Thursday, October 28th, 2010: A day to Remember – Champagne Day Around the World ** Before you pop the cork, there are a few basic rules:

• Glasses should be clean and free of any traces of detergent or rinsing agent [could cause Champagne to flatten]

• Avoid all forms of perfume, i.e., personal or room fragrance [these will interfere with the appreciation of the aromas]

• Ideal drinking temperature is [8° – 10° C] – chill the bottle for 20 minutes in an ice bucket filled with ice

• When pouring, fill the glass only two-thirds [this allows the aromas to circulate]

• Once the Champagne is poured, allow some time for it to open up

What can you see? What can you smell? What can you Taste? Champagne deserves your undivided attention. You need time to appreciate its colour, effervescence, savor its aromas and define its dominant impressions.

Colour and Appearance

Once the Champagne is poured, place a sheet of white paper behind the glass try to identify the shade.

Colours can range from: pale gold; green gold; grey gold; straw yellow; yellow gold to antique gold. For rosé Champagnes colours range from coral pink, salmon pink to deep pink.

How does the Champagne look to you? Is it limpid, sparkling or silky?

And what about the bubbles, are they: light; fine; lively; plentiful or slow?


Once the initial effervescence has subsided, bring the flute to your nose and inhale slowly, at length and then inhale again. How do you describe the aromas? Are they floral, fruity, vegetal, or does the aroma remind you of dried fruits or some other indulgent delicacy?

Floral aromas can range from rose, lime blossom, orange blossom or violet.

Fruity smells will range from grapefruit, apple, pear, quince, peach, apricot, nectarine, mango, banana, lychee, coconut, cherry or currant.

Vegetal bouquets range from almond, grass, fern, to truffle.

Dried Fruit odors range from hazelnut, raisin to dried fig.

Other indulgent delicacy aromas include butter, brioche, toast, honey, candied fruit, vanilla and various spices


Champagne reveals its complex personality best on the palate. Try rolling the Champagne around your mouth – there is bound to be a dominant impression.

How does the Champagne feel?

Does it feel powerful, solid, comforting, smooth, light, mature, or opulent?

Now how would you describe the impression?

Is it creamy, delicate or complex?

Go ahead and enjoy what is hiding inside your flute glass – Wishing you all a Happy Global Champagne Day!

Dom Pérignon : FIVE STARS

Gathering stars around Dom Pérignon was the idea for the European launch on Oct 6 of our new campaign: Never Stop Reaching For The Stars. Such a star-studded event found a perfect setting with the Paris Observatory—the former Royal Observatory created by Louis the Sun King a few years before Dom Pérignon took up his duties as the cellarer of the Abbey of Hautvillers.

I selected five stars in the world of French Gastronomy to create a dinner for 100 guests, proposing one dish alongside every single vintage featured in the new campaign of Dom Pérignon: 1962, 1976, 1996 with the addition of the current vintage of 2002. Jean-François Piège, contributing an homage to the 60s and the Nouvelle Cuisine of the 70s; Bernard Antony, master cheese maker and affineur; Christophe Michalak, winner of the World Pastry Cup in 2005, with a futuristic dessert; Christophe Vasseur, baker extraordinaire and his Pain des Amis; and finally Gérard Basset MW, the World’s Best Sommelier 2010.

Richard Geoffroy,
Chef de Cave, Dom Pérignon

Taste the First French Wine of 2010 (Beaujolais Nouveau)

France is undoubtedly the most famous wine-producing country in the world and Beaujolais is one of their most popular red wines. Each year at one minute past midnight on the third Thursday of November over a million cases of Beaujolais Nouveau begin their journey to Paris for immediate international distribution. One of the most animated rituals in the wine world has now begun – a worldwide race to be the first to serve this new wine of the harvest. At the same time, banners are erected proclaiming: “Le Beaujolais Nouveau Est Arrivé!” – “The New Beaujolais has arrived!” and along with this begins the annual celebration of the arrival of the Beaujolais Nouveau. This celebration is steeped in tradition, frivolity, grandeur, legend, and bien sûr great wine!

This wine-producing region covers parts of the north of the Rhône département (Rhône-Alpes) and parts of the south of the Saône-et-Loire département (Burgundy). This region produces twelve officially designated types of Beaujolais known as AOCs, which include some of the finest and priciest grand crus, including Fleurie and Cote de Brouilly. The most common two are Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages, the former accounts for half of the region’s annual output, and is used to make Beaujolais Nouveau.

Six to eight weeks earlier the wine was merely a cluster of Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc grapes (Gamay) in a grower’s vineyard. By expeditious harvest, rapid fermentation, and speedy bottling the wine is ready to drink. This wine is as close to a white wine as a red wine can get – the must is pressed after three days, therefore the astringent tannins normally found in red wines are not evident, leaving light, fresh fruity notes. Beaujolais Nouveau is bright cherry red or violet in colour and is to be served at 10°C (50°F). The race from grape to glass may seem absurd, but half the fun is knowing that on the same night around the world in restaurants, bistros and homes everyone will be celebrating the first wine of the year.

