The Ultimate Guide to Champagne is now available at La Cité du Vin’s “Reading Room” as a Champagne Reference

I’m honoured to announce that my book “The Ultimate Guide to Champagne” is now available at La Cité du Vin’s “Reading Room” reference library under the category of “Champagne Books”.

La Cité du Vin’s “Reading Room” is an area open to everyone, offering a wide selection of literary, historic, artistic and anthropological works relating to the world of wine. Here you will discover more than 1,200 key works in 16 different languages for reference use.

La Cité du Vin is a unique cultural venue in Bordeaux, France, devoted to wine as a cultural, universal and living heritage. It offers amazing experiences around the world, throughout the ages, and across countless cultures and civilizations. You can book tickets on their website www.laciteduvin.com and onsite.

About “The Ultimate Guide to Champagne
The Ultimate Guide to Champagne takes you through, chapter by chapter, to find out everything you need to know about the wonderful world of Champagne. With original photography, illustrations, charts, maps and a Champagne Tasting Cheat Sheet — this is an essential book for Champagne lovers.

The book consists of 22 chapters covering everything from the region’s history and viticulture, to tourism information, gastronomy and even health benefits.

The book is recommended for everyone, from beginners to experts. It’s a remarkable point of reference into which any wine-lover or professional can dip in and browse.

The book is available on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Guide-Champagne-Liz-Palmer/dp/0991894634 and private events.

Japan Overtakes Germany in Champagne Export Market

Japan has overtaken Germany in export volumes of champagne for the first time in history, according to recent data provided by Comité Champagne.

Japan imported 12.8m bottles between 2016-17, which is a 21.3% increase on the previous year, leapfrogging them above Germany into third place.

“Over the past 20 years, Japan has produced 3,000 sommeliers and the country has a real passion for champagne,” said Vincent Perrin, deputy direct general, Comité Champagne.

“Japan has a strong distribution network and benefited from the free trade agreement announced with the EU.”

The US remains the number one for exports in terms of value, with more than half a billion Euros recorded in 2017, however the UK imported almost 28m bottles over the same period, a global high despite recording an 11% decrease in volumes.

Perrin adds: “There is an uncertainty with the UK due to the effects of Brexit, however the French economy is in a good place so we’re expecting big things for 2018, specifically in the on-trade.”

China grew 76.7% in terms of volume in 2017, the largest increase globally and the country is now ranked 15th in the world.

“These are promising signs from China, but I think they need educating on wines that aren’t Bordeaux reds before they become truly influential,” said Perrin.

Harrods sets new standards for drinks retailing

Harrods new wine and spirits shop is part of a multi-million pound investment in food and drinks retailing at the London department store

The shop can be found within the basement of Harrods that forms part of a wider overhaul of the department store’s food and drink offering dubbed ‘The Taste Revolution’.

Designer Martin Brudnizki has created the space to be inspired by the Art Deco opulence captured in The Great Gatsby to be elegant and glamorous.

Brudnizki – who was responsible for the look of famous restaurants such as The Ivy and Sexy Fish.

With marble flooring and limed oak shelving, the look and feel of the new area was carefully done to create something “quite homely and accessible”, as well as a space that “talked of the history of Harrods; talked of an iconic British brand”, said Gerard, noting that wine and spirits was the second department ever created in the life of the store, following its origins as a tea house.

While the materials give an impression of opulence, the scale of the new shop, which covers around 8,000 sq ft, is accentuated by its layout over a long, low-ceilinged space, featuring a series of interconnected rooms, allowing one to look through the store from one end to the other, with features that lead the eye into the distance.

Putting aside the overall impact, it’s the detailing of the drinks shop that really impresses. Chilled, glass-fronted cabinets called ‘Hero Shelves’ contain the finest wines in the range, while all the lighting is screened in such as way to prevent the emission of damaging heat or ultraviolet rays.

Within these cabinets are constantly circulating flows of air to keep the wines at the perfect temperature and humidity, and there’s even a whole room of these transparent containers for magnums and even bigger bottle sizes.

“We have always had a really good range of large formats, but before, they weren’t displayed with authority,” said Gerard.

Bespoke cradles are also used to hold display bottles at an angle of 27 degrees, which, Gerard told db, is the optimum slant for visual effect that still allows the wine to remain in contact with the cork – which is of course necessary to keep the stopper wet.

Then there’s the overall temperature of the space, which is kept at a constant 18.5 degrees Celsius, in contrast to the old drinks shop, which was at 20 degrees C like the rest of the department store (although this former area did contain at ‘fine wine vault’ chilled to 17 degrees C).

Considering the new shop, like its predecessor, is housed in the lower ground floor of Harrods, why was the decision taken to move it to a different part of the same level?

Gerard explains. “With our old location we were effectively landlocked, whereas now there are 12 different ways of approaching the shop, so we are much more accessible, and there are five separate openings leading into the area.”

But the other main reason to move and create a completely new drinks shop within the department store is “to revolutionise the concept of fine wine retailing,” according to Gerard.

Aroma tables guide shoppers through the flavours of each grape

Continuing, he said, “Often the experience of buying fine wine is too high-brow and intimidating, so you don’t attract the aspiring amateurs…. We wanted to create an environment that would deliver the exclusive service of Harrods to everyone.”

Helping Harrods in this endeavour is the educational element within the new store.

Throughout the space are ‘aroma tables’ featuring trumpet-like devices that, with the squeeze of a rubber bulb, like an old-fashioned perfume sprayer, delivers the trademark smells of key noble grape varieties, from Chardonnay to Syrah and Pinot Noir.

