Grower Champagne direct from the Vigneron
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Spinning Chardonnay at Veuve Fourny
Hello <<First Name>>, time to stock up on some winter reading and maybe hang something nice on a wall.
Champagne musings
April is a busy time in the Champagne region with many tastings held by various Vigneron groups. Ten years ago there was just the one group 'Terres et Vins'. Now the event is called 'Printemps des Champagnes' with over twenty groups. 2017 vin clairs were on show from many vignerons and big houses too. The quality of the vin clairs is startling to say the least. There were superlative expressions of great terroir focussed wines. And sadly there was rubbish. I can understand why. 2017 had problems with rot. A lot of rot. If you followed all the advice that the CIVC gave about rot treatments, dates, precise quantities, specific types etc. and the pickers were diligent to remove/discard any rot you could minimise it. Many biodynamic producers had no rot whatsoever. If you were lazy, and postponed a 'Sunday treatment' until Monday, you got caught. Some journalists have jumped on the poor quality of 2017. I visited a top vigneron in the Cote des Blancs during 2017 harvest who was pressing grapes for a big house at the time. Many growers press grapes for big houses on a contract basis. I saw many many baskets of average looking black grapes with a lot of rot. But as usual, the vigneron has the final say, and there will be some great 2017's produced. Many journalists also jumped on the quality of 2010's and 2011's. 2010 could have rot - but again, if you followed all the correct advice you could minimise it. 2011's can have green vegetal overtones mainly caused by uneven ripeninng by picking too early. 2011 was one of the earliest harvests on record - August - and many vignerons panicked in the blistering heat and picked early to be safe. The late pickers made some of the best wines of their careers.

There are some interesting Champagne books on the market, two of which are Gourmand Book Competition winners.

A newly released mammoth book is Gert Crum's - 'Champagne - The Future Uncorked'. This book contains newly revised and updated maps of all the important vineyard lieux-dits and in depth profiles on many of the top houses and growers. 2nd place in 2018 Gourmand best wine book award. Gert is an accomplished prolific author. Available for $150.

Michael Edwards in the 'The Word of Fine Wine Issue 58' wrote a great review on this new book. Read it here.

And of course we have our own Adelaide's Kaaren Palmer's definitive text book bible on all things Champagne with much emphasis on 'style and tasting'. Winner of the Best in the World Gourmand book award 2017.  Available for $140.

Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year
Pink Lady run the worlds most prestigious Food Photography competition, one of the categories is Wine Photography sponsored by the massive Chilean wine company Errazuriz. I have been fortunate to win the overall competiton in 2015 and 2018, with second places and numerous Highly Commended awards over the years. Many of my photos hang in numerous locations in Melbourne. Restaurants, Lawyers, Doctors, Dentists and private collectors. Wine specific images can be found with vignerons here and in France. Bindi, Hoddles Creek, Champagne Veuve Fourny, Champagne Voirin-Jumel, Champagne Vazart Coquart, Champagne Jacques Lassaigne and Champagne Selosse. I have had numerous requests to purchase these images. Images are only available as archival canvas prints and generally in large sizes. The header email image is this years winning photo taken at Champagne Veuve Fourny - Chardonnay being pressed. Images are all limited editions of 10. You can see more at my photo website here. Three sizes are generally available depending on image. 91cm x 137cm ($1000), 100cm x 100cm ($800) and 71cm x 107cm($650).

Pickers during 2016 harvest.

 Emmanuel Lassaigne disgorging Champagne.

Cleaning out the Pinot Noir tank at Bindi Vineyards.

Anselme Selosse discussing terroir.

Pinot Noir being pressed at Hoddles Creek Vineyards.

Pickers on a very steep hill in Cramant.

The world is Pinot Noir.

Bubbling Chardonnay at Bindi.

Just crushed Pinot Noir at Bindi.

Filling the barrels at Champagne Benoit Marguet.

Pressing the Gris at Hoddles Creek.

Morning fog at Bindi.

Pickers in Chaumuzy - Champagne region.

Victor Pugatschew


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