Category: Wine

Abbaye de Fontfroide, Narbonne

This is a post in the Spotlight on: Languedoc-Roussillon series

The Abbaye de Fontfroid is an abbey near Narbonne that can trace its roots back to the Cistercian order. It was during the Cistercian period that the abbey started its wine making journey.

Now wine is only a small part of the family owned but foundation run estate, with around 80,000 bottles produced per year.

Instead, tourism has taken over as the main source of income. These days, you’re more likely to be at the Abbaye de Fontfroide for concerts and art exhibitions than for wine. In fact, for a while, the abbey operated as a sort of artists’ retreat as its then owner was very much into the arts.

You can still taste a selection of wines in its boutique or at its restaurant though, where there are 12 wines to choose from.

The Ocellus Blanc 2012 was a little off balance with noticeably high alcohol but only a little citrus fruit and minerality coming to its rescue. The Deo Gratias Rouge 2o10 was much more palatable with vibrant red fruits coming through though it could be a little more elegant.

www.fontfroide.com

Spotlight on: Languedoc-Roussillon

Earlier this year I went to the Languedoc-Roussillon for a tour around an eclectic mix of vineyards and wineries.

Vineyard, Abbaye de Valmagne, Villeveyrac

Although I had written about wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon before on here and elsewhere, being at the winery and actually seeing the different philosophies on wine making has really helped me get into the heart of it.

What was most interesting, for me, was the fact that while there were plenty of wineries that had been making wines as far back as the 12th Century, it feels very much like an emerging wine region. Much of it has come down to the fact that many of the younger generation of wine makers aren’t so set in their ways about how they made wines and were happy to experiment. What’s more, the region’s mix of AOC and IGP statuses allowed them to without prejudice. They’re not trading on century old brands but rather, cult statuses.

With that in mind, I thought it was rather apt to gather some small postings about the wineries in the region I visited and written about (more to be posted in coming weeks):

 Abbaye de Fontfroide

Abbaye de Valmagne

Cazes

Château d’Anglès

Château de Flaugergues

Château de Lastours

Château de l’Hospitalet

Château Les Carrasses

Château Mourgues du Grès

Château Pennautier

Domaine Gayda

Domaine Haut Gleon

Paul Mas

Riberach

Brancott Estate, capturing the premium market

Brancott Estate at The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

Brancott Estate is one of those brands that established a bit of a cult status while your parents were just finding their wine feet.

Ok, maybe not that long because Brancott Estate as a brand has only existed for a few years; prior to that it was Montana. But there is some truth in the cult status.

One lady I spoke to said that all of the wines at her wedding were from Brancott Estate because she loved them so much. Of course when she chose the wines, they were still Montana. Evidently the transition between the brands has been pretty smooth.

The irony is, while Brancott Estate has managed to hold to this cult status, it’s in fact a mass market brand. Apart from being incredibly readily available, it’s also produced in that global, world dominating way – in bulk.

 

So why this cult status?

Well unlike your average Blossom Hill, the company is always trying to differentiate itself with different wine experiments. Something that Jacob’s Creek has also tried to do with its Reserve label, albeit with less success.

Chosen Rows, Brancott Estate at The Modern Pantry, Clerkenwell

As well as the mass market product, which happens to be quite good, it also regularly releases smaller quantities of more premium wines. A few months ago it was the Brancott Estate Chosen Rows and last year it was a new dessert wine not yet available in the UK.

While these wines aren’t super premium, they are hitting the top end of the market for your every day wines – around £30.

Unlike the artificial inflation of the prices of Chanel bags, the pricing isn’t just a marketing strategy – it is a more premium product.

The wines are produced in much smaller quantities in comparison to its mass market products with a lot more hands on wine making involved. Hands on being the operative phrase as the grapes are harvested by hand rather than machine.

The most important point is that they’re designed to have mass market appeal. The wines are pleasant, interesting but not too challenging. The price is a little steep but not insurmountable.

 

Is it just good market(ing) sense?

Of course some of it is down to clever marketing.

The name Brancott Estate offers the wine provenance. We envisage that the wine is from an estate called Brancott with perhaps a big Chateaux-style house, even if it’s not, and automatically attribute history, and by extension, experience to it.

The realities of the quantities produced are still pretty big compared to the small artisan growers out there. With the brand’s large overreaching arm, it’s able to distribute its wines across the globe, creating an illusion of scarcity.

That is not to say that the products aren’t good. Because they are. And that’s where it really hits home.

