Real Champagne Newsletters
Further to our update on Friday, some of you may have noticed an error with the links to find out more about the event and buy tickets. Sorry about that! Here they are again.
Our June event will feature champagnes from:
Our special guest for the evening to present his most highly acclaimed champagnes, including our latest addition "Angéline" and one of our existing rosé champagnes, "Oeil de Perdrix". Breaking into China, Vincent Drouilly creates highly distinctive champagnes by using oak and adjusting the sugar content.
Champagne Pierre Brocard is already run by the next generation, son Thibaud who has travelled as far as New Zealand to broaden his wine-making horizons. He has revolutionised the style of the house, creating luxury labels, which have a touch of modern class, but still highlight the heritage of the house, which dates back to 1932. We introduce his exceptional rosé champagne.
This house is run nowadays by Pascal's daughter & son Claire & Julien, who show an extraordinary capacity to manage both hectic family lives as well as an expanding business. Distinguished by their extensive use of the rare Pinot Blanc grape variety, they have been awarded some of the top accolades in the industry. It's nice to see a lady running the show as well! We welcome their fabulous 2009 vintage.
For full details of the event & tickets click here.
Well, you're almost there...January is nearly over! The drinking bans, diets and fitness regimes will have either been a success or discarded a long time ago. In any case, we hope you share our enthusiasm and excitement for the year ahead. If you're not really feeling it yet, don't worry, we're here to bring some sparkle back into your life and put a smile on your face (and on your tastebuds) taking you up to the Spring! We welcome our newest followers. We have some great winter offers for you all, as well as some excellent new champagne pairing ideas!
At Real Champagne, our philosophy is making quality champagnes more accessible to the UK market direct from the small family houses, which span generations. Supermarkets have embraced the "smaller-producer" culture with champagne, however, by using their own labels and extensively discounting champagne (sometimes to as little as £10 per bottle), they have diluted some of the sense of prestige and the quality and heritage behind it. They have used champagne as a weapon in a price war with their peers, sourcing from co-operatives that are big enough to meet their desired price point. This has led to a loss of tracability for champagne and often, if you know where it came from and how it was produced, you have a greater understanding and appreciation of what is happening on your palate.
You see, co-operatives buy grapes in from lots of different houses, sometimes from different areas and then brand the champagnes under the co-operative name. There may be hundreds of small producers who contribute to a co-operative, so this is good for them in terms of having a guaranteed income from grape sales. As co-operatives tend to be quite large and have a good, steady supply of grapes fueling their champagne production, they are able to meet the quantities demanded by the supermarket giants and as such, can allow a cheaper per bottle price mostly through exclusive trade agreements with the customer. This is perfect for supermarket consumers who like to stock up and storm out having bagged a bargain without really knowing what they are buying. But for Champagne, it standardises this ancient and prestigious drink to the same level as other wines, sparkling or otherwise. Many people do not know the challenges champagne producers face, particularly in relation to custom controls. If the quality is not up to standard, if the sugar levels aren’t precise, if the alcohol content isn’t exactly as it should be, they can confiscate the entire batch of champagne - their sole source of income in many cases. Nowhere else are there such stringent checks.
That is Real Champagne and the reason why sparkling wines from elsewhere cannot share the same appellation. This is the real experience we want to share with you. As many people are reluctant to buy unknown brands, we categorise our champagnes into different occasions, styles and new discoveries, so that our customers can find something different to perfectly meet their tastes and requirements. We not only bring you fantastic champagnes, we also tell you where they have come from, who made them and what makes each one so special. This is something the supermarkets just can’t do!
For those of you who came to our stand at Taste of Christmas 12, you will probably have entered our competition to guess how many champagne caps there were in the vase. It was great to see the competitive spirit of so many people, so thank you to all who entered. We ended up with 2 winners, correctly guessing 208 caps. Congratulations to our winners Hannah Tesfaiohannes and Laura Wolton! They received their champagne and chocolates just before Christmas!
Thank you to everyone who came to visit us and tried our fabulous champagnes. For us, it is essential that we speak to people face to face and we love the reception our growers and their wines receive.
Here are some pictures from the event.
A new year, a new set of resolutions. Drink less, eat less, do more exercise, have less fun…sigh. At Real Champagne, we believe that everything in moderation is the best strategy and it is essential to have fun at all times! However, if you are watching the calories but want a treat, the good news is that a standard glass of champagne has fewer calories than a glass of wine – 133 for champagne versus 140 for wine. So, if you want to reward yourself with a glass or two at the end of a busy week, here are some fantastic, guilt-free offers to help you on your way.
