As a wine journalist, I try to remain objective in my assessments. However, my taste, as well as yours, is individual, influenced by genetic factors as well as a lifetime of taste experiences. Following my wine writing you’ll get the hang of what my taste is like. In short, I value fruit purity and intensity, authenticity, liveliness and aging potential.
Regardless if you share my taste, I try to make my wine judging useful to you. I assess the wine as an entirety, drawing you a holistic picture of what is the essence of its aroma, texture and structure. In order to make the wordy descriptions universal and exact, I have chosen to use the 100 point scale. However, as I find potential too vague to give points to, I rate the wines based on their current drinkability.
Additionally, one must never underestimate the power of situational factors in tasting wine. Good company, mood, atmosphere, food, as well as stories will make any wine show its best. Both knowledge and emotion may enhance enjoyment when it comes to wine.
My recent articles
In the new issue FINE Champagne nominates the first ever Champagne Personality. Our unanimous vote went to Richard Geoffroy, the guardian and cellar master of Dom Pérignon! Read his story in full in the magazine.
Find also my article and Richard Juhlin’s column about the shipwrecked champagne treasure, the nearly 180-year-old champagne found in the depths of the Baltic Sea that reached a world-record price at the recent champagne auction in Åland.
Could you imagine drinking champagne up in the treetops? If yes, find my article about Perchingbar – a champagne bar built up in the trees!
Celebration Champagne article leads us to the all-time wedding champagne – Dom Pérignon 1961, which was the choice of Charles and Diana in 1981.
Fine Champagne is starting to publish extracts from my new champagne book – Matka Champagneen (Discovering Champagne), you can find the first extract about what to do and see in the city of Reims in this issue!
Subscribe this spectacular FINE Champagne issue at www.fine-magazines.com.
I was amongst the privileged to taste today two bottles of some of the oldest existing champagnes in the world. Entire 168 old bottles were resqued this summer from a sunken schooner wrecked in the archipelago of the Åland islands in Finland. Until yesterday, the wines were identified as Champagne Juglar. However, when a group of experts recorked a batch of bottles last night, several Veuve Clicquot non-vintages were identified, which the Veuve Clicquot experts dated back to the 1830s. Champagne Juglar, on the other hand, was bought by Jacquesson in 1829, leading Jean-Hervé Chiquet of Jacquesson to believe the wine was born close to that period.
It is really a story book tale. Such a number of perfectly preserved bottles in the depth of the sea. Having tasted before the oldest existing bottle in Champagne, Perrier-Jouët 1825, these wines corresponded very well to the style and quality of that perfectly stored bottle. Sweet in style, bright golden in colour and honeyed and toasty in aromatics, both the wines were very much alive and remarkably fresh. The Juglar was more harmonious and complete with Veuve Clicquot’s aroma being overwhelmingly pungent and smoky but the palate retaining a freshness and an immense concentration.
FINE Champagne Magazine, the only international publication devoted to champagne and a renowned industry authority, announces its list of the “100 Best Champagnes for 2011”.
The magazine’s editorial team assessed over 1000 champagnes that are now available on the markets. After a three-day blind-tasting of the top 200 champagnes the panel selected 30 champagnes that were blind-tasted again in the finals in Reims, Champagne. In the tasting, the most important criteria were the quality of the wine and the champagne’s accessibility today. When the results were tabulated, the top ten included many familiar names but the unanimous first place winner was Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002.
“Since 1976, the House has only released 8 vintages of Rare: 1976, 1979, 1985, 1988, 1990, 1998 en Magnum, 1999 and 2002,” says Régis Camus, chef de caves and chief winemaker at Maison Piper-Heidsieck. “Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002 was my first Rare vintage so I am particularly honoured to hear that it has been selected as the number one champagne in the world by FINE Champagne Magazine.”
The full 100 Best Champagnes ranking can be read in the FINE Champagne Magazine coming out at the end of November. From January onwards the 100 Best Champagnes for 2011 will be available as an iPhone application.
TOP 10 Champagnes for 2011
1. Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002 95p
2. Dom Pérignon Rosé 2000 95p
3. Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 1995 93p
4. Charles Heidsieck Vintage 2000 93p
5. Louis Roederer Cristal Rosé 2002 93p
6. Ruinart Dom Ruinart Rosé 1996 93p
7. Dom Pérignon 2002 92p
8. De Saint Gall Grand Cru Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs NV 92p
9. Veuve Clicquot Vintage 2002 92p
10. Chartogne-Taillet Fiacre NV 92p
The second anniversary of FINE Champagne Magazine is celebrated with a festive double issue. We explore champagne in the sky, pondering what altitude does to the taste of champagne and also reveal the airlines that serve the best bubbles. We join Champagne Lanson at the house’s 250th anniversary at Versailles, and accompany Dom Pérignon Rosé 1959 in a journey back through history to the 2500th anniversary of the Persian Empire. Our producer profiles include Jacquesson, Barons de Rothschild and Cédric Bouchard. We also serve you our selection of the 100 Best Champagnes of 2011!
Out in two weeks’ time. Subscribe at www.fine-magazines.com.
Free to download now from iTunes shop!
Welcome to view the best Champagnes to drink today chosen by the world’s only Champagne magazine.
Champagne can boast a most rare combination: its greatest wines are blessed with an ageing capacity that is second to none. On top of that, due to the custom of blending and prolonged ageing on the lees, champagne is one of the few fine wines that is so delightfully pleasurable at the time of release. Indeed, most champagnes are consumed right away, meaning they are rarely given the option of reaching their absolute peak. As some need remarkably more time than others, FINE Champagne Magazine went through the rigorous process of naming and ranking the 100 best champagnes that bring the most enjoyment today.
During several blind tasting sessions throughout the past year, we analysed over 1000 champagnes of all styles and price levels, from non-vintages to prestige cuvées.
“No champagne ages”, I was recently told by a reputable champagne house’s director. “Non-vintages are ready to drink when brought on to the market”, is a much repeated marketing slogan of many producers. This is all wrong, I am afraid. Champagne is one of the longest-lived wines in the world that requires and benefits from ageing as much as any great wine.
Rhythmic waves of the chequered flag mark the end of the race. The crowd immediately starts invading the racetrack to witness the victory celebrations on the podium, following last year’s Formula 1 Italian Grand Prix in Monza. The fans’ wait is soon rewarded, as the top three drivers enter the stage: Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button of Brawn GP and Kimi Räikkönen of Ferrari.
I relish the moment of opening a wine bottle, the impatient wait for the first look, smell and taste. The finer and older the bottle, the more excitement and expectations cumulate. However, there is a big difference between a fervent wait for exploring the wine’s qualities and trepidation over the bottle’s condition. It’s the latter situation I wish to eschew.
Dwnload the complete article (.pdf)
When guided to the table of even a casual restaurant one is more and more often greeted by a well thought-out setting, crowned by beautiful, spacious and functional wine glasses. However, all too often the promise of a dining fairytale comes to a sudden end when the aperitif champagne is served.
I was reminded recently by the small producer Champagne Chartogne-Taillet, that it is not only the Grande Marques who can be innovative. For a few years already I have been aware that this quality-oriented grower from Merfy possessed some rare, non-grafted vines. In the past, these grapes were always blended in the house’s prestige cuvée Fiacre. However, in 2006, Champagne Chartogne-Taillet decided to bring these grapes to the fore and make a unique single vineyard Pinot Meunier from the special pre-phylloxera vines. With the wine’s launch now underway, I eagerly visited Chartogne-Taillet, to be among the first to taste it.