Tag Archives: champagne

On Christmas Day my wine rack gave to me a magnum sized bottle of GH Mumm

Presents. Food. Wine. Wine. Wine..

The final wine in the advent wine calendar is a bottle of GH Mumm. The equivalent of 2 bottles, the magnum sized bottle provides enough bubbles to have with Christmas dinner, and then some.

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I wonder what’s inside?!

 

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The bottle of Mumm at the dinner table!

 

Merry Christmas All!!

Until next time winos,

cheers!

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On the Seventeenth day of Christmas my wine rack gave to me a Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco

Yep, you’ve guessed it. Welcome to another sparkling Saturday!

Moving away from France and on to Italy, where it’s home to the Prosecco.

Prosecco is a great, and cheaper, alternative to champagne.
Why? Champagne comes from the champagne region in France, and can place a high price due to the high demand for it.
Prosecco is more widely available, and the process of making the wine is most cost effective, with the second fermentation of the wine occurring in stainless steel barrels.

The Dal Zotto Pucino Prosecco is a winner. Best of all it’s Australian produced. This Prosecco comes from the King Valley which is where many Italian immigrants settled back in the 1880’s. It’s in this location that’s quite similar to the growing conditions for many Italian varieties as it is in Italy.

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The DalZotto Pucino Prosecco has light bubbles, with pear and apple flavours. A creaminess to the wine, it finishes off crisp and dry.

A great way to spend your Saturday is having a Prosecco in the Park. What more could you want with a glass of bubbles in hand, sun shining, and hanging with a great bunch of friends!

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Until next time winos,

Cheers

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On the eleventh day of Christmas my wine rack gave to me a sparkling water

Sparkling wine Saturday has now passed. For Sunday, the sparkling wine now turns to sparkling water.

With 25 days of wine, it’s only sensible to break up the month with a glass of hydrating, and refreshing sparkling water.

If the water on its own is a little bland, add a splash of cordial. My pick is the Bickford’s Ginger beer.

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Until next time winos

Cheers

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On the third day of Christmas my wine rack gave to me a Jansz Brut Vintage

Day 3 in the Christmas wine advent calendar.

A Saturday night is one of those nights where a nice sparkling wine is in order, and a great drink to take to a Christmas party. 

This sparkling wine is one for the ladies to get those heels on for, and for the gents to throw on that shirt.

A Jansz Tasmania 2010 Vintage Cuvee

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There’s a few varieties in the Jansz range, including a Premium Cuvee, a Premium Rose, Vintage Cuvee, a Vintage Rose plus a few more.

The Vintage Cuvee is a good ‘middle of the range’ sparkling from the Jansz range. It’s silky, smooth and creamy, with a freshness to it that will make you want to pop another bottle!

Using the classic method of making sparkling wine (dare I say it, Champagne style), the conditions that this wine is grown in,is similar to that of the Champagne region.

Hope you enjoy!

“Very pale gold with a delicate bead. Aromas of lemon curd and white flowers with underlying hints of freshly baked brioche and clotted cream. Elegant, layered and powerful with creme brûlée notes and candied citrus peel.” http://www.jansz.com.au

Until next time wino’s

Cheers

 

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Dom Pérignon, THE bubble man. The story of Champagne

 

If there’s one man we need to thank in this world, it has to be Dom Pérignon. This 18th century monk is THE bubble man that created and founded champagne. The best thing about this story is that it was all by mistake!

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THE bubble man and I

Back in the day, monks from the Abbey of Hautvillers (where Dom Pérignon came from) worked on the vineyards to produce wine. Even though the monks were making wine, their wine making reputation of Pinot Gris and Chardonnay wines were not so good.

Dom Pérignon wanted to change this, and revamp the wine that was being made. His aim was to make it a more enjoyable drink – As all wine should be!

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The Abbey

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Inside the Abbey

Being in charge of the cellars, Dom decided to implement a few changes to the wine making process….

He introduced an oak wine press from the Burgundy region

Instead of foot stomping the grapes, the oak press extracted the white juice from the red grapes through a soft, slow press – something that had never been done before!

He introduced Pinot Noir to the region

This variety is one of the key grape varities in the Champagne mix – Chardonnay, Mourvèdre, and Pinot Noir

He was the first to mix grape varieties together

Talk about a match-maker master!

He was the first to put wine in a bottle!

A crystal see-through bottle in fact!

