“The Ultimate Guide To Champagne” Launch at Le Dokhan’s, Paris

14632893_1231555573576023_1853317179271174336_n-2“The Ultimate Guide To Champagne” was revealed and launched to a select group of industry people in Paris last week.

The event was held at Le Dokhan’s, Paris – which is Parisian Institution. This classic 18th century hotel features an elevator which is upholstered in vintage canvas from Louis Vuitton trunks; the Salon Cheminée, was a wonderful gathering space and was adorned with original engravings by Picasso and Matisse. How could it be so perfect!  Moving over to the Champagne Bar, it should be noted that, Bar Le Dokhan’s was the first Champagne bar in Paris to serve Champagne exclusively (this was mentioned in “The Ultimate Guide To Champagne”. With an extensive champagne list, Bar Le Dokhan’s currently offers 200 varieties of premium Champagne.

In attendance at the launch was Fabrice Martin, General Manager of Le Dokhan’s Hotel, Nicolas Manfredini, Co-fondateur Hachetag Agency, Paris and Matthias Breton, Head Sommelier.  They highly praised how beautiful the book looked and the extensive knowledge inside. Thumbing through chapters, sipping grower champagne, Liz Palmer gave a brief history of how the book came about and the chapter outlines.

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About the book:

There is much more to champagne than the drink – Champagne is named after the region where it is grown, fermented and bottled.  This essential guide takes you to this region, explores its culture and honours its history.

Unlike any other book about Champagne, The Ultimate Guide To Champagne is the most comprehensive and visually stunning guide you’ll ever come across – in these pages you’ll discover:

Over 220 Engaging Photos, Maps, Detailed Charts, and Historical Anecdotes

How to Explore the Region

Grape Varieties and Styles

Grand Marques / Growers and Cooperatives, The Annual Viticulture Cycle, Harvest and Production, Champagne and Food Pairing Guides

How to Cook with Champagne

Recipes from Champagne Families

How to Taste and Identify Flavors

How to describe and Rate Champagne

How to Shop, Store and Serve

Champagne Etiquette & Style

Tips for Weddings

International Champagne Bars

The Economics of Champagne

Health Benefits

Science Facts

Extensive Glossaries

and much more…

The Ultimate Guide To Champagne is highly 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 Champagne Bible for ALL wine lovers.

So pop open your favorite Champagne, pour yourself a glass, and start reading The Ultimate Guide To Champagne!

 

One of North America’s leading experts on Champagne, Liz Palmer wrote The Ultimate Guide To Champagne with a strong personal passion for Champagne and the region.

Amazon Books  : https://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Guide-Champagne-Liz-Palmer/dp/0991894634

 

Wine Review: La Crema Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2014

90/100
This is an impressive wine at price and production level; a great go-to for many occasions. This pinot noir delivers aromas of earthy notes, wild strawberry, with hints of red plum and rose petals, around a light, bright core; while remaining soft and smooth in texture and intensity; finishing with flavors of cherry, cola, and tea.

Vintages Release Date:  October 1, 2016

La Crema Winery
Sonoma County, California
Variety: Pinot Noir
Style: Earthy & Spicy
13.9%

Which Airline has the Best Wine? The Results.

Global Traveler, the only AAM-audited magazine for business and luxury travelers, has released their results of its 12th annual Wines on the Wing Airline Wine Competition.

The competition, held May 10, took place at INNSIDE New York Nomad. I was one of the judges who participated in the blind tasting of airlines’ white, red and sparkling wines. Before the tasting, I cleared my mind of bad experiences of on-board wines tasted at 30,000 – 40,000. The other judges hailed from the industry, including sommeliers, wine shop owners and winemakers.

The Process:

Airlines are required to submit five different wines — two red wines, two white wines and one sparkling wine/Champagne — to be eligible for the Best Overall International Business Class Wines on the Wing award or the Best Overall International First Class Wines on the Wing. This year, the overall winner in both categories was Singapore Airlines.

The Results:

In the white wine category, Best International Business Class White Wine was Paulo Laureano Reserva 2014, Alentejo, Portugal, submitted by TAP Portugal. For first class, the winner was Emirates with François Villard Condrieu de Poncins 2014.

The best business-class Champagne was Singapore Airlines’ Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV. The best first-class Champagne was a tie between British Airways’ Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle Grande Cuvée, NV; and Singapore Airlines’ Dom Pérignon 2006.

When it came to red wine, American Airlines reigned supreme in the business-class and first-class category with Monte Zovo Amarone della Valpolicella 2012, Italy, and Domaine de la Présidente, Cairanna 2013, Côtes du Rhône, France, respectively.

