YOUR annual opportunity to sip, sample and compare more than 20 French Champagnes under one roof is less than a week away – and three couples can enjoy free entry.
No matter how good the bubblies flowing from wine-producing countries are, the French products remain aloof, maintaining that air of luxury, magic and glamour at which Gallic marketers excel.
And many would agree that at its glorious best, only Champagne offers such a mix of vivacity, richness and complexity, preceded by an array of tantalising aromas – while few other wines offer such a lift to the spirits.
In order to be labelled and sold as Champagne, the contents of the bottle has to come from the northern province of that name, from where some 300 million bottles are produced a year. More than 19 000 growers oversee the pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay vineyards that make the classic blend, often drawn from more than one harvest.
Of course, the French have had plenty of practice – more than three- and- a- half centuries, ever since Benedictine monk Dom Pérignon, in charge of the cellars at Hautvillier Abbey, found a way to control the secondary fermentation in the bottle. His supposed exclamation – “Come quickly brothers, I am tasting stars” – makes an enduring and appealing legend.
Wine Concepts is holding its 12th Finer Things in Life Champagne festival on Friday at the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands. Cuvées from premium and boutique Champagne houses will be lined up and the labels will include Taittinger, Laurent Perrier, Pol Roger, Bollinger, Gosset, Louis Roederer, Guy Chabaut, Billecart-Salmon and Nicolas Feuilatte. Accompanying fare of oysters, sushi, rare cheese and fine chocolates will be on sale. French music and classic cars will add to the Gallic ambience. Discounted prices on sales will operate for the evening, and there are numerous prizes to be won. Among these is a prize for best-dressed couple or person, with the theme of Moulin Rouge dictating the couture style. There is also a special deal for visitors opting for dinner, bed and breakfast at the hotel.
● Tickets cost R400 and can be bought from Wine Concepts stores, www.webtickets.co.za or at the door. E- mail newlandshop@ wineconcepts.co.za for more information.
● There are three pairs of tickets waiting to be won by Weekend Argus readers. To be in line to win a pair, send an e-mail to email@example.com by close of business on Tuesday. Include a daytime contact number and put TGW/Champagne fest in the subject line. Winners will be phoned and their prize tickets will be at the door.
PERFECT PAIRING: Rosy bubbles and smoked salmon, a heavenly match.