This was a big development in the ‘World of Wine’. Being able to see the bottle contents meant that you didn’t have to worry about whether it had poison in it.

People were so brutal back then!

He also made the bottle a flat bottom bottle. This too meant that it prohibited people from popping explosives in the base of it. Again, so brutal!!

He was the first to put the cork in a wine bottle

Dom brought this innovative technique to Champagne from Belgium where they corked beer bottles.

To produce the cork, cork trees were then planted in the Champagne region. Not sure about you, but when I hear cork trees, all I can imagine is a tree growing little wine bottle corks on it.

 

How the magic happened

While Dom Pérignon was in the process of making wine, it was during the 2nd fermentation where all the magic happened.

When the yeast and sugar mixed, the wine started to produce carbon dioxide, and as a result 18% of the bottles exploded. This was due to the sheer pressure built up inside the bottles from the carbon dioxide. Whoops!

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Hooray for mistakes!

With such a strange occurrence happening during the wine making process, the townsfolk thought it was the workings of Satan.

While there were still some bottles in the mix that didn’t explode, they decided to taste them and boy where they surprised! It’s been claimed that they felt like they were drinking the stars. This iconic moment is featured on the label, with the one star.

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Notice the star on the label?!

While you’re probably thinking they were drinking the champagne as we know champagne today, back then it was a very VERY sweet syrupy wine – 400g of sugar with bubbles on top to be exact. That’s 2 cups of sugar in a bottle!! Talk about a sugar hit. Most fortifieds have only a quarter of that sugar content.

So how did champagne become what we know it as today?

There were many great influencers over the years following Dom Pérignon.

Madame Clicquot (Verve Clicquot)

A century after the discovery of Champagne, Madame Clicquot didn’t want to wait until dessert to drink the sweet wine. She discovered that the yeast and sugar could be shifted to the neck of the bottle by conducting a rotation of the bottle, slowly moving the bottle to sit upside down – known as riddling.  She discovered this process from placing the bottles in the holes of her table.

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An example of what her table would have looked like! So much wine!!

Once she completed the riddling process, the top of the wine bottle was frozen and the sugar and yeast was removed – known as disgorgement. The wine was then topped up with more wine. This process also made the wine a lot more clearer.

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Thanks Madame Clicquot

 

Madame Pommery (Pommery)

In 1874, Madame Pommery decided it was still too sweet and reduced the wine sugar content even further from 150g to 10g

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Madame Pommery didn’t like the sweet life

 

While Dom was not necessarily behind the Champagne we know today, he is the king of the blend and technique of Champagne.

I take my hat off to him, if I was wearing a hat, and thank him for giving us this bubbly goodness we pop to drink for special occasions, and just to enjoy a glass of those sparkling stars.

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RIP Dom Perignon

A couple of fun Dom facts

The world’s most expensive bottle of Dom Pérignon is €2000

Every Dom Pérignon is a vintage wine, meaning that the bottle comes from the best grapes from the region in one year. If the Dom Pérignon is not a good vintage, it then off it goes to Moet and Chandon.

 

Until next time winos,

 

Cheers

 

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Champagne – Where sparkling dreams are made

If you follow me on Instagram (@tipthebottle), you would have seen my many insta-posts of Champagne bottles, me in amongst Champagne vineyards, me drinking Champagne…

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Yes, I went to Champagne. Yes, I absolutely loooooved it!

Tripping to Champagne has been one of the best experiences of my life. With so much history and insight in to the Champagne making process, it has made me more knowledgeable on the sparkly drink, and appreciative of the amount of blood, sweat, and tears that go in to one bottle. Actually, it’s really not blood, sweat and tears that go in to Champagne, it’s three grape varieties (and always these three grape varieties) Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay all sourced from the Champagne region in France. This is what makes Champagne, Champagne.

My learning experience of Champagne all kicked off with a full-day guided tour with France Bubbles Tours.

Our tour guide was Amanda. Amanda was a local from Reims, which is located in the Champagne region. She really demonstrated her knowledge of the region, and was dropping little Champagne truths all throughout the day.

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Tour guide Amanda dropping her Champagne truths

So I thought I’d share some of these little truths with you:

The Region

  • Everyone in the Champagne region will have some sort of involvement with a Champagne house – from growing the grapes, to selling the grapes to Champagne houses.
  • The Champagne region experiences approximately 250 days of rain. That’s a lot of rainy days in one year!
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Each of the houses had a Champagne sign out front. I need one for my place!

