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Australia Champagne Tasting

Perth, February 27, 2013

At the end of February Bailliage of Western Australia members and their guests attended a champagne masterclass at Perth’s newest boutique hotel, the Terrace Hotel.

The highly knowledgeable and experienced Champagne expert, LVMH Champagne Ambassador Greg Williams, presided over this outstandingly successful event. which was organised by Vice-Echanson Valerie Stopp.

This masterclass was exceptional. The discussion and education included not just the champagnes that were featured, but also the Champagne houses, their history and the winemakers, most of whom Greg had met during his career with LVMH. Did you know that the first thing every newborn baby in the Krug family tastes is a finger dipped in Krug?

Vice-Chancelier Amanda Spencer-Teo decided that her new go-to champagne is the Ruinart Blanc de Blancs The fresh, bright, soft and honeyed flavours, an explosion of mid-palate chardonnay flavour and a minerally crisp finish, its ‘luminosity’, made drinking it so easy, most people had finished their glasses without realising. Fortunately, the Terrace’s sommelier Emilie DeBeve rescued us!

Tasting side by side we easily discovered the differences between Champagnes. With the staples, the dominance of Pinot Noir in Veuve Clicquot’s Yellow Label is all about power and audacity: a meatier, bigger, flavour; whereas Moët et Chandon’s Brut Imperial, with more Pinot Meunier and less Pinot Noir by comparison, has a softer flavour with a crisp, dry finish.

Dom Perignon is made to bring out the best of the unique characters and flavours of each individual vintage, while Krug Grand Cuvée is made to transcend the ‘NV’ and vintage stereotypes to deliver the same amazingly delicious, complex, multi-layered experience every year. Sampled next to the Dom Pérignon, it was amazing, with a seemingly never-ending length of flavour lingering long after the swallow.
An interesting debate between Greg (the veteran traditionalist) and Emilie (the young modernist) regarding the merits of decanting a fresh bottle of Champagne in a carafe to soften and regulate the flavours ensued.

Some of us taking advantage of both the warm camaraderie and the balmy evening moved to the terrace. There we enjoyed deliciously executed dishes (and finished the remaining bottles of champagne!). The Linley Valley pork belly, soft, unctuous and chewy layers beneath a perfectly and uniformly crisped skin was the star – as Bailli Wayne Teo remarked, most restaurants try and many fail, but the Terrace got its pork belly right that night.

Melvin Yeo, Chargé de Presse