Top Five Airport Lounges

Cathay Pacific’s “The Wing” at Hong Kong International Airport, Hong Kong

43,000-square-foot open-air space; private cabins with bed and shower; full-service day spa; complimentary WiFi; four restaurants, and a library.

British Airways First Class Concorde Room at Heathrow Airport, England

Full-service lounge with Swarovski crystal chandeliers; members-only personal concierge; Elemis Spa; a champagne bar and private cabanas-hotel-style rooms with a day bed, and en-suite bathroom.

Air France l’Espace Premiere Lounge at Charles de Gaulle International Airport, France

Clarins massages, a business center; and a complementary champagne; prior to departure, members make their way to their plane by chauffeured Mercedes.

Lufthansa First Class Lounges at Frankfurt Airport, Germany

Upscale spa with exotic treatments; “quiet rooms” with enclosed leather day beds and Bang and Olufsen music systems; a cigar lounge and six shower rooms. Members make their way to their plane in a Porsche Cayenne.

Qatar Airways Premium Terminals at Doha International Airport, Qatar

Members are greeted by a porter who will take their bags; free nanny service and Wii consoles are available; full spa services are available and Qatar Airways provides secretarial services.

’90 Dom Pérignon Rosé Œnothèque Pairs With Riedel Pinot Noir Vinum XL

Glasses are definitely a key part of wine tasting. Finding the right glass for each individual wine could well be the hobby of many wine geeks, still for me it is also crucial to provide the best possible experience to Dom Pérignon lovers. I have always had a friendly relationship with Georg Riedel, born of our mutual esteem. The Riedel family business, established in 1756 in Bohemia, is known worldwide for its high-quality crystal glasses: their Burgundy Grand Cru crystal glass, handmade and mouth-blown, is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Last August I had the visit of Maximilian Riedel (Georg’s son, representing the 11th generation of the family in the glass business) who came to me with a large selection of stemware: our aim that day was to find the perfect glass for Dom Pérignon Rosé, a glass that would do justice to the wine by presenting it in the best conditions for appreciation. It would have been possible to create a specific glass for this Champagne, but I preferred to choose from the existing collection. At the time I also had the upcoming 1990 Dom Pérignon Rosé Œnothèque in mind. I settled on the Pinot Noir Vinum XL, which is not so surprising given the assertive Pinot Noir character of Dom Pérignon Rosé. This fantastic glass really shows the wine in an uncompromising way, especially on the palate.

The first aspect that grabbed our attention was the intensity of the nose and how the wine could breathe in the glass. Second, I felt it put the fruit right at the center of the tasting experience without compromising the complexity of the aromas. Third, it rendered the right expression on the palate, especially the amplitude and texture, both of them fundamental qualities of Dom Pérignon. And incidentally, I could only appreciate the lyre shape of this glass that resonates with the Oriental theme of the Silk Road dinners!

Richard Geoffroy
of Dom Pérignon

Valentine’s Day – Pairing Wine with Chocolate

When pairing wines with chocolate for Valentine’s Day match lighter, more elegant flavored chocolate with lighter-bodied wines; likewise, the stronger the chocolate, the more full-bodied wine.

White Chocolate
White chocolate tends to be mellow and buttery in flavor, making it ideal for Champagne, Sparkling Wine, Orange Muscat or Sherry.

Milk Chocolate
The classic milk chocolate pairing is Port; other considerations are lighter-bodied Pinot Noir or Merlot, as well as Riesling, Muscat, and of course Champagne or Sparkling Wine.

Dark Chocolate
Dark or bittersweet chocolate need a wine that offers a slightly robust flavor itself, with a hint of its own chocolate notes. Cabernet Sauvignon and intense, in-your-face Zinfandel perfect the dark chocolate match, resulting in an unparalleled tasting combination. Also Pinot Noir, 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 dessert or truffles.

My Pick for Valentine’s Day
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé, Champagne (Mareuil-sur-Ay, France) This non-vintage brut rosé is delicate and is impeccably balanced and guaranteed to have your taste buds singing.

Both Champagne and fine dark chocolate are two of life’s greatest pleasures. There is nothing quite like a popping the cork on a perfectly chilled bottle of bubbly and digging into a box of exquisite dark chocolate in front of a roaring fire with your Valentine while the snow falls outside.

Liz Palmer
Wine and Travel Writer

Champagne and 2010

In choosing Champagne for 2010 celebrations the amount of dosage added after the second fermentation as well as aging dictates the sweetness level of Champagne. The label sets out the level of sweetness as follows:
• Brut Natural or Brut Zéro (less than 3 grams of sugar per liter)
• Extra Brut (less than 6 grams of sugar per liter)
• Brut (less than 15 grams of sugar per liter) [most popular]
• Extra Sec or Extra Dry (12 to 20 grams of sugar per liter)
• Sec (17 to 35 grams of sugar per liter)
• Demi-sec (33 to 50 grams of sugar per liter)
• Doux (more than 50 grams of sugar per liter)

Champagne Etiquette
Champagne should be served in a flute-shaped glass. The stem allows you to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the Champagne. The bowl is designed to retain carbonation, by reducing the surface area at the opening of the bowl. Champagne is to be served between 43 to 48°F (7°C). In this range the smell and taste of the wine can be fully appreciated.

