Crisp and Refreshing Summer Wines

Once summer starts, our desire to find crisp and refreshing quaff for entertaining has us scrambling to the local liquor store. The thought of drinking a glass of heavy red now feels just that – heavy! Syrah? Super Tuscan?. Cabernet Sauvignon? Too heavy – plodding along like a palate attached to an anchor! So, what are we left with? Start with crisp acidity, throw in low alcohol content and then mix vigorously with lighter fruit flavors. The end result is a wine that delights the senses and dances across the taste buds.

Here are some favorite summer varieties when the temperature heats up:

1. Old standby: Chardonnay (oaked or unoaked);

2. Most popular: Sauvignon Blanc;

3. Ubiquitous Pinot Grigio;

4. Sexy and sumptuous: Riesling;

5. Hot now: Grüner-Veltliner;

6. Most versatile: Rosé;

7. Bubbles: Champagne, Prosecco, Franciacorta, and others

There are many other great summertime varieties. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box such by giving lighter red wines a slight chill. Guidelines as to the best summer wine will be your own!

Cheers; Prost; Skaal; Santé; Salud; Yung Sing; Sláinte; Slaandjivaa; Eis Igian; Okole Maluna; L’chaim; Cin Cin and others…

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer

Bubbles With Altitude – Champagne Taittinger’s Recent Bubble Experiment

Champagne Taittinger recently carried out an experiment in their hot air balloon into the effects of altitude on bubbles in Champagne. The balloon soared to 10,000 ft, its highest UK ascent, to study the size and speed of bubble formation at different altitudes and to taste the effect of altitude on flavor delivery. After initial sampling of five Taittinger Champagnes they were then sampled again at 2500ft, 5000ft, 7500ft and 10,000ft at wind speeds of up to 12 knots. The most obvious difference uncovered was that the bubbles got much bigger at higher altitude. Sensory Food Scientist, Margaret Everitt, who took part in the experiment, commented: “I thought that, irrespective of the individual Champagne, the overall aroma seemed to lessen and become softer with altitude. This might be due to the fact that, although the larger bubbles give an initial surge of aroma as they release the volatile compounds within them, the aroma is not maintained in the same way as with a steady stream of finer bubbles. The cooler temperature at higher altitudes, plus the fact that we were moving, may also have affected perception of the nose.”

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Lanson is the Official Champagne of Wimbledon

Champagne Lanson celebrates 250 years this year having been founded in 1760. As one of the few houses still producing in the original “non-malolactic” style that was once the norm in Champagne. Lanson has been proudly sponsoring Wimbledon since 1977.

Sign up for your free copy of Champagne Lanson’s 250th anniversary Little Black Book of Champagne at www.lansonlittleblackbook.co.uk.

Champagne Lanson
12 boulevard Lundy – B.P. 163
51056 REIMS CEDEX – FRANCE

Tel : (33)3 26 78 50 50
Fax : (33)3 26 78 53 99

The Fairmont Nile City just launched a new Champagne Bar

The Fairmont Nile City has a new Champagne Bar with a fabulous little trio, led by singer Princess Soi-Soi, and a list of killer cocktails.

Whether it’s pre-drinks for Tamarai (a bar at the Nile City Towers) or an after work gossip session, Fairmont’s new Champagne Bar is the venue for extravagance. What better way to network than over a tall glass of bubbly love and a cheesy pretzel snack.

If the bar’s opening last night is any indication, there really is no better way. A gathering of PR and entertainment folk with a penchant for a good party, the Champagne Bar inauguration was lacking only in seating.

Reactions were positive – with the venue coming into itself as a casual chat spot for stiletto sporting execs.

As an expert eavesdropper, reported comments included, “the service is impeccable,” “the pianist is great,” and “the champagne is delicious…. what is this?” On the other hand, there seemed to be a general feeling that the Champagne Bar is small – meaning it will never be a ‘hang out’ – if it was ever meant to be.

The Fairmont staff has really gone out of its way for the life of the lobby side spot and with all the positive feedback, maybe they will consider picking a bigger area of the hotel to magnify their efforts for a larger and more permanent crowd.

Almasryalyoum
Cairo, Egypt

HOW TO READ A CHAMPAGNE LABEL

Champagne labeling laws differ from other parts of France because the entire region falls under a single AOP, the protected term ‘Champagne’ and the wines are categorized according to styles rather than designations. Here the status of the producer is more important than the vineyard sites.

To distinguish between the numerous different styles, Champagne labels use a range of terms as described below.

* Level of sweetness:
o Ultra Brut – Bone dry or very dry
o Brut – Dry
o Sec – Literally dry but has higher sugar level than Brut
o Demi-sec – Medium dry
o Doux – Sweet

* Non-vintage: A Champagne made from a blend of wines from different years.

Some Champagne houses may use up to hundred reserve wines from previous years to produce a consistent house style.

* Vintage: A champagne made from a single year’s harvest. The label must show the year of the harvest.

* Blanc de Blancs: This term on the label means that the Champagne has been produced entirely from white grapes, in other words, Chardonnay.

* Blanc de Noirs: Refers to Champagne made from black grape varieties (Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier).

* Rosé: This is often made by blending a little red wine with whites.

* Grande Marque: Means ‘Great Brand’. A producer may use this term but according to AOP rules does not guarantee quality or any style.

* Cuvée de Prestige: These are the top-of-the-range releases from the Champagne houses and may come with a vintage on the label. Some examples include ‘Dom Pérignon’ from Moët et Chandon, ‘Cristal’ from Louis Roederer and ‘La Grande Dame’ from Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin.

* Marque d’Acheteur: Means ‘Buyer’s Own Brand’. These are often seen on Champagnes sold within a retail or supermarket chain that sells them using their own brand name.

Apart from these there are other non-mandatory terms that may appear on the label that specify type of Champagne producers, maturation time etc.

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