Perhaps that’s one of the first lessons you will learn in any Wine 101 session. It’s a fact that not everyone who occasionally attends social gatherings and sips a glass of sparkling wine don’t even know.
Wine regions across the globe make completely world-class sparkling wines but not every bottle labeled as Champagne can be called as such. It’s even illegal to do so.
“If it’s not from Champagne, it’s just a sparkling wine,” said Thomas Percillier of Thienot Group Asia when he met with select members of the press at Wine Story in Shangri-La Plaza for an intimate event called Tour de Bordeaux: From Vine to Wine.
The French executive flew all the way from Hong Kong to be the main man in this casual rendezvous where scribes were given an interactive wine introduction, which provided guests a hands-on experience with booths designed to showcase and educate them about Bordeaux.
Percillier said that for a sparkling wine to be called Champagne, it must come from the Champagne region of France, and it must be made by a strict method, which involves specific vineyard practices like sourcing of grapes to specific pressing regimes unique only to the region.
While Percillier was going through a power point presentation, which talked about the origin of the company, a uniformed server brought a few bottles of wine into the room. She held the first bottle, a Champagne, and then poured the sparkling white into one of the mini goblets set on the table.
The liquid to first treat our palate was clear and translucent in appearance, and the bubbles were almost invisible. In the mouth, it left an elegant yet exotic flavor. It displayed exceptional purity with a hint of mineral character, fruit and white flower aromas. This textured and rich sparkling wine of 100 percent Chardonnay, which can be perfectly paired with seafood, can keep you going back to the glass for another sip. It’s called la vigne aux gamins, a 2004 vintage.
“This sparkling wine is very classy, you can’t even notice the bubbles. What a fine character,” Percillier said of the limited edition and highly distinctive wine.
Next sample was 2012 Château Belgrave, a wine with complex bouquet that reveals dark fruit aromas of blackberry and cassis, precious woods and mint enhanced with subtle mocha note.
Belgrave, bought by the house of Dourthe in 1979, has seen continuous investment over the past 30 years. Recently, Alain Thiénot, founder of Champagne Thiénot, has taken a controlling interest in Dourthe’s parent, CVBG.
The Belgrave shows real quality and sophistication. It has attractive warm savory characters with tobacco and spice as well as chocolate and mocha tones, associated with the large percentage of Merlot in the blend and the use of oak. The 2012 vintage is deep and dense, integrated nose with some layers, with some jam and spice, and earthy note. The palate is quite rich but with lots of oak and oak tannin.
Then the third star of the day – the 2012 Le Boscq – a wine with generous and rich palate that displayed signs of good maturity.
“This one is deep and concentrated with a well-balanced tannic structure. It has an intense flavor to be exact,” Percillier shared.
The executive was glad that their wines have a home in Manila being a relatively new wine house in the market. Thienot Group Asia partners with Wine Story to raise and support generations of fine wine lovers in the Philippines. They share the same mission of enhancing high wine culture by enriching wine appreciation through education and experience.
Established by Alain Thiénot in 1985, the house has found its place among the greatest Champagne Houses, favoring quality over quantity, creativity over traditionalism. And it is this long road to success that has formed the bedrock of the Champagne House, notably its family values and independence.
“The advantage of being a new [wine] house is that we can still experiment on our wine flavors. We can be creative and offer something new to cater to the most sophisticated yet adventures fine wine lovers,” Percillier told Manila Standard.
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