Tag Archives: Champagne

Lable or content? – How do you judge your bubbly? …Honestly?

I love blind tastings. I love them because they are so honest. There is just the wine and your taste buds, nothing else to lean back on.

Maybe I like this form of tasting because I’ve never felt the pressure to ”like the right stuff”, so I can really relax and be honest. But the wine world is a curious place and not always that welcoming if you don’t have the right skills or opinions. This makes people nervous and I guess that might also be the reason for many to avoid blind tastings. It can be such prestige to name the wines by grape, producer, vintage or what ever is the task at hand. In my opinion that is not what’s interesting, and it has never been my goal to be good at that kind of thing. I focus instead on what I like, and helping others in finding what they like, and that I’m really good at.

Hosting blind tastings I always have one goal, namely finding out what people really like when they turn just to themselves and stop caring about labels, price tags, and ”know-it-all” wine people telling them what is good and what is not. Getting people to do this can be rather tricky though, for there is a notion that you should like certain types of wine to ”have good taste”. For example, to admit that you don’t like the certain style that Champagne has… that takes guts. Because by doing so you basically break every social code there is. Champagne is the essence of passion, glamour, good taste, luxury ect. And by saying you don’t like it, you kind of put your self out of all those contexts too, and who does not want to be glamour’s and have good taste?

So making people let go of all these preconceptions and instead focus on what they like (or maybe don’t like) about each wine, is much more interesting. During these tastings lively discussions always break out after a while when the participants has taken the task to heart. Some people like the ”peachiness” in one glass, others the high acidity in another or maybe the smell of roasted nuts in the third, and this is where it gets interesting. Because by letting consumers focus on what particular tastes or aromas they like in a wine, I can guide them in what style, grape, method or maybe area they might find more bubbly wines to enjoy. It simply makes the wine hunt easier.

In my personal opinion life is all about good wine, nice food and the company of those I love and like to spend time with. If the wine I drink costs 10 Euros or 100 Euros does not really matter as long as I like it, and it goes well to the food and or occasion. Sometimes it is cava, other times it is Champagne or sparkling from South Africa.

And if you think about it too, would you not honestly be happier to drink something that you really love, rather than something someone else really loves or says is good taste?

Top Of The Pops among Cava and Champagne

It is not every day you get the chance to try a line-up like this, so I must admit I had been excited for weeks beforehand. And it really was just so interesting and exciting as I thought. This is my thoughts about the experience…

For you who are not really aquatinted with these cavas and champagnes I can just give you the very brief details.
Cavas: 
ENOTECA BRUT NATURE 2001: 75% Xarel-lo and 25% Macabeu, from Gramona.
LA CAPELLA 2005: 100% single vineyard Xarel-lo, from Juvé y Camps.
TURÓ D’EN MOTA 2005: 100% single vineyard Xarel-lo, from Recaredo.

Champagnes:
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL CUVÉE 2000: Pinot noir and chardonnay, from Pol Roger.
DOM PERIGNON 2006: chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot munier, from Moët & Chandon.

To start with we compared the two younger cavas with Dom Perignon of nearly the same age. And after that SWCC and Enoteca.

Before we started I really thought that the notes coming from the aging would be predominant and have made the sparkling wines more similar. Although all wines had very distinct aged notes there was a huge differens which I had not counted on.
What struck us all was how very vibrant and alive all the cavas were compared to the champagnes of nearly the same age. The cavas had together with the aged notes of bread, nuts and biscuits ALSO a great balance of fruitiness left in them. The Champagnes were broader, softer and had both clearly more oxidized notes of yellow apple to them, that the cavas did not.
I love them all for their own uniqueness, but it was truly striking that all the cavas still felt so young after all this time!

Especially Enoteca 2001 (being so old) is truly amazing in its vibrant freshness!

I have always liked “old” wines, because I love what the aging does with the wine. Hence I have for a very long time had Sir Winston rated at the top of my list.  But to be honest… to get both these fantastic aged notes together with a freshness and elegance shown by Grsmona’s Enoteca is amazing.

This same is true for the younger bottles of Turó d’en Mota and La Capella compared with Dom Perignon. The cavas are still super fresh and complex, while the Dom is more rounded and of course complex, but more bombastic than elegant.

One thing that might explain this is something I learned from Xavier Gramona, when he visited Stockholm in March. He explained that Xarel-lo is a perfect wine for aging since the variety contains the highest levels of antioxidants of any white grape. Maybe it is these antioxidants that keep the cavas so fresh after all this time?

I promise I will write a blogpost on all the cavas, all in due course. They deserve nothing less!

Julklapp till bubbelälskaren!

Kära bubbelvänner!

julgranNu närmar sig julen och jag har lovat er ett nyhetsbrev med lite bubbliga julklappstips. Jag vet att det börjar bli i sista minuten men det kommer. Ha förtröstan!

Så länge kan jag tipsa om en liten grej som jag har fått möjlighet att föra vidare till er, min krets av bubbelälskare.
Kanske har ni sett min ring som jag har på mig förjämnan? Otaliga bilder finns på Instagram. Denna kommer från en australiensisk designer vid namn Kiron.

WM xmas 4Jag har nu i min ägo fem stycken specialdesignade multifunktions-”berlocker”, kan man väl kalla dem.
De är gjorda i mässing och har två små ögglor på varsin sida, vilket gör att man kan fästa dem på halsband, armband, hänga upp som dekoration eller vad man nu önskar. Ett perfekt smycke som kan varieras i oändlighet till oss bubbelälskare!
Jag har möjlighet att sälja dem för endast 850 kr stycket och en har jag för avsikt att behålla själv, så fyra har jag över till er.

