Champagne lockdown indulgence | Alistair Gibson

Wine sales for home consumption have significantly increased since lockdown.

Thursday, 18th June 2020, 4:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th June 2020, 4:43 pm
Taittinger Brut Reserve NV

Several independent wine merchants have told me they had a few weeks in May where sales were almost on a par with the Christmas trading period.

However, sales of sparkling wine, and in particular Champagne, have almost come to a standstill.

Champagne has long been seen as a celebration wine and, let’s be honest, there’s not been an awful lot to celebrate recently.

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Louis Latour Mâcon-Lugny Les Genièvres 2018

As it turns out though I had something to celebrate over the weekend, and it occurred to me that a half bottle of Champagne would work very well, a treat without being over indulgent.

Half bottles of Champagne have long been a feature on restaurant wine lists but can also now be increasingly found on supermarket shelves.

Taittinger is one of the last remaining independent great Champagne houses and Taittinger Brut Reserve NV (Waitrose £22, champagnedirect.co.uk £20.50) has long been one of my favourite non-vintage Champagnes.

It is made from a blend of all three classic Champagne grapes, with chardonnay being the dominant grape, and aged for between three to four years before release. What marks this wine out is its elegance. There is a constant steam of tiny bubbles with a bouquet which offers citrus fruits, apple, and some freshly baked biscuit aromas, before a really elegant, light, well balanced palate with a good depth and a lingering finish.

Kaapzicht Estate Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2018, Stellenbosch

A delicious aperitif and the half bottle seemed so appropriate.

Staying with classic wine styles, I opened a bottle of Louis Latour Mâcon-Lugny Les Genièvres 2018 (Hennings Wine £12.99, Fareham Wine Cellar £14.50) this week and it reminded me how consistent this wine has been over the many years I’ve been tasting it.

From one of the great names in Burgundy, this has pear, citrus, and some toasty nutty aromas on the nose followed by quite a broad palate with pears and a touch of honey and some juicy acidity.

This Saturday is Drink Chenin Blanc Day and I will be raising a glass of Kaapzicht Estate Bush Vine Chenin Blanc 2018, Stellenbosch (Waitrose £13.99). The nose is so inviting with pineapple, ripe orchard fruits and a little spice, followed by a textured palate with some weight, crunchy acidity, and a long, creamy finish.

Try this with some poached salmon terrine or pan roasted scallops.

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