Taste Of Christmas event in London, I sat down by a bar and was offered a glass of Champagne, a Laurent-Perrier NV.
Now, until recently, I was never that excited by Champagne - that is to say, I like it enough, but never quite understood what the fuss was about and thought it was not terribly good value.
I can't say that I've had a complete conversion to buying Champagne, but after sampling a range of Bollinger wines at Cambridge Wine Merchants (reviewed here), I started to wonder if I might get into it - or at least to understand what makes a good Champagne better than other sparkling wines.
Laurent-Perrier was founded in 1812 and is still family-owned. The Brut NV is blend is made of wines from more than 55 crus or villages and between 10 and 20% of reserve wines are used. The wine is aged on its lees for approximately three years and contains 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier.
The wine had been pre-poured; I don't know how long it had been sitting in the glass, but perhaps long enough to get some air and open up a bit. Maybe I am over-egging the science here, but it was also served in a plastic flute, rather than glass (I know, I know), which is more air-permeable.
In any case, pale gold in the glass, it had aromas of yeast and toasty brioche, whilst on the palate it was fresh and elegant but also rich, supple, balanced and long with fine bubbles.
It would be lovely to serve this with a good ham on Boxing Day, preferably one baked with Seville Orange marmalade and studded with cloves.
Laurent Perrier - http://www.laurent-perrier.fr/
Taste of Christmas - http://www.tasteofchristmas.com/