For the eighth consecutive year, Global Traveler awarded the Best North American Wines on the Wing. North American airlines submitted first-class and business-class wine samples, depending on their domestic flight offerings.

American Airlines swept the North American category, taking Best North American Wines on the Wing, and the awards for white, red and sparkling wines.

For the sixth year, Global Traveler awarded the Best Alliance Wines on the Wing. The participating airlines were divided by their airline alliance. The overall points for each airline were tallied and averaged to determine the alliance with the highest total. Congratulations to Star Alliance.

Competition director Eunice Fried spent months preparing for the blind tasting. Fried, an accomplished wine journalist and respected wine expert, resides in New York City.

Global Traveler is the only U.S.-based publication to conduct such a survey in the United States.

The top airlines in each category are:

BEST INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS WINES ON THE WING

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Delta Air Lines
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. Brussels Airlines
  5. Emirates

 

BEST INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS WINES ON THE WING

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. All Nippon Airways
  3. American Airlines
  4. British Airways
  5. Emirates

 

BEST CHAMPAGNE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

  1. Singapore Airlines
  2. Delta Air Lines
  3. Emirates
  4. Aer Lingus
  5. All Nippon Airways

 

BEST CHAMPAGNE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

  1. British Airways/Singapore Airlines (TIE)
  2. All Nippon Airways
  3. Emirates
  4. American Airlines

 

BEST WHITE WINE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

  1. TAP Portugal
  2. Fiji Airways
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. Delta Air Lines
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

BEST WHITE WINE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

  1. Emirates
  2. American Airlines
  3. All Nippon Airways
  4. British Airways
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

BEST RED WINE INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS CLASS

  1. American Airlines
  2. TAP Portugal
  3. Brussels Airlines
  4. Air Canada
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

BEST RED WINE INTERNATIONAL FIRST CLASS

  1. American Airlines
  2. All Nippon Airways
  3. Emirates
  4. British Airways
  5. Singapore Airlines

 

 

Women in Wine: Interview with Ann Sperling, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture, Southbrook Vineyards – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada

ann sperling-21

This week, I spotlight Ann Sperling, Director of Winemaking and Viticulture at Southbrook Vineyards – Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada.
Ann Sperling is arguably leading the charge on organic and biodynamic viticulture in Canada. She has become Canada’s foremost authority.

She has implemented organic certification at Malivoire’s Moira Vineyard (Beamsville) in 1999; has transitioned Southbrook Vineyards to biodynamic viticulture and winemaking in 2006, with Pro-Cert and Demeter certification in 2008.

Ann has also applied these concepts to various International projects including Sperling Vineyards (British Columbia) and Versado Wines (Mendoza).

Liz Palmer:
You have been Southbrook Vineyards’ Director of Winemaking and Viticulture since 2006 – what have been the highlights during your tenure there?

Ann Sperling:
There have been many milestones – we are Canada’s first Demeter vineyard, certified in 2008; also being granted Pro-Cert Organics (previously OC/PRO Canada Organic); and in 2012 we were recognized as “Winery of the Year” by InterVin International Wine Awards.

Liz Palmer:
When did you first become involved in organic and biodynamic practices?

Ann Sperling:
I grew up in Okanagan on the Sperling family farm that has been part of the family since my great grandparents, in the 1860’s. This is where I got my start.

In the early 1980’s I started working closely with growers and vineyard managers to make wines, and late in 1995 in Niagara I worked on start-up projects like Malivoire Winery which started organically and eventually biodynamic practices. For the past ten years (at Southbrook) I’ve had a strong connection with the vineyard and the land.

Liz Palmer:
What has been your greatest challenge as a winemaker to make organic and biodynamic wine?

Ann Sperling:
There are two things ongoing – we have continually have small production (damaged vines and nasty winters); and
What really needs to be addressed is that we receive little or no financial support federally or provincially for organic and biodynamic farming.
We are all self-motivated and find solutions ourselves – this is a good reflection on our team! We are very happy to be a sample.
There are some ongoing developments with Niagara Collage – they have a good understanding of what we are trying to do.

Liz Palmer:
Are all the vineyards in Southbrook organic/biodynamic?

Ann Sperling:
Southbrook’s first 75 acres were certified by Pro-Cert Organic Systems Ltd. (then OC/PRO Canada) in 2008. Our entire 150-acre property is now certified organic, including the hay and our sheep. Southbrook currently has one Demeter-certified biodynamic 75-acre vineyard.

