Tag Archives: champagne

Want a Lux Super-Soaker? Get the Champagne Gun

Proving once again that everything can be taken to gratuitous excesses with just the right amount of money, and a little bit of innovation, this little gem from King of Sparklers is just the right product for those who don’t think their champagne drinking sessions contain enough phallic intensity. The Champagne Gun is set to liven up any party and bring smiles to the faces of many –except maybe connoisseurs who’ll grieve at the voluminous amounts of sparkling fluid dissipating into the air.

Girls w guns

The gun is constructed from a metal structure with a plastic shell, and a high-quality metal finish. Possible colors include chrome, gold, and rose gold. The gun can be loaded with any magnum champagne bottle (except for ‘special bottles’). While it has the spraying capacity, there’s also an alternate service spout in order to provide simple glass-refills. (This functionality makes it perfect for waiters as well, especially those facing particularly rowdy or irritating guests…)


The Champagne Gun goes at $459 each. More details can be seen on their site over here.

Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now, to learn more about Champagne and purchase your very own bottle, today.

Guide: 5 Champagne Bruts to Master

The typical season of champagne popping is behind us, although the end of winter is also worth celebrating. Our friends at Men’s Folio Singapore wanted to get better acquainted with the bubbly stuff over the festive season so they got the blindfolds out and brought on the flutes for an evening of well-mannered blind champagne tasting frivolity. We commented as we nosed and wrote, as we tasted to bring you the layperson’s guide to champagne.

G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut

What it is: Founded by three brothers Jacobus, Gottlieb, and Phillip Mumm in 1827, the House has grown to become one of the largest producers in the Champagne region. As the official sponsor of F1 racing since 2000, G.H. Mumm provides champagne bottles for podium celebrations and has since marketed itself as the champagne “created to celebrate”. With a blend of Pinot Noir (45 per cent), Chardonnay (30 per cent) and Pinot Meunier (25 per cent), the style of G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut is said to be well rounded, with a subtle balance of freshness and intensity.

What we thought about it: The bouquet opens up with light floral and white fruit notes before developing into subtle vanilla and caramel hints on the palate. All in all, it is a champagne that delivers everything you’d expect a champagne to: smooth, refreshing, with the right amount of bubbles. Having said that, it doesn’t possess any qualities that make it stand out. Comments from the panel include, “smooth”, “goes down easy” and “pleasantly average”.

Veuve Clicquot Brut

What it is: In 1772, House founder, Philippe Clicquot placed an advertisement in the Gazette de France announcing that he was “founding a wine merchant business in Champagne, under the label Clicquot” and that he was offering to go to all four corners of the kingdom to take the fine taste of champagne wines to foreigners. A short lineage of just 10 cellar masters has led this quest for quality to ensure the continuity of Veuve Clicquot’s style: strength and complexity. This strength comes through in the House’s heavy use of Pinot Noir (50 to 55 per cent) for its Brut Yellow Label, giving it aggressive and forceful notes.

What we thought about it: The champagne bursts with apple aromas, which lingers long after you’ve taken the first sip. The general consensus was that there was a distinct separation of flavours such as vanilla and apple hints as well as a creamy mouthfeel. Comments from the panel include, “good but not amazing”, “wide range of elaborate flavours” and “pleasant but with a relatively short finish”.

Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial

What it is: Moët & Chandon is one of Champagne’s oldest Grandes Marques. Established in 1743 by Claude Moët, the House of Moët has extensive vineyard holdings throughout Champagne today, producing over 30 million bottles annually. Created from more than 100 different wines, this champagne is a balanced blend of 30 to 40 per cent Pinot Noir, 30 to 40 per cent Pinot Meunier and 20 to 30 per cent Chardonnay, making it very approachable with bright fruitiness and elegant maturity.

What we thought about it: The Moët & Chandon Brut Impérial boasts of strong citrus notes, but dies off almost as quickly as it bursts on to the palate. The mouthfeel had quite a bit more bite than expected, something that is probably due to, what one panellist suggested, “excessive bubbles that felt more fizzy than it should”. Due to its intense sweetness, it was agreed across the board that this would feel rather “jelak” (a term to describe being satiated by something that’s too rich) after the third glass.

Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut

What it is: Produced in the Épernay region of Champagne, and dating back to 1811, Perrier-Jouët consistently produces excellent champagnes with a style that it likes to boast – floral, stylish, and diamond-cut. Making use of its predominantly Chardonnay blend, harvested from the best plots on the Côte des Blanc, the Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut reveals itself in subtle floral and fruity fragrances that pair well with flavours of Bresse poultry, and the sweetness of vanilla notes.

What we thought about it: The general opinion of this champagne was that it was refined and balanced with fruity aromas of “peach” and “plum”. It came across as subtle wine and wasn’t, at all, bubbly, which “doesn’t give it much of a mouthfeel”. All in all, the Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut is a refined champagne that, as one panellist described quite aptly, “is like a refined, high-end tai tai who is so mysterious and complex, you can’t help but feel drawn to”.

Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut

What it is: Piper-Heidsieck Maison was founded by Florens-Louis Heidsieck in 1785 in Reims. He was a self-educated man, overcome with the incredible ambition “to make a cuvée worthy of a queen”. Over the years, Piper-Heidsieck champagne developed its identity and a reputation of being classic, structured, full-bodied, and bursting with fruity notes, as characterised by its Cuvée Brut that is composed of a majority of Pinots Noirs, incorporating more than 100 crus from around the Champagne region and Pinots Meuniers from the Grande et Petite Montagne de Reims region. The Maison has long had an association with film after first appearing in 1934’s Sons of the Desert and with Marilyn Monroe famously proclaiming to “wake up with a glass of Piper-Heidsieck”.

What we thought about it: A bold champagne with vibrant acidity and bold white fruit flavours of pear and apple. However, it is a champagne that is much drier than refreshing, something that caught the entire panel off guard given its rich golden colour and fine bubbles, which prompted one to say that, “looks can be rather deceiving”.


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Record Sales of Champagne in 2015: Report

Grape-growers can rejoice as champagne sales hit a new record thanks to growing overseas thirst and exploding exports of the French-bubbly. Well, growers in Champagne at least!

From a report on Wednesday, February 17, a total of 4.75 billion euros ($5.29 billion) worth of champagne was sold last year, a 5.6% increase from 2014. In terms of bottles, though, the volume was a 1.7% increase, as 312.5 million bottles were shipped compared with 307.2 million in 2014. 2007 was the record year for bottles shipped, but the total value was a mere 4.56 billion euros. We use the word ‘mere’ loosely, obviously.

Unsurprisingly, December was once again the bubbliest month of the year, with 42 million bottles sold.

It seems buyers are starting to hanker for a bit more class and refinement, as “rarer, more expensive” lots such as rose, prestige, and vintage champagnes rise in popularity. “These faraway markets are prepared to pay the right price for a product that represents the French Art of living to them,” Thibaut Le Mailloux of the Comite Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC), an organization involved in the champagne industry, commented.

Sales outside of the EU, notably, were up by 4.8%, reaching a record of 70.5 million bottles. In Europe itself, sales went up 3.3% to 80.2 million bottles, and within France, sales stayed level at 162 million bottles, after consecutive years of declining sales. The higher average price per bottle can be partially attributed to transportation costs.

CIVIC co-president Jean-Marie Barillere commented in December that the value was likely to grow faster than volume “in the decades to come”. Whatever the costs are, we can be sure that admirers of the sparkling fluid will be popping those corks still.

This story was written in-house, based on a report from the AFP. Stock image courtesy of the AFP


Time to get your own! Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now. , learn more about Champagne and purchase your very own bottle, today.

Oscars Champagne by Piper-Heidsieck

Everyone is waiting in anticipation for the 88th Academy Awards. Will this be the year Leonardo DiCaprio finally clinches the Oscar he so rightly deserves? Who will top the best-dressed list? Will there be a string of no-shows in support of diversity in Hollywood?

We may not have the answers to them till later this month but one thing we know for sure though: Piper-Heidsieck will be producing a very special edition of its Cuvee Brut to be served at the award ceremony. Only 1,000 magnums of the “Red Carpet Edition” will flow during the Oscars on February 28, to calm the nerves of Hollywood and toast in their success.This comes on the heels of Wolfgang Puck’s Oscar after-party menu revelation earlier this month.