A selection of quality wines, accessible in more ways than one and yet scarce at the same time. Is there any better way to capture a premium market?

Brancott Estate hosted a series of events over a period of months to introduce their new wines. Amateur Wine was a guest at the events. You can find out more in our Editorial Policy.

Franciacorta: A different perspective on our favourite bubbles

When you think about sparkling wines and Italy, Prosecco will no doubt be the first thing which comes to mind. But for fine Italian bubbles, you should really look to Franciacorta.

Franciacorta, a wine region in Lombardy just south of Lake Iseo, is a place whose still wines have been noted in history by the likes of Virgil and Pliny the Elder for its exceptional quality. But in recent times, it is their sparkling wines which have brought the region back in vogue.

Wines of the region were only denominated as Franciacorta in 1957, when winemaker Guido Berlucchi released a still white wine called Pinot di Franciacorta. Then in 1961, with the help of Franco Ziliani, Berlucchi produced a sample 3,000 bottles of sparkling wines. The wines, produced via metodo classico (the same method as champagne), gained instant popularity and flew out of the Berlucchi cellars. The following year, production was increased to some 20,000 and has been steadily increasing since.

Standards of Franciacorta have always been maintained though. And in 1995, Franciacorta was awarded the DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) status as an indication of its superior quality.

Charcuterie and Franciacorta wine glass at Dego, London

These days, a handful of Franciacorta producers lay claim to an output of around 13 million bottles – only a tiny fraction compared to Champagne. But just like Champagne, it is the only Italian wine which doesn’t need to declare its appellation on the label.

The pedigree all looks very good on paper but what does it taste like?

In conversations and tastings with the sommeliers at the very Italian Amaranto and Degò, the feedback has always been very positive. The little known sparkling wine, hidden like an Italian secret, has quality that’s comparable to that of Champagne but at a snip of the price. And elsewhere, including in the likes of award winning journal The World of Fine Wine, the consensus is in agreement – Franciacorta is a more than worthy contender on the platform of sparkling wines.

I invited Tom Harrow of WineChap to Vini Italiani, a South Kensington wine shop specialising in Italian wines, for a tasting of Franciacorta. One of the owners, Matteo Berlucchi, is in fact a member of the Franciacorta making family Fratelli Berlucchi so bubbles were certainly in their veins.

Harrow, already familiar with Franciacorta, was immediately happy to declare 2012 as the year for it. I was inclined to agree.

Franciacorta at Vini Italiani

We tasted the Brut 25 NV Fratelli Berlucchi, Brut NV Il Mosnel, Prima Cuvee Brut NV Monte Rossa, Brut Rose Millesimato 2007 Fratelli Berlucchi, Pas Dose Riserva “QDE” 2004 Il Mosnel and Dosage Zero 2006 Ca’ del Bosco. Each had its distinct characteristic, minerality and a rich butteriness that the average Prosecco simply cannot comprehend. And fruit too, was surprisingly prominent.

Harrow, I think, was rather captured by their structure. The Dosage Zero 2006 Ca’ del Bosco, he says, would happily rest for a few more years before maturity. Generally finding pink to be a deterrent, I actually quite fancied the Brut Rose Millesimato 2007 Fratelli Berlucchi for drinking right now (Valentine’s Day in particular). All in all, a rather tasty afternoon’s work.

Of course that is not to say that this relatively young wine is comparable to the finest Champagnes, which by its very nature is in a superior category. But as Harrow rightly said, to compare Franciacorta with anything else simply doesn’t do it justice – it is unlike anything else on the market. And for something which has only been in production for a relatively short time, Franciacorta is already very good and has great potential to grow. Besides, a different interpretation of our favourite drink is never a bad thing

(First seen on BespokeRSVP)

The Chinese Wine Market: an update from Château d’Anglés

 

Map of the South of France, Languedoc wines at Apero, Ampersand Hotel

Not long ago, I attended a tasting and dinner at Ampersand Hotel focusing on Languedoc AOC in the South of France. Specifically, we tasted a selection of wines from Corbières Boutenac AOC, La Clape AOC and Minervois La Livinière AOC.

I had the great fortune of sitting next to Vianney Fabre from Château d’Anglés, who was happy to discuss the Chinese wine market at great length.

Château d’Anglés has the pedigree

Château d’Anglés is a family owned vineyard in La Clape AOC. The owner and winemaker, Eric Fabre, was once winemaker at Château Lafite Rothschild. The pedigree, as you can imagine, is impeccable.

