October Champagne & Sparkling Tasting

Wednesday 14th October saw our second Finest Bubble tasting at Frederick’s Restaurant in Islington. Guests arrived promptly to enjoy an enviable line up of Champagne including a couple of newbies to the range including Champagne Gosset and a Premium Sparkling wine from English producer Hattingley Valley.   Many of the brands were able to send along a representative to help us to pour the wines and to answer copious questions on what we were enjoying.  Now as much as I enjoy and enjoyed all of the wines on offer during the night, I really don’t have the time here to tell you about each and every one, so I have chosen a few highlights to give you a flavour of the evenings delights.

As guests entered the room, on their left was the Laurent Perrier range, including of course their infamous Laurent Perrier NV Rose.  Of the three Champagnes on offer, (in my humble opinion) the stand out wine on the table was the Laurent Perrier Vintage 2006.  It had incredibly elegant, light  fresh flavours on the palate with a lovely delicacy to it, yet the flavours lasted for ages in the mouth…. Delicious!

On to the next table and guests were able to sample the newcomer to the Finest Bubble range a Prestigious Sparkling wine from Hattingley Valley Vineyards situated between Basingstoke and Winchester (hopefully closer to Winchester!), in the South of England.  Here the Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvee was the star of the night, an elegant, svelte and super pure wine with aromas of hedgerow flowers and a characteristic toastyness on the finish…..yummy.

Moving on around the room and another addition to our list – Gosset Champagne (one of the oldest Champagne houses in existence today) had four styles of wine to tempt us with.  Here it was a toss up between the complex Millesime 2004 and the stylish Celebris 2002, both amazingly intense styles of Champagne from incredibly highly rated vintages, showing a broad spectrum of toasty, brioche and floral notes on both the nose and the palate……lush!

At the back of the room and nearly half way round the tasting, the family run house of Louis Roederer were displaying three of their range for tasting.  Whilst the Louis Roederer Brut Premier is always a reliable and delicious non-vintage, the most notable wine and a great conversation piece was the Brut Nature with a label designed by the great Philippe Starck.  A bone dry Champagne with pear and citrus aromas, very pure and extremely moreish!

Next door the LVMH table with Dom Perignon 2006, absolutely scrumptious, Krug Grand Cuvee, a show stopper and the delectable Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2004.  My personal favourite on the night was the Dom Ruinart, I love the fine quality of the Chardonnay fruit, a feminine style of Champagne with a real touch of class!

Charles-Heidsieck was the next port of call with four beautiful wines on offer.  It was a close run thing between the Brut Rose 2006 and the Millesime 2005, with the 05 just sweeping in at the end to clinch it for me.    Rich, fresh and lively, this wine showed a depth and complexity with a  lemony finish……divine!

Nearly there, just two tables to go!  Bollinger a slightly larger table greeted guests as they are the official Champagne for the latest Bond Film Spectre and to commemorate this they have release two unique presentation packs of which both were on display.  My recommendation on the night was the Bollinger La Grande Annee 2005, which was rich in flavour with an abundance of toasty brioche and developed fruit flavours….gorgeous!

Last but by no means least Pol Roger, the only house to bring along both a bottle and a magnum of the same vintage (2004) to enable guests to compare.  It was incredible to see the difference aging in bottle and magnum has on the wine, (if you didn’t know any better you would think they were different wines)!  The Star was most definitely the Magnum of Pol Roger 2004, an absolute winner!

Thank you Matt, Frederick’s General Manager for helping make this work so well and providing those excellent canapés.

Photography by Matt Martin