Champagne

Anything to do with Champagne!

Charles’ Ultimate Gift Buying Guide

At Charles Rose Wines, we make finding the perfect Christmas gift easy. Whether it’s a fine wine, aged port or a vintage champagne, we have a fantastic range of perfect presents this Christmas.
If you are unsure of what is the best choice for that special someone this Christmas, why not have a look at our suggestions for a very merry Christmas.

Dapper Dads (and Grandads)

Quinta do Noval 20 Year Old Tawny Port

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This delicious blend of ports is carefully matured in oak casks. The perfect way to round off a delicious Christmas lunch.

Marvellous Mums (and Grandmas)

The Mionetto Sergio Prosecco or Mionetto Sergio Rose Spumante

Whether you opt for prosecco or the Rose spumante, mum’s everywhere are bound to love these superb sparkling wines from the Veneto and Trentino areas of Italy.

Party Princesses

Deutz Brut Rose Champagne

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It’s party season and what better way for party princesses to celebrate than with a glass of fabulous pink champagne in hand.

Lovers of all things Vintage

Quinta do Noval Silval Vintage Port 2005

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A superb vintage port, perfect to enjoy now.

Those who dare to be different

Quinta do Noval White Port

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Perfect for those who love to try new things.

Gonzalez Byass 12 Anos Palo Cortado Sherry

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While Sherry used to be reserved for the Christmas trifle, this wine is not just for Christmas and is certainly on trend this year.

The Wine Aficionado

The Around the World Mixed Case

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If you can’t decide between white or red, then our Around the World case will do the job for you. A great way for wine aficionado’s to sample a wide range of wines.

Organic Foodies/Gin Lover

Forest Gin, Premium London Gry Gin

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This award winning gin is hand-crafted in small batches and is made with organic certified botanicals foraged from Macclesfield Forest.

If you would like any more help, please be sure to email, tweet or connect with us on facebookand our helpful team of wine experts will be sure to point you in the right direction.

Happy hunting!

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Award Winning Wines of The Month!

Just in time for Summer, the Decanter World Wine Awards have been announced and we’ve got a very special offer on our AWARD WINNING Deutz Champagne.

The Decanter World Wine Awards are held every year and celebrate the very finest in winemaking. Over 16,000 wines were entered to be judged blind by 240 of the world’s best winetasters and sommeliers.

This year is cause for a double celebration as both the Deutz Brut Classic and the Deutz Rose Champagnes have been awarded Bronze medals.

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The Deutz Brut Classic scored 88/100 and was noted to have dynamic aromas of crab apple, quince, pear and gentle smokiness.

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The Deutz Rose also scored 88/100 and was said to be aromatic with fresh strawberries, cranberries with lovely ripe citrus fruits and honey. A crisp and vibrant palate with cherry fruit and a little earthiness.

So, throughout August, September and October , enjoy 20% off these two fantastic champagnes!

We’ll drink to that.

For more information about the Decanter World Wine Awards click here.

To check out the Deutz Brut Classic click here.

To check out the Deutz Rose click here.

The Rise and Rise of English Sparkling Wine

We’ve known it for a while – but it seems the secret’s out. English Sparkling Wine is a hit.

Sales were up over Christmas 2015 and experts are predicting that 2016 will see even greater growth.

To keep up with demand, production has also had to increase. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have cited a 103.2% increase in the production volume of English and Welsh sparkling wines between 2010 and 2014.

So keen is the interest in English wine that the renowned Champagne brand Taittinger has announced plans to produce it’s own English wine after buying land in Kent.

Awareness of English wine is also on the rise thanks to a series of high profile sponsorship deals. From the Nyetimber sponsorship of Cowes Week to Wimbledon offering an English Sparkling wine, there will be no shortage of English wines this summer. Virgin have even switched from offering Champagne to Meonhill Sparkling Wine from the Hambledon Vineyard on their 787 Dreamliners.

So whether you’re messing about on the river, watching a spot of tennis or flying first class, you’ll not be far from a glass of English sparkling wine.

If you are interested in finding out more, be sure to check out English Wine Week organised by the English Wine Producers. The week runs from 28th May to 5th June 2016 and features events across the country to highlight to brilliance of English wines. For more information see, http://www.englishwineproducers.co.uk/

Alternatively, if you fancy sampling English Wine but can’t wait for English Wine Week, you can have us deliver a bottle of our excellent Coates & Seely English sparkling wine direct to your door.

For more information see:

Champagne

Let’s Raise A Toast To Champagne!

What do two wine producing regions in France, a victorian railway bridge and a botanical garden have in common?

It may sound like the start of a joke, but it’s not. They have all been recently awarded ‘World Heritage Status” by UNESCO.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and is a specialised agency of the United Nations system. The organisation was created in 1946 with the aim of ‘building defences of peace in the minds of men.’

