Let’s toast! This Friday October 23rd is Global Champagne Day! The sixth annual worldwide event will have Champagne lovers celebrating, toasting, drinking, blogging, reading, tweeting and commenting on all things Champagne. Tastings are being held at restaurants and wine shops around the world. Or better yet at Champagne house if you find yourself lucky enough to be in Champagne, France. Global Champagne Day events and info can be found #ChampagneDay or https://www.facebook.com/ChampagneDayOfficiel orhttp://www.champagneday.fr/
Genuine Champagne is only produced in the cool Champagne region of France – about 90 miles northeast of Paris. It’s a fabulous place to visit – intriguing, delightful, beautiful and full of history. And enjoying the preeminent Champagne at the source is tres magnifique! The lovely little city of Troyes (pronounced Twaa) may be the beating heart of Champagne. This city was once the region’s capital and an important hub on a trade route dating back to the Romans. Troyes offers historic churches and half-timbered buildings, fine restaurants and many Champagne bars too. On the other hand, the town of Epernay is the viticultural center of Champagne while the historic city of Reims (pronounced Hranz) is the region’s largest city, where many of the famous Champagne Houses are located. (25 ancient Kings of France were crowned in Reims) One of note is The House of Pommery with its deep limestone caves and its exquisite Cuvee Louise. Though the big brands are well known internationally there are also more than 4,700 “Mom and Pop” small Champagne grower-producers in the region such as the small but tasty Marion-Bosser based in the Hautvillers region. An elegant and delicious find.
“A single glass of Champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced; the imagination is stirred, the wits become more nimble.” – Winston Churchill
Top exporters of Champagne include: Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Piper Heidsieck, Laurent Perrier, Pommery, Mumm, Nicolas Feuillatte, Lanson, Taittinger, and Perrier Jouët. I thoroughly enjoy sipping anything by Deutz or the excellent under-the-radar bubby, Drappier’s Grand Annee. Crisp, properly effervescent with hints of stone fruit, this wine is one to seek out and try.
Of course you can’t go wrong with the classics like Dom Perignon or Pommery’s Cuvee Louise and the brilliant 2002 Champagne by Salon. And Delamotte’s Blanc de Blancs and Veuve Cliquot’s standard Yellow Label is just fine, anytime. Yet an all time favorite remains Krug’s Grande Cuvee. Bold, toasty and rich with a long, languorous finish. It is the quintessential, king of full bodied Champagnes.
People in France consume about 55% of all the Champagne produced, but the Brits are by far the largest importers of Champagne. In 2013 British customers bought 30.7 million bottles while the Untied States is second in imports, with some 17.8 million bottles enjoyed. Next in terms of Champagne importing countries are Germany, Japan, Belgium, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Spain and Sweden rounding out the top ten.
“Two warm bodies and one cold bottle of Champagne will produce something more wonderful than would happen without the Champagne.” – Helen Gurley Brown
So drink some Champagne – this Friday the 23rd – and everyday.
c. Bob Ecker 2015