Top Champagnes:
Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne
Monet & Chandon Imperial Champagne
Pol Roger Brut Champagne
Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut Champagne


Is for you to have
12 Months of Happiness;
52 Weeks of Fun;
365 Days of Success;
8760 Hours of Good Health;
52600 Minutes of Good Luck, and
3153600 Seconds of Joy.

Liz Palmer

Bubble Love

CHAMPAGNE has launched thousands of ships, toasted billions of weddings, special occasions, and special moments between two people – Champagne is the wine of celebration. No other wine is associated with joy and festivity. Its meaning is truly universal.
TAKE TIME IN 2010 to share with people you care about in the celebrations of your life with this historically powerful glass of “bubbly love” we call Champagne!
Champagne is a sparking wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of the wine to effect carbonation; this is the most important stage of the process. Méthode Champenoise is the traditional method by which Champagne is produced. After primary fermentation and bottling, a second alcoholic fermentation occurs in the bottle. This second fermentation is induced by adding several grams of yeast and several grams of rock sugar. For years where the harvest is exceptional, a millesimé is declared which means it matures for at least 3 years. During this time the Champagne bottle is sealed with a crown cap similar to that used on beer bottles.

The Region
Champagne is produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France, from which it takes its name. This region has the chalky soil and the overabundance of sun needed to grow the three varieties of grapes, which are: Chardonnay which provides the freshness and elegance; Pinot Meunier brings fruitiness and aromas; and Pinot Noir gives the body and structure. There are five main regions within Champagne where these varieties are grown, and where the houses source these varieties that will influence the quality and style of the final product. The most northerly region Montagne de Reims Pinot Noir is mainly planted. Wines produced here are firm and austere. The Côte des Blancs is the mostly east-facing region and is south of Epernay. Chardonnay is mostly planted here, and produces a wine much less harsh than the Montagne de Reims. The Vallée de la Marne region runs west-east, and is planted with all three grape varieties. Further south is the Côte des Sézanne which is primarily Chardonnay country, and finally the Aube, the southernmost of all five regions where Pinot Noir is mostly planted.
The Champagne Cycle

From winter until August, the gardeners are actively pruning, disbudding, paling-up and trimming. At spring time, gardeners fear late frosts. The grapes are gathered by hand to preserve them. Vintage takes place between June and September, depending on the climate, the Champagne and the vintage.

History and Celebration

Champagne first gained world recognition with the anointment of French kings. Royalty from throughout Europe spread the message of the unique sparkling wine from Champagne and its association with luxury and power. The leading manufacturers devoted considerable energy to creating a history and identity for their wine, associating it and themselves with nobility and royalty. Through advertising and packaging they sought to associate Champagne with high-luxury, festivities and rites of passage. Their efforts coincided with an emerging middle class that was looking for ways to spend its money on symbols of upward mobility. Nowadays, Champagne remains the celebration drink. For special ceremonies, a sabre can be used to open the bottle. Champagne is also associated to sport events such as Tour de France, Formula One, even Sailing, wherein the Champagne bottle is broken to inaugurate or at the end of a race.

Four Varieties

They each have their own unique character and each pair with different foods.

Les Champagnes de corps, intense and powerful with some of spices and red fruits. It goes with foie gras, osso- buco or fowl.

Les Champagnes d’esprit, delicate and light, has vegetable and citrus fruits notes. It goes with fish, shellfish, cheese, ice cream and sorbet. It is usually served as an aperitif.

Les Champagnes d’âme, mature and rich contain hints of delicate spices. It goes well with lamb, pies, desserts and also at tea time !

Les Champagnes de coeur, contains scents of cinnamon honey and brioche. They are often rosé or half neat.

Health Benefits

Research from the University of Cagliari has shown that moderate consumptions of Champagne will help the brain cope with the trauma of stroke, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. The research further noted that the high amount of the antioxidant polyphenols in sparkling wine can help prevent deterioration of brain cells due to oxidative stress. Good news, isn’t it? Warning: Be careful, Champagne should be consumed in a reasonable manner.

Champagne Etiquette
Champagne must be served in a Champagne flute. It is always served cold with drinking temperatures of 7 to 9 °C (43 to 48 °F). Often the bottle is chilled in a bucket of ice before opening for about 20 minutes.

Ontario Prices

LCBO Champagne prices range from $50.00 to $3,995.00 (1995 Clos D’Ambonnay Champagne from Krug 750 mL).

Why don’t you write us with your 2009 Champagne experiences in how you “indulged in bubbly love”? (published in a future issue).

Champagne Cocktails
Champagne Mimosa
1oz Orange Juice
3oz Champagne
In a tall flute glass, first pour the orange juice, then the Champagne. The Champagne is thicker and will mix down into the OJ. The key is not to stir – you don’t want to lose the bubbles.

Champagne Bellinis
6oz Champagne
1 peach, pureed
Puree one fresh peach, and put into a tall flute glass. Note: you can use 3 shots of peach nectar add in Champagne. The key is not to stir – you don’t want to lose the bubbles.

Liz Palmer, wine writer and soon to be author of:
Unique Boutique Champagne Houses