The World Heritage List was first published in 1978. The idea was to list places on Earth that were of outstanding universal value to humanity. To secure a place on the list a site must be of special cultural or physical significance. The sites listed are intended to be protected for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. The first list from 1978 contained 12 protected monuments and included the Galapagos Islands and Aachen Cathedral. At present there are over 1,000 sites listed split over 163 states.

In July 2015 the latest additions to the UNESCO list were announced and among the winners were the wine producing regions of Champagne and part of Burgundy, the Forth Bridge in Scotland and Singapore’s botanical gardens.

UNESCO said that the Champagne status covered “the places sparkling wine was developed using a second fermentation method in the bottle from the beginning of the 17th century until its early industrialisation in the 19th century”. Special mention was made of Hautvilliers, where legend has it that, Dom Perignon invented Champagne. For more information on why we celebrate with Champagne check out our blog post here.

In Burgundy, the vineyards on the slopes of the Cote de Nuits and the Cote de Beaune, which sit to the south of Dijon were marked out for World Heritage Status. These vineyards produce pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, which are then used to produce some of the finest red wines in the world.

UNESCO have helpfully produced an app listing all of the World Heritage Status Sites  – albeit that it needs to be updated to include the newest additions to the list. Using the app, it’s possible to tick off the Sites you’ve visited. So, that means 24 down for us, just 1,007 to go!

Image by Vassil (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Deutz Rose Champagne, perfect for a celebration with fizz!

It’s a girl!

The birth of a new baby is always a wonderful excuse for a celebration – and the birth of a new princess is certainly no exception!

In the days since the birth of Princess Charlotte a number of companys have joined in the celebrations with special creations and giveaways. From a chocolate pram made by Cadbury to free entry to theme parks, the celebrations look set to continue. Lucky girls named Charlotte can even enjoy a free glass of house wine at Bierkeller, Manchester on Friday and Saturday.

Despite not being legally entitled to drink alcohol for more than 17 years, the new princess has even had a cocktail created in her honour. Visitors to Tiger Hornsby in Newcastle will be able to buy a special blend of Veuve Cliquot Champagne, Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur and pomegranate syrup.

Souvenir hunters will be on the hunt for unusual memorabilia. For Rioja lovers, the focus will be on vintages from this year. In 1982, the year both Kate Middleton and Prince William were born, the Rioja vintage was rated excellent. Here’s hoping the 2015 can live up to expectations, but we’ll just have to wait to find out.

And this is just to celebrate the birth. Just as with Prince George, we’re sure that Charlotte will be inundated with gifts at her christening. Our personal top pick would be a bottle of vintage port which can be saved to enjoy on her 18th birthday.

In the meantime though, we simply propose to toast our newest princess with a glass of Deutz rose champagne! Perfect for princesses everywhere (royal or otherwise).

Champagne From A Shipwreck Still Good After 170 Years

Sometime in the 1840s a two-masted schooner, possibly en route to St. Petersburg (nobody actually knows) sank off the coast of Föglö, an island next to Finland. It was travelling a route known to be used for Champagne deliveries to the Russian Imperial Court.

It lay there undisturbed in the calm, dark waters of the baltic for 170 years. Finally, it was found in 2003 by the Finnish Maritime Administration and explored by a group of Finnish and Swedish divers in 2010. After entering the hull through damage in the stern they found a number of items including 168 bottles of Champagne.

In 2011, a single bottle of this 200 year old Champagne sold at auction in Finland… for £26,700. Surely a bit steep for a bottle of wine thats been at the bottom of the sea for two centuries? Perhaps, perhaps not.

Old bottles of Champagne seem to have a habit of turning up.

At the Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin visitor centre in Reims there is an 1893 bottle on display which was found, of all places, in a inside a sideboard in Torosay Castle, Isle of Mull, Scotland, in 2008.

The cargo recovered from the shipwreck included bottles from three of the oldest Champagne makers: Veuve Clicquot, Heidsieck and Juglar. But just how old are these bottles?

Philippe Clicquot-Muiron founded the company that would become Veuve Clicquot in 1772. In 1798, Philippe’s son, François Clicquot, married Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin and died in 1805, leaving his widow (veuve in Frrench) the company. Under this formidable woman Veuve Clicquot became the Champagne power house it is today. Analysis of the corks from the Veuve Clicquot bottles recovered from the wreck show a logo with a comet, apparently added by Madame Clicquot in 1811. This was added to celebrate an unusually good crop, so the bottles recovered could be as old as 204 years.

