Tim's Blog

A different view of Champagne


A fascinating Champagne Masterclass unfurled at Bacco last night as we explored Champagne through the eyes of Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards.

echelles des crusWith all the hype and marketing bling that the big names of Champagne bring to bear, the existence of the Echelle des Crus – a system that gives a % rating to the many villages in the Champagne region – is relatively unknown. Because the vast majority of Champagne production is in the hands of producers who source fruit from many different areas it is rare to see Grand Cru or 1er Premier Cru on a label.

We compared and contrasted an excellent range of wines from three small estates: Pierre Moncuit, Roger Geoffroy and Pierre Paillard. We tasted an exceptional range of beautifully crafted and individual Champagnes including Blanc de Blancs, Blanc de Noirs, Rosés and blends. Highlights were the 2009 Vintage Blanc e Noirs from Paillard, the Brut NV from Paillard and the Rosé from Moncuit.

Another surprise was the sweeter wines: the Nocturne Sec from Taittinger and the Demi-Sec from Roederer. Stylish and a wonderful change from the classic Brut style. The Nocturne was sublime with the Langres cheese and the Roederer held its own against a chocolate and pear tart.

With prices ranging from £28.00 to £40.00 – these wines were exceptional value compared to some of the “better known” marques.