“We are thrilled to celebrate a momentous occasion with a momentous bottle, one that reflects the Academy and the House’s shared value of excellence,” says Benoit Collard, Global Executive Director Piper-Heidsieck. “These magnums are as grand and bold as the films and performances we are celebrating this year.”

Interview: Antoine Roland-Billecart for Billecart-Salmon

You’re not alone if you’ve never heard of Billecart-Salmon – and that’s not a bad thing. “I believe the great aspect about us is that, there are still a lot of people who do not know about Billecart-Salmon, but ask any wine connoisseurs, they all know.” Antoine Roland-Billecart, the sixth generation of the 197-year old Champagne House explains over breakfast at the Raffles Grill at Raffles Hotel. “We are the preferred Champagne to be served here. There are so many brands that want to be here but the head sommelier here made a quality decision,” he adds. The next time you’re looking at a wine list, try looking for Billecart-Salmon and chances are, you’ll only find it at selective establishments.

As one of the oldest Champagne houses to remain independent, Roland-Billecart says that the key is to have a very strong personality in taste, to keep improving on the quality of the current offering, and not expanding the range. Here, the man himself shares the story of his family business with our friends at Yacht Style.

What sets Billecart-Salmon apart?

Its personality. The wine profile is unique, it is elegant, and that is because we are very specific with the freshness and concentration of the fruit. For Champagne, you have to respect the fruit as much as possible because it’s very fragile with a very specific acid concentration. That is why we have a very slow vinification process. To give you a rough idea, what others can do in one month, it will take us two. It is possible to shorten the time but the result will not be optimized. We will never release any cuvee just because we need to; we’d rather make them wait. The other thing is the ageing process: our basic cuvée takes about 32 to 35 months of ageing in the cellar when others usually take about 18 to 20 months. It’s a longer ageing process but it is very important for the quality of our champagne.


What is Champagne to you?

Traditionally, Champagne is very much associated with celebration. Today, however, it has gotten into most of our day-to-day lifestyle. It’s like a watch; you start from a Swatch to luxury timepiece Breguet – there’s a wide assortment in between. Likewise, you can start with a US$15 bottle to those that cost US$600. Some 34,000 ha in Champagne are used to produce Champagne and there are over 310 million bottles produced yearly.

How do you think Champagne has forged its relationship with fashion? 
When I started working in Paris, I was organising receptions for fashion shows. At the end, when VIPs and friends came backstage to congratulate the designers, there was always Champagne. Champagne is a symbol of elegance and we’re more than happy to be related to fashion. If you are talking about Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Prada… they’re only going for Champagne, and not other sparkling wines.

What type of audience are you targeting?

There’s a resort on a private island in French Polynesia called The Brando, which belongs to the late actor Marlon Brando’s family. The price to stay there is $25,000 per night and everything is complimentary, including our free-flow Champagne. I asked them why do they want to specifically select only Billecart-Salmon. They say it goes with the clientele, who are mostly Americans, Chinese and Russians. These are people who can afford, but do not want to be seen; they choose to vacation in the resort because not everyone can be there, and it’s even harder to know who is there. They know their guests will like Billecart-Salmon because these people are not looking for a commercial brand. Having said that, it is even clearer why we’re producing quality, not quantity, that focuses on luxury and exclusivity. Luxury is becoming more and more important in today’s lifestyle, it will never end, and we’re already there.


Champagne Taittinger Goes British

French champagne house Taittinger – James Bond’s bubbly of choice – announced shocking plans to produce fine English sparkling wines December 8. The Reims-based firm will become the first Champagne house to make such a bold move with the purchase of farmland in Kent.

Established in 1734, Taittinger said it had teamed up with British wine company Hatch Mansfield and private investors to purchase 69 hectares (170 acres) of farmland at Stone Stile Farm in Kent, south east England.

Forty hectares of this will be planted with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines to produce sparkling wine, said the company.

“We have dreamt for a number of years of working with our dear friends in the UK to create a special Franco/British project,” said Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, president of Champagne Taittinger.

“We believe we can produce a high quality English sparkling wine drawing on our 80 years of winemaking expertise.

“Our aim is to make something of real excellence in the UK’s increasingly temperate climate, and not to compare it with Champagne or any other sparkling wine,” he added.