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Passing through a Champagne village

The Vineyards

  • Because of the climate, Champagne vines are grown compact and close to the ground. This protects the grapes from the frost, and cold wind.
  • It’s hard for a Champagne house to be organic, as they need to treat and protect the vineyards from disease.
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Champagne that grow close together stays together 🙂

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The Champagne grapes – Not yet to harvesting stage – still growing

  • There’s no irrigation, which means that the vines will compete with each other to get as much as they can from the earth. Because of this, the roots go deep into the ground.
  • The Chalk in the ground provides the vines with much of what they need to flourish.
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The side of the hill shows just how much clay is below the surface

  • Each Champagne house will source from a Cru based on the climate and terroir. The sourcing for each grape variety needs to be from one Cru. What’s a Cru you ask? In Champagne, a Cru is a village. The Champagne quality is linked back to the Cru, which essentially is the quality / terroir of the villages’ vineyards. There are different levels of quality, with the top one being a ‘Grand Cru’. A Grand Cru Champagne is a Champagne that has been sourced entirely from one village that has been classified as a Grand Cru. These grapes have a hefty price tag attached to them, which is why you will see a ‘Grand Cru’ Champagne fetch a high price tag.
  • At some wineries they replant some of their vineyards every 30 years. This keeps the grapes young, which can then be blended with old vines. If a winery replants their vines, they need to wait 1 year before replanting, plant, then wait another 4 years before they can begin harvesting. Good things come to those who wait I guess!
  • There is a limit that the Champagne growers can pick each year. In fact, some wineries try to sell off their grapes (illegally) to other wineries.
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Now that’s a view!!

 

The Bottles

  • The best years for Champagne in the 2000’s so far have been 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008. While the best wine years have been 1996 and 1998. You’re welcome 🙂
  • The corks that are squeezed in to a Champagne bottle are also from Champagne – Everything about Champagne has to be from Champagne. It’s the rule!

The Champagne Coin

  • It costs €1.6 million to buy just one hectare in Champagne – Where’s my cheque book?
  • The cost to make 1 bottle of Champagne is around €7 per bottle – this explains why this sparkly drink has such a sparkly price tag.

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Some extra stats!

  • Champagne represents just 2% of the wine in France. Not all that big when you think about it.
  • To claim that you’ve tasted from every Champagne house, you would need to try 10 Champagnes a day for the next 20 years. I’d happily accept that challenge!
  • Each Champagne house has approximately 10 years of stock, just in case a bad harvest occurs.

 

That’s probably enough Champagne truths I’ve dropped for now. Stay tuned for more posts on my trip to Champagne!

 

Until next time winos,

 

Cheers

 

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Olivier Magny – My Jamie Oliver equivalent to wine

For anyone who knows me, knows I’m a Jamie Oliver fan. A big one too. When it comes to the world of wine I think I’ve found my Jamie Oliver equivalent.

Meet Olivier Magny – a French Sommelier/Entrepreneur/Author

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The man himself. Olivier Magny

I came across Olivier through his SBS show ‘The Grape Escape’.
In the series you travel along with him throughout the French wine regions, visiting many wineries, and learning about the wine making process along the way.
His excitable nature and approach to wine is infectious. His mantra is all about removing the intimidation people may have with wine, with a purpose of making it fun and factual, which I love.

In his series, one of the key highlights for me was when he visited the champagne region – it was so interesting to learn the process of making champagne from picking, to fermentation, through to storing. This all finished with learning how you should open a champagne bottle – my life changed forever when I saw this. simples tip the bottleThe trick is, rather than twisting the cork, you should twist the bottle instead. Simples!

 

Another region visited was the Bordeaux region. This took me back to my holiday in 2013 where I visited Bordeaux. He even ran in the Marathon du Medoc! What a champion.

Along with this great series, he’s also written a book ‘Into Wine’ (which I’m currently reading), and even founded Ô Chateau, Frances’ number one wine school located in Paris. It’s even home to a wine bar with 40 glasses on the menu to choose from. 40! With so many glasses on tap, I hope one day to visit his wine bar, as I’m sure his collection would be ‘superbe’.

Me in Paris! Oh how I want to go back!

Me in Paris! Oh how I want to go back!

Until next time wino’s,

Cheers

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Pop the cork, it’s time to celebrate! A sparkling wine to suit any occasion

No doubt you have probably popped a few bottles of champers since the start of the year, whether it has been to welcome in the New Year, birthdays, new jobs, new babies, new house, engagements, weddings, cleaning the house…okay okay I haven’t done the champers in one hand-duster in the other yet, but it probably wouldn’t be a bad way to ease the pain of cleaning. Right?!