Vianney is the youngest of four siblings and worked for a while as the export manager at Bollinger. After joining the family business, he started looking after the sales side of things for Château d’Anglés, for which he spends much of his year travelling.

Menu, Languedoc wines at Apero, Ampersand Hotel

Château d’Anglés in China

China was a region that Château d’Anglés had always planned on entering. Part of the Château d’Anglés strategy was globalisation, spreading risk across multiple markets. Their foresight and knowledge about the local market is really quite impressive.

For China, the planning started some ten years ago with actualisation around six. They’re currently working with Jebsen Fine Wines on long term strategies, with a focus on the “second cities”. That is, outside the obvious targets of Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong; though obviously those are still important.

I was excited to learn that the city I was born in, Chengdu, was definitely on their agenda; their wines will have to fight hard against the heavily Sichuan-peppered cuisine though.

The scene in China

Having just returned from an extensive sales trip to China, Vianney had some great insights into the Chinese wine market.

The biggest contrast between the UK and China is arguably culture, and this translates across to the wine market too.

Rather than purchasing wines from the supermarket or wine merchant as we might do here, the majority of the consumption comes from gifting. Gifting, corporate or otherwise, is indeed big business in China, especially around major festivals or holidays.

The other key market has been the army, which actually surprised me.

Wine doesn’t immediately strike me as the ideal choice for Chinese food when traditional Chinese offerings such as baijiu are an option but apparently it’s all down to ABV. Wine’s ABV peaks at around 15% while baijiu is more like 52%; less alcohol, less people getting drunk.

So what’s next?

Languedoc wines at Apero, Ampersand Hotel

As previously mentioned, Château d’Anglés is really focusing on the secondary cities and part of that is educating consumers.

Vianney suggested that the market was initially all about brands but it adapted very quickly to one which was equally interested in quality. More to the point, it was one which was particularly interested in value for money. And that’s perhaps why Château d’Anglés and other premium Languedoc wines have done particularly well in China.

In some respects, there’s also been changes in lifestyles to suit the wine. While white and sparkling wines have traditionally been rejected in favour of more palatable reds, tastes are changing. Sparkling, in particular, is seeing an increase in popularity owing to its enviable position in the luxury lifestyle market.

More than anything, it seems, China is a market that’s hungry for more. More wines, more knowledge and more diversity.

Grower Champagne, fromage and French Bubbles

Laurent Perrier Tous Les Sense at Massimo, The Corinthia, London

It’s fast approaching Christmas and there’s one word on everyone’s minds – celebration. And nothing says celebration quite like champagne.

Most of the champagnes that I’ve been drinking this year have been from one of the big Champagne houses. There’s something to be said about that – you will always get consistency of quality, good or bad. What is missing, especially in non-vintages, is character.

I’m keenly aware of the fact that much of the choice of champagnes comes down to branding and little to the stories behind the brand. Even as someone who works in the industry, I rarely get the opportunity to explore the history and culture of the brand. More often than not, it’s the presentation of a portfolio – no wonder a champagne induced coma seem a likely solution.

Champagne Duval-Leroy lunch at The Greenhouse, Mayfair

In some respects, that’s one of the key differences between grower champagnes and a Champagne corporation.

Grower champagnes are all about the wine maker creating something from the grapes that they’ve grown. There’s much more investment in terms of how the grapes are grown, when they are picked, when they are sorted, how they’re pressed, how they’re aged etc. The result is a potentially much more interesting champagne, boasting of character.

It’s not to say that grower champagnes are necessarily superior – there is, after all, the necessary skill of the wine maker involved. What’s more, a big champagne house is more likely to have the expertise and money to maintain a consistency in quality. However, a grower champagne has the opportunity to be a much more personal drink with many more opportunities and incentives for experimentation.

Owing to substantially lower production numbers and logistics of import and export, grower champagnes aren’t always accessible. There is one company who has made their entire business on grower champagnes – French Bubbles.

Champagne at Champagne and Fromage

Stefano Frigerio and Maud Fierobe, the passionate couple who launched the brand in 2010. As well as supplying some of London’s most well-known restaurants like Bubbledogs, Massimo and L’atelier des Chefs, Stefan and Maud also opened shop and bistro Champagne & Fromage earlier this year.

The entire operation is all about champagne, cheese and the occasional tartine and cold cut. In their eyes, it’s the ideal introduction to champagne.

And what an introduction it is.