The company said it had chosen the former apple farm, close to Canterbury, due to a combination of soil, climate and topography.

“The plots to be planted are a maximum of 80 meters above sea level, with chalk soil and south-facing slopes, creating an ideal ‘terroir’ to plant and grow high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier vines,” it said.

The first fruit for winemaking is expected to be available in 2020 and bottled in 2021, with 300,000 bottles to be produced per year when fully operational. Britain is second only to France in consumption of Champagne, with retailers shipping 32.7 million bottles in 2014.

Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now, to learn more about Champagne and purchase your very own bottle, today.

#OpenTheNow: Moët & Chandon launches new film campaign with Roger Federer

French champagne house Moët & Chandon has a new campaign that might be called Carpe Diem. Instead, it is called The Now and employs FedEx to deliver the thrills. As always, Roger Federer delivers. Here’s how our friends at Men’s Folio are describing this piece of bubbly news: Success always comes to those who keep looking forward but never forget about enjoying the present and that is the inspiration behind Moët & Chandon’s new campaign, The Now.

Life is all about seizing the moment in time that is ‘now’ and to revel in the thrill of living. To celebrate this incredible notion, Moët & Chandon released a new campaign film to urge us all to stop for a second to enjoy life as it is.

Used mainly for celebratory purposes, Moët & Chandon wants to break that notion down and show us that we never really need a special reason to pop a good bottle of champagne because everything in life is worth celebrating – be it a job promotion or just over brunch with family and friends.

This film (see above) titled ‘The Now’ stars Moët & Chandon’s global brand ambassador Roger Federer in a stream of celebrations around New York City to show us what defines ‘now.’

We have to say that we are convinced. After all, what can be better after a long day of work than a glass of bubbly from Moët.

Experience ‘The Now’ yourself at www.moet.com.

Krug cellars

Century-old Krug champagne sold for $116,000

Krug cellars

A bottle of 1915 Krug champagne went under the hammer for $116,375 in New York, one of just four left in the cellars of the sparkling drink makers.

The lot sold Friday also included a tasting journey for four people who will enjoy the bottle on location in France’s northeastern Champagne region.

In 2011, a bottle of 1841 Veuve Clicquot 1841 was purchased for a record 30,000 euros ($43,000). And two 1959 Dom Perignon Rose bottles fetched $84,700 at wine auctioneers Acker Merrall & Condit in 2008.

The Veuve Clicquot bottle had spent an estimated 180 years under water in the hold of a schooner off the Finnish coast.

The Krug bottle, sold during a Sotheby’s auction, never left the House of Krug cellars, today managed by luxury conglomerate LVMH.

The anonymous buyer of the bottle will visit the House of Krug for two days with three guests.

In addition to the Private Cuvee 1915, the buyer will also taste some of the rarest and most refined drinks made there, as well as a meal prepared by Arnaud Lallement at his restaurant L’Assiette Champenoise.

MCIII champagne

The MCIII champagne by Moët & Chandon

MCIII champagne

Moët & Chandon has launched a completely new and futuristic-inspired vintage champagne named MCIII. The new beverage was born from blending three different wines, grown and aged in metal, wood and glass.

The Moët & Chandon house founded by Claude Moët in 1743 is used to creating surprise in the wine world. In 2010, the prestigious producer shocked purists by presenting an extra chilled nectar specially created to consume with ice cubes called “Moët Ice Imperial.” For traditional wine experts, the notion of pouring champagne over ice was considered heresy.

A new recipe signed Moët & Chandon

In a completely different spirit, the brand has handled the fall 2015 harvests in a very original manner. The brand’s Chef de Cave has decided to innovate within the kinds of materials used for wine aging.

The new champagne contains 37% of chardonnay and pinot noir vinified in stainless steel vats. “This layer endows an intense fruity dimension to the wine that evokes the sophistication and the sparkle of summer”.

MCIII champagne bottle

The new blend will also contain a high proportion of “Grand Vintage” wines hailing from 1998, 2000 and 2002 partially matured in oak barrels. The final ingredients include champagnes from the bottled Grand Vintage collection dating from the 1999, 1998 and 1993 vintages.

The luxury producer notes that “this layer completes the balance of the blend. Deep and roasted notes reinforce the remarkable impression of maturity while enhancing the vitality.”