Florens-Louis Heidsieck founded the Heidsieck Champagne house in 1785 in Reims. Legend has it that he presented wine to Queen Marie-Antoinette. After his death in 1828, his nephew Christian Heidsieck started a partnership with Henri-Guillaume Piper. Christian died in 1835, his widow married Henri-Guillaume Piper in 1838 marking the beginning of the Piper-Heidsieck Champagne house. The Heidseick bottles recovered bear branding from the original company name so they are likely no younger than 177 years old.

The last maker Juglar, is the most interesting in that it ceased to exist in 1829 as it was absorbed into the Champagne House Jacquesson. Juglar bottles were recovered from the wreck meaning that the Champagne is likely somewhere between 186 and 204 years old!

In case you were wondering, the oldest recorded sparkling wine is Blanquette de Limoux, invented in 1531 by Benedictine Monks in the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire, near Carcassonne. This happened, possibly by accident initially, as bottling of the wine was carried out before the initial fermentation had ended.

Scientists from the University of Reims in Champagne-Ardenne, France have now analysed samples of the champagne and were surprised by what they found.

The bottles recovered were remarkably well preserved, 55m down in waters of 2-4 degrees C, high pressure and low levels of light. The aromas and chemical features of the Champagne were preserved and it was drinkable.

The Champagne itself was remarkably similar to modern Champagne, but much sweeter with sugar levels of 14% – more like a modern desert wine. Modern tastes have driven the sugar levels in Champagne far lower than this. The levels of CO2 were vastly lower, 80% less than a modern bottle, probably because most of it had escaped through the cork. Finally, traces of arsenic hint at the use of arsenic salts as a pesticide in use at the time.

All of which goes to explain why these bottles can fetch such a high price at auction. Perfectly drinkable 200 year old Champagne, yours for around £25,000!

Image is of the Mary Camden, a two-masted schooner, by William Pierce Stubbs (1842 – 1909) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Champagne Bottle Sizes

Most people have heard of a magnum of champagne, a few a Jeroboam, but what about the other sizes of bottle?

Here goes …

  • Quarter bottle, Split or Piccolo – ‘small’ in Italian – (187.5 or 200 ml) – perfect for one.
  • Half bottle – Demi ‘half’ in French – (375ml)
  • Bottle – Imperial (750ml) The standard size of a bottle of wine or champagne.
  • Magnum (1.5 litres) The equivalent of 2 bottles.
  • Jeroboam (3 litres) The equivalent of 4 bottles. However, it is important to note that “Jeroboam” can indicate different sizes in different regions in France.
  • Rehoboam (4.5 litre) Equal to 6 bottles.
  • Methuselah (6 litre) 8 bottles
  • Salmanazar (9 litre) 12 bottles.
  • Balthazar (12 litre) 16 bottles.
  • Nebuchadnezzar (15 litre) 20 bottles – or around 120 glasses!
  • Melchior (18 litre) 24 bottles.
  • Solomon (25 litre) 33.3 bottles.
  • Sovereign (26.2 litre) – Reportedly created by Taittinger in 1988 to coincide with the launch of the Sovereign of the Seas cruise liner – then the world’s largest cruise liner.
  • Primat (or Goliath, 27 litre) 36 bottles.
  • Melchizedek (or Midas, 30 litre) a whopping 40 bottles!

As can be seen from the above list – many traditional wine bottle sizes are named after Biblical kings and historical figures – presumably to imitate the impressive size of the larger bottles. However, in reality, the larger bottles are difficult to carry, difficult to open and even more difficult to pour.

Still wines can actually benefit from being stored in magnum bottles. Oxidation occurs more slowly and so they age at a slower pace. However, for Champagne a large bottle reduces the effectiveness of the secondary fermentation phase, and so can diminish the quality of the wine. Because of this larger bottles are often filled from standard size bottles prior to serving. Plus, if you happen to be at the end of the queue for a glass – you are likely to find yourself sipping flat champagne. Personally we’d rather preserve the fizz and buy more smaller bottles!

Image is “Veuve clicquot bottle sizes” by Walter Nissen (Wnissen). – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Another Glass Of Sussex Please!

Sussex is famous for many things. The Royal Pavilion at Brighton, the Long Man of Wilmington, and Bodiam Castle (pictured). Its is also (weirdly) where banoffee pie was first created in 1972. If these things are not enough to show Sussex as exemplary, then why not Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status for it’s wines?

A few days ago Decanter Magazine reported that English wine producers are making a bid to obtain PDO status for wineries in Sussex. PDO would bring them the same protected status as wines from Champagne.

PDO is the most prestigious of the three geographical indications offered by the European Union for the protection and promotion of agricultural products. The other two are Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), and Traditional Specialities Guaranteed (TSG).

PDO is the strictest designation. It states that a product has been entirely produced within a region that gives the product unique properties. For example, beef produced wholly on Orkney has PDO status and can be labelled as Orkney beef. Beef produced in Scotland, including from Orkney, has PGI status and is labelled Scotch beef. So If the beef comes from cows raised in Orkney, but is prepared in the Outer Hebrides, it can only have Scotch beef PGI status as it wasn’t wholly produced on Orkney.

