Spectrum Wine’s Second Anniversary Auction Includes Krug and Cristal Champagne Brunch

Spectrum Wine Auctions’ Second Anniversary Auction will take place December 3rd & 4th at 11:00 a.m. at the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong Hotel.

All registered bidders are invited to celebrate the auction with a Champagne brunch featuring pours of Krug and Cristal, which starts promptly at 11:00 a.m. The two-day event features a total of 1,631 lots of rare and collectible wines, and carries a pre-sale estimate of HK $50.4 million.

Highlights include more than 600 lots of top-shelf Burgundy including nearly 175 lots of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, as well as H. Jayer Richebourg, Domaine Méo-Camuzet, Domaine Leroy. The sale also offers several cases of First Growth Bordeaux in OWC.

Bids may be placed live in the auction room, online, by phone, in advance via fax or through Spectrum Wine’s new iPhone/iPad bidding app. Interested buyers may preview 360-degree photographs of bottles from each lot prior to the sale, and may request a complimentary catalog at spectrumwine.com.

Liz Palmer
@champagnehouses

IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS INDIA WILL REACH ONE OF THE TOP TEN LARGEST CONSUMERS OF CHAMPAGNE ….says Daniel Lalonde of LVMH

Daniel Lalonde, Chief Executive of LVMH is in India for the first time. Being interviewed at the top floor of Delhi’s recently opened Leela Palace Hotel, he states: “India is acquiring a taste for Champagne. Not only is it the 27th largest consumer of Champagne in the world,” he says. “But I believe that in the next few years India can easily reach the top 10.”

India is doing its bit. A few kilometers south, at the F Bar nightclub, where Lalonde’s company has established a Dom Perignon lounge to promote its luxury Champagne. Indians flush with money frequently a few times a week and spend upwards of Rs35,000 a bottle on bubbly.

Liz Palmer
@champagnehouses

A WOMAN’S GUIDE TO CHAMPAGNE – some basics

[“This snippet is from a book I’m currently working on, and thought I would share it with you … I welcome your comments and suggestions.”]

BASIC ESSENTIALS

“A Girl’s Guide To Champagne” was developed for women to assist them in feeling confident in having some basic knowledge on champagne in a social setting, or identifying and choosing from diverse selections of champagne from a wine list or wine store. These can be daunting tasks for even the most fearless of women. Not now! This handbag-sized guide will arm you – yes, you – including the headstrong, adventure-loving, cocktail-imbibing, fashion-conscious women, with some basic knowledge on Champagne.

THE PRACTICAL PART

Not every wine that sparkles can be called champagne. True champagne comes from a special region in France located 90 miles northeast of Paris. Champagne has a legendary history, and has for many hundreds of years been part of many cultural events and historical traditions. This region has a combination of chalky sub-soils and cool climate, which produces the only grapes in the world that can yield the Champagne of legends!

Grape Varieties and Styles

The three primary grape varieties that that are used to make champagne are pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay. The dark-skinned pinot noir and pinot meunier give champagne its length and backbone, while chardonnay gives it acidity notes and biscuit flavour. There are several other grape varieties that are permitted for historical reasons, and are used occasionally.

Non-vintage

A non-vintage champagne includes a blend of grapes from several vintages. They also have a consistent style, and are made for immediate consumption. Most champagne is non-vintage. Only a few non-vintage champagnes will benefit from further aging.

Vintage

Champagne vintages are declared only for outstanding harvest years and are made from a single harvest year. The producers reserve their finest fruit for this style of champagne, adding to its desirability. Not every year is declared a vintage year.

Presitge Cuvées

This is a proprietary blend, the top of the producer’s range, and is most suitable for cellaring. The trend is that these champagnes come delivered in very expressive, distinctively-shaped, and labeled bottles. These champagnes are usually made with grapes from Grand Cru vineyards.

Blanc de Blancs

Blanc de blanc is a French term that means “white of whites”, and is used to designate champagnes made exclusively from chardonnay grapes. The blanc de blancs style is popular as an apértif due to their light, dry taste.

Blanc de Noirs

Blanc de Noirs is another French term that means “white of black”. This sounds like a contradiction, but it is not. What it tells you is that the champagne has been made only using black grapes. Champagne made from black grapes are typically full bodied with intense richness.

Rosé

Rosé champagnes are produced either by leaving the clear juice of black grapes to macerate on its skins for a short time or, the common method, by adding a small amount of still pinot noir red wine to the sparkling wine.

Sweetness (Brut to Doux)

In addition to classifying champagne styles, classifications are also used to refer to sweetness. The amount of sugar added after the second fermentation and aging varies and will dictate the sweetness level of the champagne.

• Brut Nature or Zero: 0 sugar
• Brut: dry, less than 1.5% sugar (most common)
• Extra Sec: extra dry, 1.2 to 2% sugar
• Sec: medium sweet, 1.7 to 3.5% sugar
• Demi-Sec: sweet, 3.3 to 5% sugar (dessert champagne)
• Doux: very sweet, over 5% sugar (dessert champagne)

THE FUN PART – TASTING

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, savour its aromas and define its dominant impressions.

Before you pop the cork, there are a few basic tips:

• Flutes 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

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?

Nose

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 odours range from hazelnut, raisin to dried fig.

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

Mouth

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!

Liz Palmer
@champagnehouses

Champagne Bar Launch: Archer Street – Billecart-Salmon Champagne Bar, London

Archer Street is the first exclusive “Billecart-Salmon Champagne Bar” in London, and will be South Soho’s best-kept secret, taking on the sophisticated style of a “members-only club” and open to all those “in-the-know.”

The luxurious, laidback lounging areas are set over two floors and dotted with comfortable velvet sofas and button-back armchairs. The upstairs bar features large French windows, distressed wood paneling and plush velvet stools. The downstairs area has a playful and après ski feel with reclaimed rafter board walls, stripy cushions, quirky mirrors, and a long bar covered in antiqued steel panels. Renowned Italian restaurant, Bocca di Lupo and the soon to open Firmdale Hotel are in the neighborhood.

Archer Street promises Pop-up entertainment every evening with singing and dancing waiters and bar staff. A calendar of special themed evenings has also been created.

A monthly soiree will also be a specialty at Archer Street, where celebrities are invited to host their own evenings in the bar, giving a percentage of the proceeds to their elected charity. Each invited host can choose the theme of the evening and select the play-list of the DJ as well as take a turn behind the bar.

Archer Street – Billecart-Salmon Champagne Bar
3-4 Archer Street, W1, 020 7734 3342
www.archerstreet.co.uk

Liz Palmer
@champagnehouses

Champagne Launch: Moët & Chandon’s Golden Premium Jeroboam… “Message ON a Bottle”

Lavishly wrapped in gold leaves and hand-gilt by French artisan Arthus Bertrand, each limited edition Golden Premium Jeroboam will come with a marked gold medallion and an Epernay wax seal. The traditional handcrafted Moet & Chandon ribbon is also part of the luxe bottle’s decoration. Moët & Chandon has made each bottle unique, by offering a special pen so the consumer can create a special moment of celebration. Personalization is very important in Moet & Chandon’s tradition, they have created numerous custom bottles for special events, including the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and the wedding of Grace of Monaco.

Liz Palmer
@champagnehouses