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It was not long ago that my brother finally popped the question to his beautiful fiancé!

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She said YES!


This gave me a great reason to pop the cork and celebrate! With many friends and family over to celebrate attip the bottle tantrum home, we needed to make sure we didn’t tip the drink budget, which meant the Dom Perignon had to be crossed off the menu. So sad!

Choosing the wine
It can be hard finding a good sparkling wine that tastes great, and won’t break the budget.

There was one that ticked all the boxes:
DeBortoli’s Rococo Premium Cuvée
The wine of the hour

The wine of the hour


Great tasting – tick!

The bubbles were small and had a creamy balanced flavour, with a slightly dry finish. It was so good, that people were drooling for seconds.

Cheap – tick!
Normally retailing at $22 per bottle, we managed to get a few bottles in a 2 for $30 special! It was a deal at the time at the local grocer, which meant plenty of bottles ahoy.
After the celebrations were over, when my future sister-in-law was busily studying her bridal magazines, she came across THE Rococo as the wine to toast with when celebrating. What are the odds?!

Here’s the proof!


If you see it in the supermarket, or at the wine grocer I recommend popping one in your basket. It never hurts to have a sparkling in the cupboard in case of an emergency, or just to do the cleaning with.

Enjoy!
Until next time winos

Cheers
Tip the Bottle
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The bottle off – Screw cap wine vs. Corked wine

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Credit: Ralph Unden

 

To screw or not to screw

Mind out of the gutter please. I’m talking about screw caps vs. the good old traditional cork. If you go to your nearest bottle shop, or your wine cellar, for those of you that have one, you will notice almost 99% of wine bottles are now bottled with a screw cap rather than a cork. Screw caps are nothing new. In fact, screw caps have actually been around for over 40 years, with the branded name ‘Stelvin caps’ being commercially produced back in the 1970’s. A French creation, the screw cap among Australian wine makers has rapidly gained popularity in since the 2000’s.

 

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Credit: Robert Hodge

 

 

So are screw caps really better than corks? To shed some light on this matter, I decided to make a pros and cons list of the screw cap.

The pros

Screw caps really do keep your wine in better condition

A secure seal means that no air can enter the bottle, resulting in the wine being able to retain its flavour and characteristics when first bottled. The humble cork, on the other hand, can change in shape over time, allowing air to enter the bottle and spoil your wine. Eww. Have you ever tasted a spoiled wine? While it won’t make you sick, it will give you a nasty look on your face when drinking it, similar to if you drank a bottle of vinegar.

 

You can keep your wine for longer

The secure seal means you can store that bottle of goodness for much longer than a cork would. Not only that, but you can also reseal the bottle once opened for drinking later on; that’s if you can resist the temptation of pouring yourself another glass – Go on, you deserve it. You’ve had a long day.

 

Screw capped wine bottles can be kept standing up, rather than lying down in a wine rack

While I do love the look and old school charm of a wine rack, the convenience of being able to store my wine standing up suits me down to a tee. I have a lot of floor space I can fill.

 

No odours can enter a screw capped wine

I don’t recall anyone saying ‘I love it when my wine tastes like fridge’.

 

You can easily open them

Quick and easy access, with a simple twist of a screw cap means you can throw out those bottle openers, and free up your cutlery draw.

 

They’re recyclable

Always a bonus when the environment is involved.

 

The cons

The demise of the Champagne cork

While I understand the ease of opening a screw capped wine, I really do hope that the champagne bottle retains its cork. The sound of that cork when popping a bottle screams ‘celebration’ to me. I don’t think a screw cap would ever be able to replace that. It would be just like opening up a bottle of soft drink.

 

No bottle openers in the cutlery draw

Probably shouldn’t have been so hasty when throwing them out earlier.

 

BYO Restaurants charging you a corkage fee with a screw capped bottle

Really? You want me to pay you for unscrewing my bottle? If you really must charge me, rather than charging a corkage fee, please charge me a ‘screwage’ fee, and I will be happy.

 

Credit: Jeff Kubina

Credit: Jeff Kubina

 

So there we go. The more screwed capped bottles in my life, the better my wine will be. I’ll pop the champagne cork for that.

 

 

Until next time wino’s,

Cheers.

 

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