The last two winters were the worst for growers and the production was small.

What we have come out with for 2016 is not an organic wine, but a “Seriously Cool” label which is an entry level, offering offering Seriously Cool Red and White.

Liz Palmer:
What are some of the most common misconceptions about organic/biodynamic wine?

Ann Sperling:
Consumers are now eating, drinking and recognizing the benefits to a healthy lifestyle and they don’t resist reaching for these products (biodynamic and organic wines and foods). It’s been positive and there has been an increase in sales.

Liz Palmer:
Are you finding any challenges related to climate change and global warming?

Ann Sperling:
Its been difficult to manage the radical swings in temperatures; especially the last two winters in a row.

Liz Palmer:
How closely do you work with the vineyard manager and team?

Ann Sperling:
Being Southbrook’s Director of winemaking, I oversee 150 acres of farm animals, forest and vineyards. I work closely with Scott Jones (Vineyard Manager) to oversee the activities; to see that they meet the standards, with the purpose of making the best wine possible. We’ve been working together for ten years.

Liz Palmer:
What are your winemaking goals in the next year or two?

Ann Sperling:
I also manage a winery with my sister, her husband and my niece in British Columbia; also own a small organic vineyard with my husband/winemaker, Peter Gamble in Mendoza. I’m looking at stylistically more age-able wine; producing clean fruit; watching current trends; creating elegant wines with more texture, and whole-cluster fermentation in all three locations.

Liz Palmer:
How do you maintain a work/life balance?

Ann Sperling:
I don’t…. but, I do have some flexibility at Southbrook. With travelling to three different places my children, and husband Peter Gamble understand my work. My husband works in the same industry – we help each other out and we are both passionate in what we do.

Liz Palmer:
What advice would you give to young women who want to pursue a career in wine?

Ann Sperling:
Women have always been involved in the wine industry and they have had many challenges along the way. Nowadays women have opportunities at every level: winemaker; managing a vineyard; and education. There are lots of opportunities with lots of like-minded people. You do have to put in lots of time and just wait for the right opportunity to advance to the next level in your career!


www.southbrook.com
@SouthbrookWine

Southbrook Vineyards
581 Niagara Stone Road, RR4
Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario
L0S 1J0 Canada

Fleur du Cap Wine and Artisanal Salt Pairing – A Unique Experience

FdC-CabernetSauv-Beef South Africa’s critically acclaimed-chef Craig Cormack has teamed up with Fleur du Cap winery to create specially designed dishes, which are seasoned with unique salts and perfectly paired with award-winning unfiltered Fleur du Cap wines.

Just as there are regions for wine growing, there are also regions for salt. Craig has sourced out black lava salt from the volcanic rock pools of Hawaii, the sea and desert of South Africa’s arid West Coast, Khoisan and Oryx Desert salt, pink Murray River Salt from Australia, and rare Persian Blue Salt from rock crystals.

Craig explains the process: “One of the challenges when pairing salt and wine is to create food that will enhance the wine without dominating it. The natural process of crafting Fleur du Cap wines by allowing the style inherent in the grapes to guide the winemaking team, works particularly well with unrefined, artisanal salts, reverting back to nature in both the food and the wines.”

Some of Craig’s pairings include: Merlot paired with Beef Carpaccio paired with Kala Namak Salt; Chenin Blanc paired with Pizzadeliere paired with Caviar Salt; Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Salted Beef paired with Oryx Salt; Pinotage paired with Salted Peanut, Chocolate and Banana Mouse paired with Peruvian Salt, amongst others. Each dish has a unique salt profile which, when paired with Fleur du Cap wine, brings out the complex flavours of these varietals.

Situated in the hart of Stellenbosch wine country, Fleur du Cap vineyards reflect the rich biodiversity of the Cape Floral Kingdom. One of only six such plant kingdoms in the world – home to over 9,600 plant species.

“Our wines are crafted with nature in mind based on our winemaking philosophy of Regional Excellence”

My favorite pairing
Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Salted Beef paired with Oryx Salt

Oryx Salt
South Africa; natural white unprocessed and sundried; trace minerals

Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Tasting Notes

Complex flavours of blackcurrant, blueberry with hints of violets and mocha; integrated oaking adds firm tannins, which give a long finish.

Blend
100% Cabernet Sauvignon

Food Suggestions
This complex wine is the ideal accompaniment to fillet of beef and roast lamb but goes equally well with rich, robust dishes and strong cheeses.