When thinking about what to write about Grand Champagne, I really had a hard time keeping it short. There is just so much to share. So I decided to split the story in two, starting with the press event and professionals tasting on Friday morning. The second post will focus on the consumer event as well as Master classes.
The day started at 10am with a seminar for press and professionals. Essi Avellan, Master of Wine and one of the organizers, interviewed different cellar masters that were visiting for the event. We heard Benoît Gouez from Möet & Chandon, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon (Mr. Cristal) from Louis Rhoederer, Charles Philipponat from Champagne Philipponat and Michel Drappier from champagne Drappier. It was impressive to see such a line-up speaking to our relatively small crowd gathered around the stage. We were perhaps 30 to 40 people. The discussions were casual and the answers felt honest and unrehearsed. What I remember best from the discussions is actually something the Benoît Gouez from Möet & Chandon said: People often connect small production quantities with artisanal and large quantities to industrial. However, in reality, they have nothing to do with each other. It is how you make the wine that matters. It is with these words my interest in Möet was awakened again. I don’t know if I will start drinking Brut Imperial again, but at least I have quite a lot more respect.
After the seminar we turned to tasting. The event opened for press and professionals three full hours before the crowds came in. We went from stand to stand with our Lehmann Grand Champagne glasses stretched out for small mouthfuls of different wines. Keeping in mind that we had two master classes booked for the evening, we spitted most of the wines. However, some could not be wasted. Would you spit Cristal? We also had a chance to chat with quite many of the cellar masters that were manning their own stands. The conversations were warm and the cellar master were genuinely interested in what we thought about their wines. I have like about different houses on my list I have promised to visit during the next year, so I am expecting a trip to champagne is in order.
Last but not least, I would like to mention some new acquaintances that I was impressed with: Champagne Besserat de Bellefon and Champagne de Sousa. Both houses were new to me and we tasted through the whole range available at the fair. Besserat was really crispy and smooth whereas de Sousa much more powerful with body and minerality. I have not seen de Sousa at least at Systembolaget, so perhaps I need to go to Finland for my shopping. We also chatted quite long with Besserats cellar master Cédric Thiébault which raised quite a lot of interest for their range. Speaking about new impressive acquaintances, we met up with Päivi, another wine blogger who lives in Hamburg. Päivi and I were in contact before the event and we toured the tables together. Her blog, Wine bubble is new, but I can already now see that I am going to be reading it a lot. Its educational and down to earth; easy to read for anyone who likes wine. I really enjoyed her latest post about her favorite wine podcasts.
After three hours of tasting and eating hot dogs, we decided it was time to get some fresh air. Before heading out we took a chance to shop at the fairs boutique (Ceesta shop). I really like the Lehmann Grand Champagne glasses, and there was an offer to buy a whole box (6 glasses) for just 80€. Steal! The reason for the low price was that the glasses were used in Master classes throughout the event (does not matter to me). So we pre ordered them and they are now available for pick-up from the store. The only downside is that the store is in Finland, but luckily I have a mother that does not mind helping out. Now I just need to find space for them somewhere next to our fat Zalto Bourgognes.
To be continued…