There are several rotating champagnes available by the glass and many more as bottles that you can enjoy in store. The bistro offers a selection of hot and cold dishes, designed to match the champagnes, that are also available for takeaway. Then there’s the fact that both Stefan and Maud are knowledgeable enough to not only give you advice about champagnes but also pass their passion onto you.

What better then, than some champagne recommendations from French Bubbles themselves?

Here’s Maud on her festive choices:

  • Waris Larmandier Cuvée Empreinte Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2004 is a beautiful vintage for a special occasion.
  • Waris-Larmandier Cuvée Sensation Brut Nv works well with St Maure, Brillat-Savarin and Cantal cheeses.
  • Enjoy Michel Furdyna La Réserve Brut nv blanc de Noir with salami and peppery Corsican cured meat.
  • Pertois-Moriset Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Nv is perfect with a box of Mont d’or – our favourite winter cheese.

Champagne and Fromage hosted an event to explore the world of grower Champagnes. Amateur Wine was a guest at the event. You can find out more in our Editorial Policy.

Duval-Leroy at The Greenhouse Mayfair

When we think of champagne, we inevitably think of canapés; indeed, this is the most frequent mode of delivery. At a stretch, perhaps, we think of demi-sec or sec with desserts. But outside of champagne enthusiasts, how many of us sit down to champagne matched to every course?

Well, as I discovered over a Duval-Leroy lunch at The Greenhouse, the French serve nothing but champagne at weddings, making it the ultimate celebratory drink. That’s a rather apt discovery since Duval-Leroy is one champagne house that’s very focused on their food. Take their Lady Rose, which was originally created for Pierre Hermé macaroons. But more on that later.

First, let’s sit down to a selection of their champagnes matched by head chef Arnaud Bignon’s specially created menu.

Duval-Leroy has 15 cuvées in its portfolio. We started with Fleur de Champagne 1er Cru NV as an aperitif, a champagne which celebrated its centenary last year and is Duval-Leroy’s best sellers in the restaurant trade. It’s not hard to see why it’s so popular – a delicate floral nose with a solid structure, ready to stand up against any likely canapé pairings.

Wild salmon, coconut, wasabi, curry, salad, Champagne Duval-Leroy lunch at The Greenhouse, MayfairNext up was the Rosé Prestige 1er Cru NV. This salmon-pink champagne is said to boast a bouquet of cherries, figs and even a hint of ginger – a difficult match but the chef’s wild salmon dish, with hints of curry and wasabi, worked beautifully.

The third champagne, La Femme de Champagne 2000 Grand Cru, was the favourite amongst the wine writers around the table. The powerful vintage, only produced in certain years and from selected Grand Cru plots, had great structure and finished to a soft mousse on the palate. Cornish crab highlighted with mint jelly, Granny Smith apple and curry made another challenging match but one that La Femme easily overcame with finesse.

The only blanc de blancs we had, the Clos des Bouveries 2005 cuvée oenoclimatique, was Duval-Leroy’s special experiment. The champagne, produced solely from Chardonnay grapes harvested from a century-old Duval-Leroy owned vineyard near Vertus, is vintaged every year so the effect of the weather on each vintage is fully explored and exposed.

The dish matched was an equally experimental looking chicken with truffle, chestnut and squash. Champagne with meat is perhaps the most difficult match and in this case there was a little too much experimentation on the palate.

The final champagne was the champagne for food lovers, and in particular, desserts – the aforementioned Lady Rose NV. Duval-Leroy still celebrate this champagne with their annual Dessert of the Year competition. At 25g/l dosage, the champagne falls firmly into the super sweet sec category.

Originally produced as a half bottle, it has proved so popular in Asia, matching well with Asian cuisine, that a full sized bottle is now produced too. With berries on the nose and slight acidity on the palate, the Lady Rose NV married well with the raspberry, lychee and rose dessert.

Raspberry, lychee, rose, Champagne Duval-Leroy lunch at The Greenhouse, Mayfair

It seems that there’s certainly room for champagne with every course, though matching is not always so simple. Duval-Leroys champagnes did well with the fish and of course dessert but further explorations are certainly needed for meats. And that’s not something to complain about!

It was also interesting to learn about the champagne house’s dedication to the sustainable development of their vineyards and winemaking. This includes continued commitment to reducing water usage, use of solar panels to reduce their carbon footprint and a move towards organic vinification with some of their cuvées.

Now that is something worth raising a glass of champagne to.

