TOP CHAMPAGNES IN BUSINESS AND FIRST CLASS – announced last month at The Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky Awards

The Business Traveller Cellars in the Sky Awards have been running since 1985, with a record number of 36 airlines taking part this year. Blind tastings took place over two days on November 4 and 5 at the Grosvenor House, London, with five judges independently scoring. The judges included:

• Charles Metcalfe, TV wine presenter and co-chairman of the
International Wine Challenge;

• Sam Harrop, Master of Wine and winemaking consultant;

• Derek Smedley, Master of Wine for more than 40 years,
consultant and co-chairman of the International Wine Challenge;

• Peter McCombie, Master of Wine, accredited tutor for the Wine and
Spirit Education Trust and consultant; and

• John Worontschak, leading winemaker and wine business development
consultant.

Business Class Sparkling

1. Qatar Airways – Laurent-Perrier Grand Siècle 1996;

2. Etihad – Henriot Blanc Souverain;

3. and
4. (JOINT) British Airways, Qantas and Singapore Airlines –
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve AND LAN – Louis Roederer Brut Premier; and

5. Jet Airways – Dom Pérignon 2002.

First Class Sparkling

1. Qantas – Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1999;

2. United Airlines – Henriot Brut Millésimé 1996;

3. (JOINT) Qatar Airways, All Nippon Airways and Cathay Pacific –
Krug Grande Cuvée;

4. Thai Airways – Bollinger 1999; and

5. Malaysia Airlines and Jet Airways – Dom Pérignon 2002.

Participating Airlines:

Aer Lingus, Aegean Airlines, Air Astana, Air Canada, Air New Zealand, Alitalia, American Airlines, All Nippon Airlines, Austrian Airlines, British Airways, Brussels Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Delta Air Lines, El Al, Etihad, Emirates, Finnair, Gulf Air, Iberia, Jet Airways, Kenya Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Korean Air, LAN, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Oman Air, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swiss, South African Airways, TAM, Thai Airways and United Airlines.

Liz Palmer

GLOBAL – Champagne sales rise in 2010

Global Champagne sales rebounded in 2010, but demand failed to surpass the levels of 2008, according to trade body Comité Interprofessionnel des Vins de Champagne (CIVC).

Champagne sales rose by 9% in volume to 319.5m bottles, the CIVC said today (9 February). The figure confirms a rebound in demand for the category, following a sharp drop in demand at the peak of the global financial crisis.

Global sales by value increased by 8% to EUR4bn.

The biggest Champagne houses look to have led the recovery. Champagne group Lanson-BCC said today that the Champagne houses, rather than individual producers, saw collective export volumes increase by 20% in 2010.

However, industry volumes remain below those of 2008, when volumes reached 322.5m bottles. The 2008 figure, too, represented a 5% drop on 2007 volumes.

In contrast to the excess supply of Champagne in many markets during the financial crisis, the industry could face shortages in 2011. Both Vranken-Pommery Monopole and Moet Hennessy have warned in the last couple of weeks that supplies will be tight if the sales momentum continues.

Their comments will likely put pressure on the CIVC to relax its cap on grape harvests, put in place in 2009 in order to bring supply into balance with demand.

Just Drinks

7Numbers – An Interactive Italian Feast

Food and wine are certainly an interactive experience at 7Numbers. This popular southern Italian family-style trattoria is one of the first restaurants in Toronto to digitize its menu and wine list with iPads.

7Numbers has made the paper-technology shift to “reduce carbon emissions and to provide customers with a more interactive menu and wine list” says Vito Marinuzzi, chef/owner.

Once seated in this intimate and cozy restaurant a staff member promptly hands you an iPad and provides you with a short intro on how to navigate through the menu and wine list (traditional paper menus are available for those not comfortable with technology). I found that within seconds I can skim through the offerings, which include enticing specials and recommendations. The wine list is loaded with descriptions, and ratings by top wine critics. These tablets are not only interactive but are also searchable. I placed my order and within seconds it goes directly to the kitchen and to the bar station for drinks.

There is quite a bit of energy and excitement at other tables – a lot of passing the tablet around, in a collaborative sharing sense. The iPad is cool and trendy – kids love it! Not only does it enhance the dining experience it encourages both sharing and engaging.

The Wine List

Vito personally selects for both restaurants and is the custodian

The list is updated daily

50 bottles on the list and 5 by the glass

25% Canadian wines which are sourced locally
(7Numbers has received the 2010 VQA Restaurant Award of Excellence)

75% Italian wines – Vito sources out eclectic and unusual finds

“Big, heavy reds are back”, says Vito. He highly recommend a Primitivo from Puglia (which comes from 60-year-old vines)

7Numbers is not another Italian restaurant; it is a very different venture and immensely exciting! Go on, live dangerously and explore this new technology while enjoying delicious southern Italian food!

http://www.sevennumbers.com
516 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto – (416) 322-5183
307 Danforth Avenue, Toronto – (416) 469-5183

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer

STRATEGIES ON PAIRING CHOCOLATE WITH WINE – HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR PALATE TO THE FULLEST

There are some key points of similarity between chocolate and wine. Both chocolate and wine are made from fruit (chocolate from the cacao pod) and (wine from grapes). The flavor and aroma yielded by both the cacao pod and the grape are a function of their rootstock, soil, climate, and weather conditions. And both chocolate and wine are both made from a blend of beans or grapes, each with distinct flavor profiles.

There is some skill involved in pairing the right chocolate with the right wine. And yes chocolate and wine do complement each other! Follow these strategies and you will be able to engage your palate to the fullest – just think of pairing the most exotic chocolate truffle with a glass of vintage Bordeaux!

White Chocolate

White chocolate tends to be mellow and buttery in flavor, making it ideal for Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Fruity Chardonnay, Orange Muscat or Sherry. These styles of wine will pick up on the buttery, fatty tones in the chocolate

Milk Chocolate

The classic milk chocolate pairing is Port; other considerations are lighter-bodied Pinot Noir, Merlot, Riesling, Muscat, Desert Wines, Brut Champagnes or Sparkling Wines. Watch out for the high sugar levels in milk chocolate as these can cancel out the fruitiness in reds

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate (50% to 70%) needs a wine that offers a slightly robust flavor such as Cabernet Sauvignon and intense, in-your-face, Zinfandel – this dark chocolate match results in an unparalleled tasting combination. Other choices are Pinot Noir and Merlot. Champagne and sparkling wine can handle dark chocolate around the 55% cocoa mark. Tawny or Vintage Port also offers a well-balanced pairing approach to dark chocolate. Note: some reds have their own chocolate notes – in taste and nosing

Bittersweet Chocolate

Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%) enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Chocolate gourmands adore this range of taste, so the wine should live up to it. Excellent choices are Bordeaux, Beaujolais, Shiraz, Orange Muscat, Port, Malbec, and Zinfandel

SOME CONSIDERATIONS

Champagne generally works well across the chocolate spectrum yet some Champagne are high in acid and can react poorly with your chocolate choice.

The perfect pairing balances sweetness, fruitiness, and acidity—and your own flavor preferences!
While it creates a challenge to find the perfect suitor for a box of assorted truffles; it also makes it fun to seek your favorite pairings.

THE FUN PART

IN TASTING
• First take a sip of the wine
• Then take a piece of the chocolate and let the heat from your tongue melt the chocolate – avoid biting
• Followed by another sip of wine
• Engage your palate to the fullest, and
• Indulge in your senses

Liz Palmer,
Wine and Travel Writer