The UK already has 65 products with protected status. Far less than Portugal (125), France (217) and Italy (267). If successful, Sussex wine would join PDO holders such as Native Shetland Wool, Jersey Royal Potatoes and our favourite cheese, Swaledale. Given that English wine has already been granted a PDO, what advantage does a Sussex PDO designation bring?

Well, English wine may be enjoying its most successful years, but presumably it’s easier to market Sussex sparkling wine rather than English sparkling wine. For example, ordering a bottle of Sussex in a restaurant sounds more pleasing than ordering a bottle of English…

And why not have a go! English sparkling wines have been racking up the awards. In the 2014 International Wine Challenge competition they were awarded 5 gold medals and two trophies. Obtaining PDO status would be another big boost to the reputation of wines produced in Sussex, and England in general.

It is perhaps debatable how the varying landscape of Sussex can be realistically expected to imbue the geographical characteristics a PDO is meant to guarantee. But with the English wine retail sector forecast to hit £100m this year, and the number of wineries in the UK at an all time high, this latest PDO is clear evidence of a confident market.

Interestingly Nyetimber, one of the most famous UK producers, has two thirds of its vineyards in Sussex and a third in Hampshire, and so would be excluded from applying the PDO designation to its’ products.

Image is “Bodiam-castle-10My8-1197” by WyrdLight.com. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Why do we celebrate with Champagne?

From the smashing of a bottle to launch a ship, the popping of corks at New Year or a wedding, or the spraying from the winners podium of a formula 1 race, champagne is the celebratory drink of choice.

But why do we celebrate with Champagne?

Following the development of sparkling wine in the Sixteenth century in the Languedoc region of France, it seems that Champagne was first produced in the Champagne region in the Eighteenth century. However, it was initially referred to as “the devil’s wine”, due to it’s propensity to explode or pop it’s cork thanks to pressure in the bottle.

Over time and thanks to the work of people such as Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin and Andre Francois, Champagne production became more stable and the taste refined.

Despite that initial stigma, Champagne has long been associated with the anointing of French Kings and was fashionable at the Court of Henry IV.

While royal favour did much to encourage patronisation amongst the nobility, it was in the 19th century and the increasing rise of the middle classes, that Champagne took hold as the sign of celebration. As the new merchant classes rose in number and wealth, so did the purchase of Champagne. While merchants could not afford to drink Champagne every day, they would purchase bottles for special occasions.

So let’s raise a glass in celebration of celebrating with Champagne!

Interested in trying some? We’d love it if you glanced at our range of Champagne!

Image is “Champagne” by Jon Sullivan/PDPhoto.org – http://pdphoto.org/PictureDetail.php?mat=pdef&pg=8346. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Celebrate With A Champagne & Port Cocktail

Here at Charles Rose Wines we love Champagne and we love Port. IF you struggle to choose between them then thankfully, there’s a celebration drink which uses both!

Nelson’s Blood Champagne Cocktail is so named for the bitter-sweet victory of the British fleet over the Franco-Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21st 1805. Sweet as this prevented Napoleon Bonepart’s ships from breaking the British naval blockade. Bitter as it cost Admiral Horatio Nelson, who commanded the British fleet, his life.

It’s up to you whether or not you acknowledge the history behind this particular cocktail, although if you had no reason to celebrate on the 21st of October, now you do! Either way, its a great drink, and here is our spin on how to make it.

Ingredients

Optional – for frosting:

  • fruit juice or syrup
  • fine white sugar, brown sugar or icing sugar
  • tea plate or small shallow bowl (larger than the glass you want to use)
  • flat plate for the sugar

Frosting Preparation (Optional)

Rinse a glass of your choice in cold water and put it in a freezer for half an hour.

Whist your glass is cooling prep your frosting by cutting a slice of fruit if you are using fruit, and putting your chosen sugar onto a flat plate so you can press your glass into it when it is ready.

When the glass has frosted moisten the rim of it so that the sugar will stick. If you are using an actual fruit you can gentry run some cut fruit around the edge. If you are using actual juice of syrup then pour or squeeze a little onto a tea plate and gently place the glass into the liquid. Then press the glass into the sugar.

To twist or not to twist… often debated, do what you think works best. Twisting will add more coating.

Your glass is now frosted!

Drink Mixing

Carefully pour a shot (40ml or so) of Port into your glass. Top this off with Champagne and gently stir to mix but not release too much of the fizz. Pour carefully so as not to disturb your beautiful frosting!

That’s it! A perfect celebratory drink combining two of our favourites!

If you have a favourite cocktail then get in touch and let us know what it is!