The resulting product is exquisite. The color of the wine is a beautiful yellow with a golden glow and the bubbles are fine. In glass, the wine releases coffee, malt and hazelnut aromas as well as notes of pecan and citrus fruit. In mouth, the nectar recalls candied citrus fruits, particularly dry fig and the finish is mineral.


The new Moët & Chandon cuvee has been named “MCIII”, in reference to the initials of the house and the three-layer blending process and has matured in the cellars for 10 years.

The MCIII is available directly from Moët & Chandon at 450 euros.

See more Moët & Chandon on Epicurio, purchase your very own bottle, today


Italian prosecco overtakes champagne in Britain


Italian sparkling wine prosecco has overtaken champagne for the first time in Britain, with sales far outstripping its French rival, according to research released on Wednesday.

Sales of prosecco jumped 72 percent in value in the year to mid-July, reaching £339 million ($532 million), US research company IRI found.

“Prosecco is a fashionable drink that provides a cheaper and excellent quality alternative to champagne,” said IRI analyst Toby Magill.

“It’s no wonder that it now outpaces champagne in value as well as volume and is being chosen above champagne at weddings. It’s quickly becoming the nation’s summer drink of choice.”

In contrast, sales of champagne rose just 1.2 percent year-on-year, with total sales worth £250 million.

When measured by volume, prosecco had already outstripped champagne.

This trend accelerated with a 78 percent rise in the volume of prosecco sold, amounting to 37.3 million litres compared to a 0.4 percent drop in champagne to 9.8 million litres.

Nevertheless, the two most popular brands of champagne, Lanson and Moet, still managed to increase their sales, indicating that consumers were turning away from cheaper champagne lacking the “brand cachet” to compete with prosecco, IRI said.


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Champagne Vineyards

Champagne granted world heritage status by Unesco

Champagne Vineyards

The historic vineyards, wine cellars and champagne houses where the world’s most famous sparking wines are produced were listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO on Saturday.

The vineyards of Burgundy were also crowned with the same prestigious distinction by the UN cultural body in the German city of Bonn.

UNESCO said the champagne’s world heritage status covers “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.”

The rolling hills of the northern French Champagne region, where the grapes for the sought-after bubbly are grown, have already some of the most expensive agricultural land in Europe.

But inclusion on UNESCO’s vaunted list can bring further economic benefits, because as well as being a powerful tourist draw, world heritage sites are eligible for financial assistance towards preservation.

The World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn also granted the status to two sites in Iran — the troglodyte settlements of Maymand and the ancient city of Susa — as well as Singapore’s Botanical Gardens and the Great Burkhan Khaldun Mountain sacred landscape in Mongolia.

Vineyards in the Champagne region

Life can be perfect

Win a “Perfect Moment” by Bollinger on a private flight

Life can be perfect

From 14 January to 18 February 2015, Champagne Bollinger is giving its fans the chance to take part in a competition on its Facebook page.

Available in France and worldwide, the competition app gives internet users the opportunity to answer three questions about the history and heritage of the House. Enter the competition.

A single winner, drawn at random from the correct answers, will be invited to enjoy a very special moment with the brand — winning a trip abroad a private jet to watch a total eclipse of the sun from the stratosphere!

For more information, visit champagne-bollinger.com

champagne cork

Champagne sales rise as economy picks up

champagne cork

The world tipped back the equivalent of 308 million bottles of bubbly in 2014, the second highest total on record according to provisional figures.

After experiencing a slow decline over the last few years, new statistics from The Comité Champagne show that consumers went back to sipping the real stuff — proper champagne — last year.

Champagne sales rose by one percent in 2014 compared to the year prior.

In value terms, sales reached €4.5 billion this year, up from €4.3 billion in 2013 —  the second highest annual total on record after 2007.

Experts also predict that, for the first time, more champagne will be exported than will be consumed in France this year.

Driving the growth are markets like the US, Japan and Australia – champagne’s fastest growing markets.

Download the Epicurio app on iTunes or Google Play now, to learn more about Champagne and purchase your very own bottle, today.

Perrier Jouet Grand Brut and Blason Rose

Perrier-Jouët presents the “Enchanting Nature” Cases

Perrier Jouet Grand Brut and Blason Rose

For the holidays,  tapped Dutch designer Tord Boontje to create a pair of special presentation cases for their Grand Brut and Blason Rosé cuvées that evoke gardens, petals, flowers and fruit trees.

