It is 10 years since UK writer Andrew Jefford wrote the last book about Champagne, so now Tyson Stelzer’s modernised eBook The Champagne Guide sets the scene.
And what a different scene it is. There has been a proliferation of single grower and biodynamic wines which has changed the mix of Champagnes forever, and Stelzer takes the time to review these.
Of course this flies in the face of the big Champagne brands who blend across villages, regions and appellations which clearly destroys terroir; as blending either covers up faults or creates a mediocrity of taste.
So the new single vineyard grower champagnes stand for pride of place in the site, terroir and an annual celebration that occurs with vintage champagne.
Stelzer has exploited the advantages of eBooks by tasting champagnes released for this Christmas right up to late November (this book was completed on December 6) before publishing.
A traditional text will end up a year out of date and fail to cover recently-disgorged champagnes as a result. This has obviously prompted him to make a greater issue out of staleness in champagnes (disgorged a long time when sold or stored too hot during the intervening period).
What is perceived a luxury product should show well, and at a luxury price should deliver. Tyson names nine light struck/stale champagnes discovered during his tasting survey of just under 200 champagnes.
Also on the way through he names wines which were cork tainted, and the incidence for the Portuguese cork industry’s edification was 5.5 percent.
Houses are rated from 10 down to 1 and all their products available were tasted (1- there were two-Heidsieck Monopole and Joseph Perrier). Houses to rate 10 were Billecart-Salmon, Bollinger, Krug and Salon. Dom and Pol at 9, four small brands at 8, (Pierre Gimmonnet, Lamarndier-Bernier, Chartogner-Tailtet , Jacquesson) plus Laurent Perrier.
Roederer, Taittinger and Veuve made it at 7, and Moet made it only to 4 (the biggest blender in Champagne).
This book has application world-wide as most of the big commercial brands are international. Australia is a very active Champagne importer and stands at number 9 in quantity.
It does not cover BOBs which rarely show much excellence anyway.
The Champagne Guide by Tyson Stelzer Wine Press 2010 USD 24.50 as eBook; www.champagneguide.com.au ; hard copies by order
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