If you’re pretty keen on Champagne and want to try as many as you can in one evening; then the public session of Taste Champagne is your best bet.
Hosted by Tyson Stelzer and his team in various cities, it’s $140 AUD for a 3 hour long opportunity to wander around a wide range of famous (and not so famous) houses and try a lot of the varietals and vintages you may not have tried before. You also get to keep the very expensive (and fragile) Riedel Veritas Champagne-specific glass you receive. And there’s also some nibbles to enjoy to clear the palate between houses.
Champagne Tips has been along to the last four Sydney events, and the amount of growth has been outstanding; although the queue at the door can be a bit intimidating these days!
This is testament to the hard work of Tyson and his team, who make themselves very accessible over the course of the evening. A word of caution though; it can be a bit difficult to talk to someone like Tyson without going all super-fan on him, especially after 2 hours of sampling. Speaking of super-fan – this was us last year:
The industry session (held the during the day) has a comprehensive range of champagnes out to test for sommeliers, restauranteurs and the like, to help define fine dining wine lists and more. The public session scales back on this (some houses/distributors even go home after the industry event) yet it still offers a very comprehensive array of wines to try.
Mainstays over the years include LVMH (Moet, Veuve and Ruinart), G.H. Mumm, Perrier Jouet, Bollinger, Taittinger, Laurent Perrier, Billecart Salmon, Louis Roederer and Pol Roger to start.
Also around are a good range of recoltant houses and smaller brands you may not often see; it pays to be adventurous.
Some highlights for us this year:
- Thienot (their rose was our favourite champagne last year), who came with 4 varietals to try, all of which impressed.
- Pol Roger – their ice bucket, complete with Magnum’s of white foil and a number of impressive vintages – kept me at the stand for quite a while!
- Laurent Perrier – LP’s Brut Nature is such an impressive zero dosage champagne.
- Nicolas Feuillatte – France’s #1 – Palm D’Or 2006 was a nice surprise.
- Ruinart – We’ve always maintained that the Rosé and Blanc de Blancs are must tries. This does not change.
We would like to thank all involved with this years event; great to see familiar faces, meet some new ones, and exchange some interesting stories. Special thanks to Kate at Pernod Ricard/Mumm, Tess at Negociant/Pol Roger and Ludowic at Halleauxvins/Thienot for their time – and for putting up with me (again).
And of course – thanks to my tasting buddies Mel, Dean and our last minute ring-in Joel – who is now a convert to this event for the rest of time!