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Champagne and All Sorts of Fizz!

Champagne Pommery brings in first major harvest from Hampshire - The Drinks Business

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Great post and photos Peter, many thanks for sharing.

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“English sparkling wine should be lower priced than the major Champagne brands to have commercial success”

So true.

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Oh please. As quoted by Pommery’s cellarmaster!

In many cases the product is as good, and producers such as Nyetimber have spent years building their brand. It makes zero long term commercial sense to discount.

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I don’t think I’ll panic about a potential Champagne shortage. Just checked CT, 206 bottles and 9 pending. Better not tell Lady Brentw1 :sunglasses:

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My wife and I were recently fortunate enough to have a meal at one of Marcus Wareing’s restaurants and had a glass of Gossett champagne - they have a “Marcus Wareing Special Edition”)

Previously we have not seen the benefit of buying Champagne and had stuck to Samur and other sparkling options, but the Champagne was like something we had never had before and we are keen to broaden our horizons.

Therefore looking for advice - we are keen to try a selection of Champagnes over Christmas/New Year and but are looking for recommendations as we have no idea where to start.

We’ve seen the growers case (https://www.thewinesociety.com/product/growers-champagne-case-lc21403) and are wondering if that is a good entry point or if members would suggest anything else to try a selection of champagnes - we were looking to spend probably £200 max over 5/6 bottles but could stretch higher if it will really show us something different/unique.

Any suggestions gratefully received!

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My suggestion would be to hold off for a while because champagne prices always reduce before Christmas.

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Christmas often also brings another mixed case of bigger brands at a good discount.

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I would agree to hold off for a month or so due to inevitable Christmas offers - but as and when you do buy, the grower case is usually an excellent way of trying a range of champagnes. Personally I prefer the grower champagnes I’ve tried to almost all of the large house offerings.

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The grower case is a decent bet IMO, as it helps you decide which style you like, but also fun to drink through the Grand Marque NVs and decide which you like. Can be cheap to buy those via supermarket promotions.

Doing this will help calibrate your palate, eg do you trend towards oak or steel, more Chardonnay or more Pinot, etc.

In case you don’t know already, a lot of people (me included) think NV Champagne tastes better a year or two after purchase. One reason to try a cross-section is that then you can get stuck into the Society’s 6-for-5 offers and leave the case in reserves until it’s ready. I have Bollinger and Lahaye doing just that.

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The TWS Growers mixed case is a good starting point, but so is figuring out the different styles (and which you prefer) based on the blend used. I have come to the conclusion that Pinot Noir biased or fully Blanc de Noir champagnes are my bag and it may be that you can use the more easily obtained Grand Marque’s to experiment on - ideally when you can get 25% off!
It seems that the Gosset champagne you mention might be a roughly equal blend of Chardonnay and PN with no malolactic fermentation; perhaps search out a similarly made alternative as a starting point?

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I echo both @Bluebeard and @VinoVeritas’s good advice.

The growers selection of Champagnes is good - I have one- , but I wonder whether, if you find one that knocks off your socks, you will be able to buy more of that one.

Although it seems on first glance that Champagne, with its limited range of allowed varieties, is all much the same, there is a great difference, with blends in all proportions, from 100% black grapes to 100% white and everything in between, different aging regimes, different vine ages, different areas etc.

Early on I favoured Lanson Black Label (of the big brands) and that was one of the few that did not undergo malolactic fermentation.

And I was not so keen on Blanc de Blanc (i.e. made only from white grapes) so I think you’ll need to drink as lot to get a grip on what style you like.

But… do get another Gosset and have it at home, to test if the occasion of eating at Wareing’s restaurant was a factor in your pleasure.

Also, even cheap supermarket Champagnes taste more expensive if kept at home for 2 or 3 years before opening.

Also, ask Santa for a copy of Bursting Bubbles: A Secret History of Champagne and the Rise of the Great Growers by Robert Walters

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Definite second that. Very informative and I was most receptive to its main messages and truths.

That book, with Christy Campell’s “Phylloxera” and Todd Kilman’s “The Wild Vine”, are the best three wine books I’ve read this century.

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Don’t bank on big discounts this year:

Call me an old cynic, but there seem to be quite a few discounts around already…

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Thanks all - really appreciate the info and thought that has gone in to helping!

Based on what has been said I think we will wait a few days and see what treats/discounts the Christmas List holds and try to out in to practice the advice.

Will try to report back on how we get on!

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Does anyone know when the Christmas list is going to be released?

Bob
I notice that some very good book recommendations have been made. You could in addition visit the website of the Comité Champagne. There are some very useful videos and text and also (for anoraks like me) some detailed material about pruning. Champagne is the most regulated wine region in the world (let alone France) and pruning is critical in the region. The site is packed with useful information.

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A post on Facebook 5 days ago said that the TWS “Christmas Shop” would open in 7 days. I guess that means Wednesday….

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Popped into my local indie for some bollinger rose last week and was told they won’t receive any more until Feb’22 and have limited stocks.

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