We packed Matt off to Prowein and Champagne again this year to hunt down some quality reds from Europe and perhaps another Champagne producer or 2 to add to the 3 awesome producers we already import... Click here to see the Champagne houses we currently import and you can check out some articles on our previous expeditions via this search query.
Prowein was especially nuts this year, with 6,500 exhibitors from over 60 countries showing their wares (that’s around 4,000 more producers than there are in Australia) and about 60,000 trade visitors tasting and buying.
About to elbow through the scrum – over 6000 wineries on show and 60000 buyers.
What, me Jetlagged? About to catch up with Bernard Remy.
Meeting Schola Sarmenti at Prowein – amazing wines and a lovely Grappa.
The brief to Matt was simple: elbow your way through the scrum and find us the good stuff... reds good enough for Aussies to drink and that are cracking value for money. On previous trips Matt had just been hunting for Champagne but a fortuitous introduction saw us bring in one red last year, the amazing Susumaniello, which sold out in no time. This year we have a pile of samples to look at, with reds from Italy, Spain and Portugal lined up on the tasting bench and waiting for the tasting panel tongues to wag or wilt. No doubt we’ll be offering more Euro reds in the next few months.
After Prowein, Matt was off to Champagne with meetings in Cramant, Ay, Bouzy, Mareuil-Sur-Ay, Pierry, Ville-Dommange and Epernay... and again samples are on the way from some exceptional growers with Grand Cru vineyards. We can’t wait to taste them all and pick the eyes out of this year's selections.
Matt, vines, winery, good.
One of the bigger Champagne Houses - pretty bloody pretty.
Pruning in one of the very rare ‘Clos’ in Champagne. A 'Clos' is a walled vineyard of which there are only about 30 in all of Champagne.
On the way from the Grand Cru vineyards of Cramant to the Grand Cru vineyards of Ay.
In the middle of Ambonnay, the amazing Grand Cru Village.
Cute, used for gathering up vine cuttings after pruning, and then burning them.
Not quite crop circles, but there's something quizzical going on here.
The Cellars of Champagne Bouché
Oak is also finding its place – adding complexity, texture and vinosity if used sparingly.
Lots of arcane bevvies gently resting in these ancient cellars.
Time to taste some Champagne – with Nicolas Bouché of Champagne Bouché
Stainless steel, the primary vessel, along with glass, used in the production of Champagne.
The Old New sandwich – The ancient drink of Champagne housed in new Giropallets in an ancient cellar dug into chalk deep below the Earth's surface.
Selfie with the erstwhile Nicolas Bouché of Champagne Bouché
More old stuff getting older and better... and some ageing wine.
Picturesque much? There are some very pretty houses in Champagne.
Almost ready! Just need to freeze the plug of yeast and disgorge from the bottle, add the liquering solution and it’s ready to drink!
Yeast ready to be disgorged.
Not gathering dust, rather quietly improving...
Oak coming increasingly to the fore in Champagne, especially for reserve wines. Adds a degree of complexity and vinosity.
Visiting Barnaut in the Grand Cru Village of Bouzy, making cracking good full flavoured Champagnes since 1874.
Grand Cru village of Cramant.
Cellar entrance at Champagne Bouché in Pierry... Champagne which has been ageing in bottle for 10 years, almost ready for release. These bottles have almost finished the riddling process, and will be disgorged and liquered soon.