See the menu and additional photos here

(First seen on Bon Vivant)

Voyager Estate – a visit from down under

Voyager Estate tasting

Trade tastings can get pretty tough.

Imagine going to a wine festival and having hundreds of wines to choose from. What do you go for? The region? The grape? The producer? Or indeed, which ever bottle happen to look the most appealing when you extend your tasting glass for a pour? The choice is mind-boggling.

Well scale that down and imagine, say, just 50 wines but you have to taste all of them. That’s still a lot right? With tastings generally starting at around 10am, you can imagine that by lunch time the palate is as confused as the head.

A recent tasting of Margaret River’s Voyager Estate, however, was spot on.

The Australian winemaker makes a selection of red and white wines in a relatively young area – the first of Voyager Estate’s vines were only planted in 1978. But the area boasts a maritime climate with grapes ripening in a similar way to Bordeaux. This means that it’s the perfect environment to make premium Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends. And indeed, Voyager Estate is perhaps best known for their Cabernet/Merlot blends.

The company’s head of winemaking, Steve James, was in town and headed up a tasting of their portfolio for scribes at Vinoteca, Clerkenwell.

We tasted a total of 12 wines consisting of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blends between 2004 and 2010. What was interesting about the tasting was that as well as the vertical tasting (same wine, different vintages), we also had a wine by another wine maker for the most recent vintages to compare against. Essentially, a small horizontal tasting (same vintage, different wine of the same variety).

This was particularly interesting because the wines chosen were premium wines designed to create contrast but not necessarily to show up Voyager Estate as the superior choice. In fact, one comparison wine was double the price of the Voyager Estate wines. That’s a decision few winemakers would be brave enough to make.

Voyager Estate tasting

We started with Chardonnay and tasted the 2009, 2008 and 2006 vintages. 2009 Kumeu River Maté’s Vineyard Chardonnay from Kumeu in New Zealand provided the comparison. The Chardonnay actually varied substantially between the vintages in terms of mouth feel as well as of course flavour profile. It seems that as well as the changes in climate year on year, Voyager Estate has also been pulling back on the oak to allow the ageing vines to express their potential. The result is a move from the thick and heavy 2006 to something much lighter and much more refreshing found in the 2009.

Moving on to the reds, we began with the Shiraz in vintages of 2010, 2009 and 2007. I had almost expected big, powerful Shiraz that’s so characteristic of Australia but instead found restrained fruit, rounded spice and even a little of something floral – the 2010 Voyager Estate Shiraz had around 1% of Viognier (a highly aromatic variety). The most expensive wine of the night was the 2010 Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier from Canberra District in New South Wales presented as a comparison to Voyager Estate’s 2010 Shiraz. Though Voyager Estate’s Shiraz did display elegance, I found myself much more drawn to the obvious perfume and red berry of the Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier.

The final set, and no doubt hotly anticipated by everyone at the table, was the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends. We tried 2008, 2005 and 2004 vintages and compared it against the 2008 Wynns Coonawarra John Riddoch Cabernet Sauvignon from Coonawarra in South Australia. The Voyager Estate wines were noticeably more green against the Wynns which was very on the cassis-heavy side. And while Voyager Estate wines proved to be heavier on the palate, owing to the high tannins, they displayed much more complexity. A complexity that would enable the wines to rest happily in the cellar for 8 to 10 years. Factoring in the tannins in the wines we tried, it really needed the rest.

The result of the tasting? Well the Voyager Estate wines would certainly be worthy of investment but it’s a case of patience is a virtue as most of the wines we tasted would ideally be rested for a little longer. Lucky visitors to Margaret River Gourmet Escape later this year should certainly make a stop – Voyager Estate are hosting one of the lunches. It also proved an interesting exercise to sit down and consider the character and style of one of the biggest winemakers of the region against their competitors. And it’s definitely nice to know that they’re still making changes to improve the complexity of their wines despite their success so far, whether it’s stripping back oak or moving away from heavy eucalyptus influences.

Voyager Estate hosted the tasting in London. Amateur Wine was a guest at the event. You can find out more in our Editorial Policy.

Japanese food, French wines: an evening with Luiz Hara and Bordeaux wines

 Luiz Hara, London Foodie Japanese Supperclub with Bordeaux Wine

French wine and Japanese food, why wouldn’t you?

After all, there are some surprising similarities between French and Japanese food. Stock, for example, features prominently in both cuisines, albeit with different basic ingredients. And then of course there are plenty of French restaurants, employing classical techniques but using Japanese ingredients. Joel Robuchon‘s empire, in particular, comes to mind.

