot Noir mutation that Champagne houses name it, although though they make the big noises about PN and Chardonnay.

I was taught that when opening a Champagne bottle the noise should be akin to a nun’s fart.

The temporary closure removed at disgorgement is a crown cap, as used on beer bottles, hence the rounded lip on the neck of a champagne bottle. Many houses are now using a plastic ‘cup’ in the neck to hold sediment which makes for a cleaner removal at disgorgement.

I’ve not learned this from the Society but I have come to the belief that, much as I love Champagne, the three Pinot grapes (PN, PM & Chardonnay) may make the best sparkling wine in Champagne but they are not the best grapes for making sparkling wine. (having lit the blue touch paper I’ll retreat to the kitchen to prepare dinner…)


16 posts were split to a new topic: Your favourite grapes when it comes to fizz

The first one to answer with confirmed knowledge of what this sounds like should get a complimentary bottle of Bin#005 for their cheek(s)


I was taught the same, but was all theory, no practical knowledge.


Imagination, chaps, imagination!

I thought it was time for another entry on this thread and have decided to pick three things that I have got out of joining up and posting in the community.

  1. What a fantastic group of people! I’m not an obsessive social media bunny (even with the surname of Warren!), but I do look forward to catching up with the posts and am already seeing some tremendous characters that have really made me laugh. Prize of the week for a chuckle has been the conversation about ‘fluffing’! @peterm, I laughed so much at your ‘fluffer’ post it hurt and thank goodness for autocorrect @Brocklehurstj!
  2. I am enjoying my wine much, much more since joining. It is making me think more about what to open, I am learning about things that I would not have considered trying (Xinomavro wines being a good example) and people are so willing to share.
  3. I am not just learning more about wine. The weekend drinks threads are awesome and the food is stunning. But the Aktar Islam curry box was a revelation and one is on the way for next weekend!

Well, I have never heard one. That could count as confirmed knowledge.


All depends on how much time you’ve spent in the company of nuns, I suppose.


You might live to regret it, but some day I might tell you about my Sound-of-Music-like experience in the mountains of Slovenia (then a Yugoslav republic)