Birthday bubbles in Brum
Is there a better pairing than celebration and Champagne? There is one person I know who is a true believer in the combination; that’s my Mum! In fairness, Mum doesn’t need an excuse to open a bottle of fizz providing the day ends in day, but she reached a landmark last weekend so I decided to arrange a landmark tasting in her honour.
Ten of us got together to celebrate the event in Birmingham. It was quite a few years ago that I went to university in the city (I went to Aston; the really good one!) so knowing where to go could’ve been a tough challenge. Luckily for me, I’ve met a lot of great people through writing this blog. One of those is Matt, who I met when I swapped a bottle of Pichon Baron 2006 for a bottle of Penfolds St Henri 2003 as part of his fantastic #wineswap quest. Matt worked at Loki Wine & Tasting Room in the heart of Birmingham for a while and put me in touch with Loki’s main guy, Phil. Good call!
After a few emails we agreed on a series of sparklers that would dazzle and delight. We chose bottles from Italy, England and a couple of French regions, finishing with something very special for a very special lady. The staff at Loki looked after us brilliantly and it was fantastic to see the place so busy and buzzing – I can’t wait to return and try some of the 24 wines available from the enomatic machines. But this visit was all about the bubbles…
Drusian DOCG Prosecco Superiore NV (@ £15)
I often find Prosecco just a little one dimensional – it’s a party wine… and there’s no harm in that at all! The Drusian has lots of Golden delicious, pear and a touch of tropical, sweet fruit. Lovely and lively mousse. 89 points
Moutard Diligent Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé NV (@ £15)
If you’ve been following #newwinethisweek then you’ll know that Cremant is France’s secret pleasure. This offering from Burgundy is made from 70% Pinot and 30% Chardonnay and is simply amazing value for money. Strawberry upfront with a funky rhubarb note and a creamy, yeastyness – like a cream horn with strawberry sauce! 91 points
Camel Valley Brut Pinot Noir Rosé NV (@ £35)
I am always blown away by the beautifully elegant wines from Camel Valley – we really should stand up and shout about them more! This delightful rosé tastes like crushed strawberries and raspberries with in a delicate flaky pastry nest; so light and fresh and truly tastes like a glorious British Summer’s day. 91 points
Ruinart Rosé NV (@ £35)
I’m a huge fan of Ruinart fizz, especially the Blanc de Blanc but this one slightly disappointed (only me it has to be said!). The bottle ageing is more obvious with yeasty brioche notes upfront. It’s a little lacking in fruit for me but the red berries are there, just slightly out of balance. 88 points
Dom Perignon 1999 (@ £125)
This is my first try of Dom Perignon and I want more! So complete – luscious and creamy with apple and lemons, beautifully integrated brioche and beautifully velvety texture. It’s like a baked apple pie and custard and the taste keeps on going. I’ve never experienced a sparkling wine with such balance and it’s fair to say that even in the un-fancied 1999 vintage, DP really shines through. (The DP even got the approval of my critical sister Hayley; “smells like cat pee” she said… certainly didn’t taste like it!) 95 points
It was always going to be a challenge impress a woman who doesn’t travel anywhere without a pair of Champagne flutes in her baggage. I think we did a great job – even Madame Bollinger would approve:
“I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes, I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it if I am; Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”