The limited edition cases possess isothermal properties to keep the champagne at an ideal drinking temperature.

The Enchanted Nature Cases launched in December across their main international distribution markets.


Jean Philippe Moulin Champagne

Ex-Ruinart winemaker launches his own champagne line

Jean Philippe Moulin Champagne

A former winemaker for RUINART, Mumm and Maison Perrier-Jouët has created his own line of champagne thanks to a crowdfunding campaign.

With street cred from some of the most prestigious champagne houses in the world, Jean Philippe Moulin gained the trust of crowd-funding platform Nakedwines.com, where investors forked over €500,000 to get his line of bubbly off the ground.

Jean Philippe Moulin

The result is a series of four new champagnes baptized Jean Philipe Moulin Champagne that includes a Blanc de Blanc, a non-vintage Brut, Rosé Champagne, and vintage Champagne.

Nakedwines.com could be described as the Kickstarter for wine, as the crowd-funding platform allows wine lovers to fund promising, independent winemakers in exchange for wholesale prices.

Jean Philippe Moulin champagne range

To repay his investors, Moulin is offering special prices exclusively for his ‘angels,” starting at $29.99 for the bottle of non-vintage Brut.

So far, the champagne has received a top rating, with 96 percent of 67 sippers saying they would buy it again.

See more champagne on Epicurio, Download the app on iTunes or Google Play now, and purchase your very own bottle, today.

B for Bubbly Bath #MoetMoment

Moët & Chandon bubbles with style from A to Z

B for Bubbly Bath #MoetMoment

For this holiday season, Moët & Chandon will be treating you like a royal!

The French champagne Maison has just revealed “So Bubbly Bath”, a limited edition that adorns the iconic Moët Impérial with a burst of vivacious bubbles that will inspire and enliven the most luxurious parties.

To elevate the season’s festivities with spirit and style, Moët & Chandon has launched a series of glamorous tips on its Facebook and Instagram accounts (@moetchandon) – an imperial A-to-Z style guide – shared with champagne lovers around the world.

G for Gold #MoetMoment

The end-of-year season has never been so bubbly – enjoy and share the magic with #MoetMoment!

champagne cork

Champagne labels demystified

champagne cork

For food and wine enthusiasts, the holidays are the time to pull out all the stops and delight guests’ taste buds.

And when it comes to this, nothing beats a bottle of bubbly. But with so many  to choose from, and such cryptic phrases on the labels, non-experts are often overwhelmed.

Here, we unravel the mystery behind the vocabulary of champagne labels.

Blanc de noirs

On a champagne bottle, this phrase indicates the use of Pinot Meunier or Pinot Noir grapes. Both of these varieties are red grapes with white juices.

Surprising though it may seem, champagne may indeed be made from red grapes. A “Blanc de noirs” champagne may combine Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier for a powerful and heady wine, or may contain only Pinot Noir.

Blanc de noirs champagnes go particularly well with caviar and cured meats.

Blanc de blancs

Like the “Blanc de noirs,” the phrase “Blanc de blancs” indicates the grape variety used — in this case, Chardonnay.

A white grape with white juices, Chardonnay typically produces crisp, elegant wines. Sometimes described as feminine, wines made with the Chardonnay grape are ideal for accompanying refined dishes.

A “Blanc des blancs” champagne is a perfect complement to oysters, for example, or to the delicate flavors of fish.

Millésimé or Vintage

In addition to blending different grape varieties, the winemakers of Champagne often blend wines made from the harvests of different years, a practice that sets them apart from other French producers.

Champagne producers keep a reserve of wine in their cellars to carry over the aromas from one year to the next.

But sometimes, namely when the harvest has been of an exceptional quality, they choose to make wine from the grapes of a single year.

These wines are labelled either as “Millésimé” or “Vintage.” They tend to have more character than other champagnes and should be served with refined delicacies or to celebrate a momentous occasion.

Brut nature

Typically found under the name of the Champagne house or winemaker on the label, the phrase “Brut nature” or “Zéro dosage” indicates a minimal amount of sugar added in the last step of the vinification process.