Är du intresserad, så maila mig ögona böj på anna.m.wallner@gmail.com, för här gäller först till kvarn. Självklart skickar jag med posten så fort du hört av dig så att du får paketet i tid. Bor du i Uppsala, kan jag till och med komma med hemleverans.
Tänk på att dessa smycken är de enda fem exemplar som finns i Sverige, så mer speciellt än så blir det inte!

WM xmas 1

Don’t listen to me, I have bad taste!

bild(2)This passed Thursday I was invited to be in a tasting-panel, for one of Sweden’s best wine magazines. Seeing it as a huge honour, I of course agreed with joy! The panel were to taste about 80 different champagnes and pick out five favourites in the categories standard, vintage, prestige and rosé.  Not and easy task, and it took about five hours even though I tried not to be unnecessarily slow. 🙂

bild(1)We had a great time (of course!) and as a “thank you”-present I got Richard Juhlin’s newest champagne book, En doft av champagne (A scent of champagne).
For those of you that don’t know Richard, I can just say that he is considered to be the worlds best champagne expert, and he has an incredible sense of smell as well as a photographic memory.  In Paris 2003 he identified 43 champagnes out of 50 in a blind tasting, while his closest competitor managed 4. So yes, he is that good, there is no denying it. 

Last night when I went to bed after we had been sitting writing on the new cava book, I had a look through Richard’s beautiful book and read some passages that I want to share with you since you might like or even love cava just like I do…

Since the book is written in Swedish, I have taken the liberty of writing the passages in Swedish as well of my own translation into English.

From the preface/forword:
“Ju längre man lever, desto färre sanningar verkar det finnas, men en sak vet jag alldeles säkert efter att ha avverkat alla dessa champagner – livet är aldeles för kort för att dricka spansk cava!”
“The longer one lives, the fewer absolute truths there seems to be, but one thing I know to be absolutely true after covering all these champagnes – life is way too short to drink Spanish cava!”

Maybe I have a very long life so I have time to spare 😉

From ” gentleman in Champagne” written by Eduard Cointreau:
Med denna enorma talang kommer även sen stor lyhördhet för andras känslor, vilket ofta är fallet med hyperbegåvade människor. Richard har en sällsam förmåga att känna och förstå andra människors personlighet och djupare och innre lager. Dessvärre för det också med sig att han kan bli djupt sårad.”
“With this immense talent also comes a great sensitivity to the feelings of others, which is often the case with hyper-talanted people Richard has a rare ability to feel and understand other people’s personalities and deeper layers. Unfortunately this also brings the fact that he can be deeply hurt.”

…Unlike the rest of us that can not understand the feelings of others or take offence when someone talks ill about something we love… Luckily I don’t get deeply hurt because I lack that social register of feelings…. 😉

From “Bra och dålig smak/Good and bad taste”

“Det är alltid väldigt bekvämt att hänvisa till personliga intryck och individnivå när man inte har tillräcklig kunskap kring hur saker och ting faktiskt förhåller sig. De flesta av oss använder oblygt värdeladdade ord som bättre och sämre när det gäller saker vi ser och hör, men när det kommer till doft och smak verkar det vara helt okej att framhärda att man gillar lågkvalitetsprodukter. Det är självklart att man skall var ärlig med sin smak och stå för om man föredrar syntetisk hallonarom istället för färska hallon, eller cava framför champagne, hur sorgligt det än är.”

“It is always very convenient to refer to personal impressions and individual level when you do not have sufficient knowledge of how things actually are. Most of us use unashamedly emotive words like good and bad when it comes to things we see and hear, but when it comes to flavour, it seems okay to insists on liking low quality products. Of course we should all be honest with our taste and admit if we prefer synthetic raspberry flavouring instead of fresh raspberries, or cava in favour of champagne, how sad that might even be.”

Ok, so if I like products within the classification champagne, cava, asti, prosecco and cap classique, but choose to see them as different products with different heritage and purpose, am I still an uneducated, untalented buffoon then…? … I guess so…

From the preface/forword:

“Jag vill betona att jag inte på något sätt känner mig förmer för att jag har begåvats med ett fotografiskt doftminne, utan är ödmjukt lycklig över att ha tilldelats en sådan gåva, med vilken jag i första hand kan skänka mig själv och andra kunskap och njutning.”

“I want to stress that I in no way fell superiour because I have been blessed with a photographic sent memory, but is humbly happy to be awarded such a gift with which I primarily can give myself and others knowledge and enjoyment.”

I am sorry all readers for leading you astray, making you think that cava is good. I’m so very sorry! 🙂

I will…
…never tell you that what you like is wrong, as long as you like it.
…never judge you based on what you eat or drink, only on your strength to stand up for what you like.  ….NEVER feel ashamed for loving cava!
…continue to work against prejudice, so we all can feel free and secure in liking what we want.
…never put points on things I drink! Seriously… why is my opinion more important than yours, even if I would become famous?

Now I will share a bottle of Mestres with my beloved Andréas, while we continue to write about our friends in Catalonia that produces the sparkling wine they call cava. I hope they lack the fantastic sensitive skill that Richard possesses, so they don’t take his comments personally…

CHEERS dear cava and champagne lovers!

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