So French wine and Japanese food, not too wild a path for the stretch of imagination.

And it was at Luiz Hara‘s (The London Foodie) lovely home that this combination came to life – a Japanese supper club hosted with Bordeaux wines.

Having cooked with Luiz at his supper club before, I sort of knew the food to expect – home cooked food done well. There were a couple of old-faithfuls like the salmon sashimi South American way and teppanyaki of rib-eye but it was also great to see Luiz’s new creations like “Ankimo” and “Deconstructing Sushi”.

And you know that well known fact about the expense of Bordeaux wines? About how it’s auctioned at record prices in Hong Kong? And how the buoyant Chinese wine market is what’s driving it up? Well this supper club dispels that myth too.

All the wines chosen to match Luiz’s dishes were under £20, and there were some interesting combinations too.

Take “Deconstructing Sushi” (essentially a Japanese version of Coquilles Saint-Jacques) and Roquefortissime 2010 from Château Roquefort for example, the dish was a lot spicier than I would have expected of Japanese cuisine but the wine was robust enough to stand up to that very powerful dish. It was also rounded enough to drink alone and would, I imagine, go rather well with pork or walnuts too. It’s probably something that I’d choose if I didn’t want to change wines between a starter and a main and I’m usually not a Sauvignon fan.

The dish that delighted me the most was definitely “Ankimo” – sous-vide ballotine of foie de lotte, shredded daikon and ponzu dressing. I had wanted to try the foie de lotte while in France but sadly never got round to it so this was a great opportunity to try something new. It’s a lot less rich in comparison to foie gras but no less delicious. The wine match was a 2011 rosé from Château Méaume which, while not something I’d drink on its own, did work surprisingly well with the dish.

The evening drew to a close with a Sauternes; what else could it have been? I was surprised to discover that the Ginestet 2009 we had was only priced at £10. It doesn’t hold the same intensity in flavour as some of the greats and will literally pale in comparison to say the golden hues of Château d’Yquem but it is also a tiny percentage of the cost.

That’s the thing you forget under the thousand pound a bottle umbrella of the Latours and Lafits – there are every day Bordeaux wines, quite capable of being matched to interesting food, that are also very affordable. Well, even the New York Times agrees with me.

(Check out the menu and additional photos here)

Bordeaux Wines hosted the supperclub. Amateur Wine was a guest at the event. You can find out more in our Editorial Policy.

Laurent-Perrier Tous Les Sens: A Preview

Laurent Perrier Tous Les Sense at Massimo, The Corinthia, London

Flowers aren’t my thing. It’s all that pollen irritating my hayfever. And all that floral femininity making me feel like I have to be all girly. But flowers on a plate, it just makes me all weak at the knees with glee.

At the Laurent-Perrier Tous Les Sens Masterclass at Taste of London this year, it is all about the flowers. Not just to look at or to smell but also to eat. International florist Ercole Moroni leads the class and guides you through a specially created tasting menu of floral delights. As well as exploring the menu and learning about the different flowers on the plate and on the table, you also get to sample a small flight of Champagnes from Laurent-Perrier.

If the preview at Massimo, The Corinthia, is anything to go by, you will surely be in for a treat. We had dishes inspired by apple blossom, green shiso, wild garlic, courgette flower, jasmine blossom, and elderflower, just to name a few; and by inspired I mean it was on the plate. While we sipped the champagne and tried the food, Moroni talked about why each champagne was chosen to match the menu and how they relate to the flowers. By the end of the meal, even I was warming a little to the bouquet.

Laurent Perrier Tous Les Sense at Massimo, The Corinthia, London

The Tous Les Sens Masterclass menu at Taste of London is slightly different though and has been put together especially for the event by specialist caterers, Urban Caprice. Canapé portions of starter, main and dessert will be paired with Ultra Brut, Grand Siècle and Curvée Rosé respectively, from Champagne Laurent-Perrier.

The starter will be Mottra Osetra caviar, apparently the world’s only truly sustainable caviar, on white toast. The caviar is sustainable and ethical because the sturgeons are massaged to release the roe rather than cut open while still alive. The main course is a Champagne infused risotto with asparagus. And finally the dessert is a white chocolate and strawberry sphere with strawberry mousse, macerated strawberries, rose jelly and crystalised rose petals.

(First seen on BespokeRSVP)

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