Depending on the dosage, champagne may be brut (dry), demi-sec (semi-sweet) or doux (sweet). When less than 3 grams of sugar are added per liter, the champagne is labeled as “Brut nature.”

Champagnes with this distinction are known for particularly pronounced flavors, which permeate the palate.


Those with an eye for detail may have noticed several different abbreviations on champagne labels. All of these two-letter designations describe the producer’s professional profile.

To simplify, the wine may be produced by a champagne house that purchases grapes from growers or by individual winemakers who grow their own grapes. Generally speaking, these abbreviations may provide an initial idea of the champagne’s character.

Champagne from an individual winemaker (RM for “récoltant manipulant”) is more likely to stand out for a unique character and a reflection of “terroir,” as it is more likely to be made of grapes from only one or two harvests.



armand de brignac bottles

Jay Z buys champagne brand Armand de Brignac

armand de brignac bottles

Jay Z is now the owner of a luxury champagne brand colloquially known as the Ace of Spades, after New York-based spirits company Sovereign Brands sold its stake of Armand de Brignac to the hip hop star.

Shawn ‘Jay Z’ Carter has a long history with the brand, having played an instrumental role in its launch eight years ago by featuring the bubbly in his 2006 video “Show Me What You Got.”

His allegiance to the brand, produced by Champagne Cattier, came following a high-profile split with Cristal after the company snubbed its increasingly dominant market of urban hip hop fans.


Armand de Brignac is recognizable by its distinctive pewter Ace of Spades insignia and bottles are hand-crafted by a staff of eight at the Cattier family house in Chigny-les-Roses, France.

Champagne De Sousa's Umami champagne

Champagne house launches bubbly inspired by umami

Champagne De Sousa's Umami champagne

A champagne house in France has borrowed the concept of umami to produce a limited run of bubbly that likewise aims to replicate the fifth taste and serve as a pairing for umami-rich foods.

The Champagne De Sousa’s wine Umami is made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes and attributes its minerality, salinity and maturity to the vineyard’s 50-year-old soil as well as biodynamic farming.

Biodynamic winemaking methods — that includes timing harvests with the phases of the moon —  are said to increase the development of sugars and acid in the grapes via mycorrhizal activity, or the symbiotic relationship between fungi and plant roots.


In 1985, umami was formally accepted as the fifth taste by the scientific community, and can be used to characterize foods that produce a “pleasantly savory” and “earthy” flavor profile.

The term was first coined by Japanese scientist Kikunae Ikeda in the early 20th century to describe foods rich in glutamate such as soy sauce, miso, shiitake mushrooms and aged cheeses that produce sensations like salivation and can stimulate the throat and roof of the mouth.

And while the delicate, inscrutable flavors of umami can pose a challenge for the wine world, Champagne De Sousa, out of Avize, France, has produced a Cuvée Umami Grand Cru Millesime 2009 Extra Brut that aims to stimulate the same moreish, fifth taste profile.

Champagne Umami has already become the toast of the wine world, winning a silver award at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards for its “… inviting nose with aromas of beeswax, apricots and a touch of incense. Big and weighty with dried and caramelized apricots and biscuit on the palate. Sprightly and dynamic with real personality.”

Umami starts with aromas of honey and caramel before leading to subtle notes of toast, apple, pear, and citrus fruits, and red fruits.

The winery has produced a limited run of about 7,000 bottles and 1,181 magnums. Bottles retail for 142 euros.

MUMM Announces Partnership With David Guetta

Mumm champagne taps David Guetta for endorsement

MUMM Announces Partnership With David Guetta

Champagne house  is hoping to capture a younger, more dynamic demographic after teaming up with French DJ David Guetta in a partnership that will see its brand of bubbly featured in his new MV.

The partnership with a figure from the music industry marks a first for the champagne house.

With Mumm being a sponsor of Formula One, the track for upcoming single Dangerous features Guetta taking part in a F1 race.

Guetta plays a F1 race car driver surrounded by fast cars, beautiful women and, of course, indiscriminate popping of corks and bubbly.

Mumm is perhaps hoping that Guetta will do for it what hip hop artists like Nelly, Drake, Soulja Boy and Gucci Mane did for Moscato wines — turn it into the brand of choice for the electronic music crowd.