Glass of bubbly? Don’t mind if I do…
There’s something properly luxurious about a really good glass of champagne. And here in Herts, we’re lucky enough to have our very own Champagne importers – Gémeaux. Karen and Ian Dibbs have been visiting the Champagne region since 2008, bringing its eponymous export back with them, and they’re committed to discovering Champagne producers you might not normally find this side of the Channel.
I love the idea of exploring, like they do, and discovering independent growers and producers – of which there are hundreds – then bringing them back to share with customers over here. Love that variety.
And this month, their enterprise was noticed by one of the dragons from the Dragons Den, Theo Paphitis. Karen and Ian were invited up to Birmingham to meet Mr P himself, and to receive their ‘Small Business Sunday’ award in person.
Purely with your best interests in hearts – of course – I’ve asked Karen and Ian to recommend 5 of their current champagne faves. And they all sound delicious.
Champagne Vollereaux Brut Rose (£28.95)
This Rosé De Saignée Brut is made from the maceration of Pinot Noir grapes – a traditional method that results in a fruity, full-bodied Champagne with lots of red fruit flavours – and aged for 3 years. It goes perfectly with smoked salmon – or with red fruit based desserts in the summer (if you can wait that long).
Champagne Romuald Brognion Brut Prestige (£28.95)
Proper bubbly, this one. You’ll smell pears, citrus, gingerbread and brioche – and taste lemon verbena, honey, almond and hazelnut. It’s a Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay blend, and it’s beautifully delicate – after ageing for at least 5 years.
Champagne Vincent D’Astree Brut Zero (£29.50)
Brut Zero is a Champagne in its purest form. It’s delicious before dinner, and a perfect accompaniment for fish or poultry. Think white and yellow with this one – peach, pear, white blossom – with a flinty edge. And there’s no added sugar. (That makes it’s practically health food, right…?)
Champagne Collard Picard – Dom Picard Blanc de Blancs 100% Chardonnay (£41.85)
Bit of a jump in price, but so worth it. The grapes used in this multi-award-winning Champagne comes from vineyards classed Grand Cru, so it’s made only from the best of the best! If you’re a chardonnay fan, you’ll love this one. It’s a great pre-dinner drink or goes brilliantly with seafood. It’s aged for years in oak caks, and will the nose is all pears, plums and fresh oak.
Champagne Sécygné – La Cuvée Splendeur – The Champagne Wine (£95.00)
Ok, so this one’s a bit of a treat. They start with more than forty-year-old vineyard plots, on the best soils of the Champagne area. Then they combine 2 very special grape varieties: pinot noir grand cru from Mailly-Champagne, and chardonnay premier cru from Rilly-la-Montagne. Then, they take them from what were 2 exceptional harvests: 2008 and 2009. Then, as if that wasn’t enough, the riddling is all done by hand. Golden colour, thousands of fine bubbles, and a nose full of apricot, peach and raspberries. And each bottle comes with a gold-plated muselet and label, and a tin overcap, carefully handcrafted and placed by hand, then it’s placed carefully into its own individual case. Absolute luxury.