The Store Tasting Collective do Sparkling & Champagne
The participants: The Margaret River Liquor Merchant Tasting Collective (S.L.S.T.C), guided by Charlotte.
The mission: Sparkling & Champagne tasting.
Time: Wednesday night
Place: Reputable Margaret River drinking establishment (upstairs)
When it comes to ‘bubbles’ – be it champagne or sparkling – there is a quote that instantly springs to my mind which I am fond of repeating when circumstances (such as tonight’s tasting experience) allow.
When a man [or woman] says no to champagne, he [or she] says no to life.
Now, like Samuel L. Jackson aka Jules in Pulp Fiction once remarked about a totally un-related quote of his own, I’ve been saying that shit for years. Unlike Jules though, if you ever heard it, it didn’t necessarily mean your ass. However like Jules again, I never gave much thought to what it meant. I just thought it was some cold-blooded shit to say to a motherfucker before I popped a cap in his ass.
Wait up, that was Jules.
Which is my recollection of the night’s proceedings.
Anyway, let’s delve.
Grandin, Loire, France. $18.99
A great little easy starter, Méthode Traditionelle, rich with ripe Chenin Blanc fruit and a little golden syrup on the palate. Elegant.
Driftwood Oceania Sparkling Brut, Australia. $15.99
Sourced with grapes Australia-wide, this is a simple and fresh sweetie, very pale straw in colour with some sherbet and guava notes, and a hint of pear on the nose. Delightful.
Vallee Du Venom, Pétillant Naturel, Swan Valley. $25.99
This is a natural, made from old, old Chenin Blanc vines. Plush and full, sweet but not cloying, this is also toasty with a dry backbone. An explosive gamble worth taking.
Marc Bredif Brut NV, Vouvray, France. $29.99
From the home of Chenin Blanc, this is bone-dry and super cool. A go-to for the French character. And as ‘appley’ and crunchy as Granny Smith herself!
Leeuwin Estate Brut, Margaret River. $35.99
This fine breed has the fine bead, as well as a great acid line, and crispness in its length. A more than serviceable pre-feast kick-starter.
Chandon Rosé, Yarra Valley. $34.99
Méthode Traditionelle. Another fine beaded steed with yummy textural berry notes and an overall weighty fruitiness. Expansive and a winner!
Vox Pop Sparkling 2017, Adelaide Hills, SA. $29.99
Méthode Traditionelle with 100% Pinot Noir. Some slight marzipan, a little brioche, and a picnic hamper of sweet fruits on offer, this happy wine is definitely one for the people!
Bay of Fires Sparkling Tasmanian Cuvée Brut, Tasmania. $37.99
Méthode Traditionelle. This little Aussie ripper is green gold in hue, with multiple layers of oyster, truffle and sea brine built in. A class act.
Louis Roederer NV, Champagne, France. $86.99
Donald Trump may make his own whine, but this is the Clinton family’s first choice. Is that brioche I detect on the nose? But of course! This is a delicately well balanced, eminently sessionable, a masterwork of finesse and taste. You have truly arrived in Champagne and have the best of all worlds with this one.
Vve Fourny & Fils, Blanc de Blancs Premiere Cru Nv, Champagne, France. $63.99
Another golden French breed. Same same but different. Characterful, and a definite classic example of the French arts.
Arras Grand Vintage 2008, Tasmania. $69.99
An odd bod. Peculiar. And all the better for it. We liked this funky little rock-star with its lemony snicket depths and X factor-ness. C’est très cool.
Vve Fourny & Fils Monts de Vertus Premier Cru 2009, Champagne, France. $94.99
With a nose bigger than Serge Gainsbourg, this is a toasty, creamy, brioche-y textural masterwork. Another quote from the night about this particular wine: if golden was a flavour…
And there we have it.
You say no to champagne, you say no to life.
Oh yes, regarding this quote, again, it is worth noting that it is not taken from a Voltaire or Proust or Baudelaire or any other great French philosopher or writer or poet. It is from a film. The Deer Hunter. Uttered by a French reprobate named Julien as he tries and tempts the lost and wandering battle-shocked Vietnam vet Christopher Walken to play Russian roulette for money in the seedy underbelly of Hanoi.
John ‘Jules/Julien’ G. – Settler’s Product Imbiber & Director of In-Store Tasting Observation Studies