The shop also includes two private tasting areas, one devoted to delivering wine education in partnership with the WSET, and the other acting as a consulting area for clients looking for specialist advice.

There is also a spirits room where, unusually, the labels are arranged by style, and this leads into a special area devoted entirely to the retailing of Louis XIII Cognac by Rémy Martin.

Beyond this is one of the most notable new developments for London as a whole, and that is the creation of a walk-in humidor and ‘cigar sampling’ room.

While the former allows customers to store cigars in special lockers that can be rented for £3000 per year, the latter is the first space in the UK to use a special smoke-filtering system to ensure you don’t step out of this basement space smelling of tobacco.

Developed in Switzerland, the Airkel air-filtration system ensures the sampling area is subject to a constant flow of air that strips the room from any smoke, but also your clothes – effectively washing everything free from the aroma-giving particles.

Also, one can consume any drink bought in the wine and spirits to complement your cigar, and there’s no extra ‘corkage’ charge.

Furthermore, all wines bought in the shop can be drunk in any of Harrods restaurants for £30.

So, what about the wine range in the new space? Gerard told db that it runs to 1,400 different lines, augmented by a further 600 spirits. While the wine range isn’t significantly larger than it was in the old shop, he has made a lot of changes, and says there are as many as 400 new lines, and, in terms of price, the current range goes from £9 to £28,000 a bottle.

“We are now direct to source, because we want to always offer perfect provenance… the prevalence of forgery and fakes out there is scary, and Harrods has to have the stamp of authenticity,” he remarked, adding, “But it’s not just about forgery, but getting the wines to the customers in the right condition.”

“There is a lot happening at Harrods, and we are going through our biggest development in the 180-year history of Harrods, which we are calling ‘the taste revolution’. And we are doing this because the food and wine business is at the heart of this business.”

The most expensive single bottle of wine in the new shop is a Riesling! Hailing directly from the cellars of Egon Muller – a Trockenbeerenauslese (TBA) from the producer’s famous Scharzofberger vineyard in Germany’s Mosel-Saar-Ruwer region.

Source: Drinks Business UK

Chateau Palmer 2017 Released

Chateau Palmer 2017 has been released at €192 per bottle ex-negociant, down 20% on the 2016 release price of €240. It is being offered at a recommended retail price of £2,350 per 12×75, a decrease of 18% in sterling terms on the 2016 release of £2,880 per case.

James Suckling scored the wine 97-98 points and described it as a “sexy and well-formed 2017”. James Molesworth was also full of praise and awarded the wine 92-95 points. In his tasting note, he said that Palmer 2017 “stands out from the pack”.

Prices for Palmer are 63.6% correlated to Wine Advocate score. Based on today’s release of £2,350 per 12×75, the wine would need to receive a score of 96-97 points to be considered fair value.

Buyers looking for value may consider the 2012 vintage. The wine received a score of 96 points from Robert Parker and is available at a 20% discount to today’s release. Top vintages with several years in bottle can also be found at a small premium to the 2017.

Palmer Alter Ego was released at €48 per bottle ex-negociant, down 2% on the 2016 (€49).

Source: www.liv-ex.com

Beer and food pairing potential hailed by top chef

Beer is becoming an increasingly popular accompaniment to meals and one of the world’s best chefs has given it his endorsement. 

A Global Data report shows that 47% of consumers find the concept of pairing food and beer appealing, leaving it behind only wine in terms of popularity.

Joan Roca, chef of Girona’s three Michelin-starred El Celler de Can Roca – twice voted the world’s best restaurant – told DRN: “Beer gives diversity and complexity and it is being used more in our pairings. 

“Beer has so many opportunities because of its soft palate flavour, and it is bitter and sweet at the same time. This makes it versatile and it can be used with so many different pairings.

“I don’t think it can ever replace wine in our Mediterranean cuisine, because our culture has a very long tradition with wine pairing and not beer, but Estrella pairs very well with tapas and that is a big opportunity.”

Estrella has teamed up with Roca to produce a Food & Drinks Trends report, which, among other things, highlights the growing use of botanicals in drinks. The chef was in Manchester to present his ideas at a gastronomy congress.

“I like working with Estrella not only because it’s Catalan, but it does things well,” said Roca. “It supports the gastronomy business and it’s very refreshing. ”

James Healey, Estrella Damm’s UK manager, added: “Gastronomy is a key focus for Estrella Damm and we celebrate beer’s place as the ideal beverage for pairing or cooking across a multiplicity of foods and dishes. 

“Working with the talented and creative chef Joan Roca this year has identified transparency and the wellness of our planet as key trends for 2018, which is very exciting for us, in line with our own business ethos, and a key opportunity for food and drinks businesses in the UK. 

“Estrella Damm has been brewed using local Mediterranean ingredients and the original recipe since 1876, so it’s great to see that knowing where your food and drinks come from is becoming important not only to us and restaurateurs but also to consumers.”

Marston’s now distributes Estrella in the UK after buying Charles Wells last year, and it sits alongside Erdinger and Kirin in an intriguing world beer portfolio.

The brewer’s insight executive, James Hodgkinson, said: “Although mainstream lager dominates the category, it is world beer which remains the category success story. 

“Consumers are discovering and becoming attracted to more premium, less ubiquitous brands, drinks with an authentic image and unique taste profiles which differ to other lagers. 

“It is also becoming a credible premium beverage to accompany quality meals, as opposed to an affordable drink for relaxation. 

“This can be done via premium packaging, positioning as a connoisseurs’ drink or greater focus on taste notes and how they can improve foods or food’s flavours.”

Source: http://www.drinksretailingnews.co.uk/