There are over 120 Beaujolais Nouveau festivals held in the region with the most famous Les Sarmentelles. This five-day festival is held in the town of Beaujeu and features wine tasting, live music and dancing. During the afternoon on Beaujolais Nouveau Day wine and local foods are available for sampling. There is also a tasting contest featuring all twelve Beaujolais with the winner receiving his or her weight in Beaujolais-Villages! Later that evening there is a torchlit parade through the town honoring the growers and producers, with the Grande Finale ‘Fireworks at Midnight which marks the release of the new wine.

The town of Salles-en-Beaujolais also holds a ‘Beaujolais Nouveau Hike’ each year, which features tours of cellars around the area. A less obvious event is Le Marathon du Beaujolais, which is a three-day event in which participants taste the wine after running a marathon! Everywhere in France street parties are held for locals and tourists to taste the new wine. It’s one of the few times you’ll ever see en masse drinking in France!

Making Dom Perignon – The Harvest Has Ended

The harvest ended more than one week ago: I wish we could rest and enjoy the current Indian summer but there is still a lot of work to be done. Bringing the crop in is a real achievement in itself, but the winemaking part is still in progress and will require considerable efforts before we can finally relax. The base wines will not be finished and ready for tasting before early November.

The harvest itself went reasonably well. As I mentioned before, the maturity of the grapes has reached very satisfying, largely above average levels, a relative surprise given the weather conditions over the summer. Chardonnays were healthy and the botrytis in the Pinot Noirs was to a large extent a non-issue—we only had to pay attention at the time of picking. However the very last days of the harvest were quite rainy and it was really time to finish. This harvest leaves us all with the great feeling of having done our utmost: good things should come out of it, but it is hard to say more right now. As usual, patience is key.

Richard Geoffroy

Recent Victory for Comité Interprofession du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) against Andrélon’s ‘Champagne’ Shampoo

Victory for the Comité Interprofession du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) last Friday in summary proceedings before the Presiding Judge of the District Court The Hague (P.H. Blok) against Unilever Nederland B.V., producer of Andrélon’s 70th anniversary ‘Champagne shampoo’. Some of the bottles were ‘dressed’ with a ‘collar’ bearing the signs ‘Champagne’, ‘70’ and the pay-off ‘Omdat we jarig zijn’(‘Because it’s our birthday’), depicted against a ‘sparkling’ background. Unilever accompanied the introduction of the shampoo with a commercial showing a garden party at which characters from previous Andrélon commercials are toasting to Andrélon with a glass of champagne. At the end of the commercial the shampoo bottle is shown with the text ‘Champagne Shampoo voor een feestelijke glans’ (champagne shampoo for a festive shine). Furthermore Unilever created an advertisement in which a bottle of shampoo is placed in a champagne cooler filled with ice with the accompanying text ‘Elke dag champagne’(each day champagne). After CIVC had summoned Unilever to cease and desist the use of Champagne, Unilever removed the wording ‘Champagne Shampoo’ from the text at the end of the commercial and rephrased the wording of the advertisement text ‘Elke dag champagne’ into ‘Elke dag feest’ (each day a party).

The Presiding Judge gives short shrift to the use of Champagne by Unilever (Unilever apparently did not resist the alleged infringement itself). Unilever is ordered to refrain immediately from the use of ( the protected geographical indication) Champagne and prohibited to market Andrélon Champagne shampoo. However the Presiding Judge also considers that not all use of Champagne is forbidden, but that consideration is not elaborated any further.

No mercy is either shown towards Unilever with regard to CICV’s claims for an injunction against the changed commercial and for a recall of all Champagne bottles located at retailers. The Presiding Judge holds that CICV has rightly argued that in certain circumstances a defendant who infringed a protected geographical indication is under an obligation to take appropriate measures to discontinue the wrongful situation created by himself. Accordingly the Presiding Judge rules that Unilever refrains from the promotion of the Champagne shampoo and to recall the remaining shampoo bottles available at retailers.

Parties to the proceedings discussed the issue of full procedural cost compensation. Unilever indicated that geographical indications might not qualify as intellectual property rights for which the full procedural cost compensation is applicable. According to Unilever geographical indications should be regarded as rights sui generis. The Presiding Judge disagreed and decided that according to article 2 par. 2 and article 22 et seq TRIPs agreement geographical indications are intellectual property rights. Article 2 par. 2 of the EU Enforcement Directive should be read accordingly, because the EU are bound by the Trips agreement. The Presiding Judge ordered Unilever to pay to CICV € 25.000 for procedural costs.