Take a look at our latest range of Mixed Case Champagnes and discover more from Real Champagne:
*GET A FREE HALF BOTTLE OF DRAPPIER CHAMPAGNE (worth £15) WITH EVERY MIXED CASE ORDER OF 3 or 6 BOTTLES - Get more champagne for your money (while stocks last)!
*Take a look at our Pancake Day special for more exclusive offers on bottles of champagne!
Offers are valid until the end of February 2013.
*GET 10% OFF OUR HALF AND FULL BOTTLE WEDDING TASTER COLLECTION - with the discount code "WEDDING". Enter at checkout and click "Apply".
If you like any of the champagnes in our wedding taster cases and wish to have them for your big day, we will give you a further 10% off the total cost!
All champagnes come with comprehensive tasting notes!
Pancake Day falls on Tuesday 12th February this year. The consumption of pancakes on Pancake Day (otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday(!)), was designed to use up staple ingredients such as eggs, milk and flour before the start of the lent fasting period.
So, whether you choose to give something up for lent or not (we hope it won’t be champagne), make sure that you make the most of the pancake eating proceedings by washing it down with something very special. Champagne has been paired with many things, but never have we come across champagne and pancakes. So this year we thought we’d give it a shot…here we give suggestions for pancake fillings and champagnes to compliment the flavours, both sweet and savoury.
As an exclusive treat to our followers, all of the champagnes featured are on special offer – an added sweetner if you needed one. Click here for more information.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE?
Winter days in Champagne are short, crisp and very very cold. Due to the undulating landscape, the icy winds can often build up and the land is very susceptible to frost and snow. There is not much activity in the small villages across the region. January for many is a time of rest, time to take a holiday and prepare for the next few months of important work. You may see one or two vans high up on the hillslopes tending to their vines, but otherwise the work will be focused on the cellars.
WHAT ARE OUR GROWERS DOING AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR?
Prime activities for this time of year include selling champagne from the previous years at home and abroad. Many growers, especially the young entrepreneurial types will use this time of year to travel abroad to network with suppliers and customers in order to secure export business. Other growers will tend to the vines to ensure they do not suffer too much from adverse weather. The vines are usually trimmed and tied during the cold winter months to protect them and keep them in optimum conditions for the Spring, when the new buds and leaves will grow. Some growers have special tubes running along the top of the vine rows which hold in rain water and in the event of frost, the water freezes rather than the vines. The growers must watch carefully to ensure their vines are in the best conditions so that they flourish in early Spring, to make the optimum quality champagnes. If the vines suffer too much during the winter and early March, it is more likely they will develop problems later in the year which may affect the quality of the grapes. The wine producers will be watching the change in seasons very carefully - they will not want too much rain, nor too much sun. A perfect balance is required to promote early growth and lush foliage. In reality, this is the element they have the least control over, so it can be a tense few months.
Our producers will start to think about blending some of the still wine from the 2012 harvest soon. They will typically blend this with wines from previous years to make reserve wines or they will just bottle up the 2012 wine and have a non-vintage Tradition from 2012. If the year is declared a vintage, they will sell it as such after several years of aging. Only the Champagne authorities can declare a year to be vintage but then it is up to the grower if they wish to sell their champagne as a vintage or non-vintage. There is a fair amount of paperwork that comes with the vintage labelling, which can prove costly in time and money. Even though the 2012 harvest had been hugely disrupted by severe weather over the summer and early Autumn months, a late spell of sunshine and showers really made the quality outstanding. Many say that 2012 will be a fantastic vintage so we are looking forward to seeing how things develop over the next few years.
Reserve wines need to have had time to settle and to undergo the first fermentation in the vats. They need to have enough time to develop in flavour and aroma so the growers will be regularly tasting the still wine (vin clair) monitoring its progress. Blending is where the true skills come in. Once reserve wines have been blended, they will be bottled with sugar and yeast to undergo the second fermentation and left on lees (lying flat) for a minimum of 15 months.
The yields from the 2012 harvest were down 12% in 2011, which means that for some growers, who had suffered from grape damage due to bad weather last summer, they will be heavily dependent on reserve stocks to meet the required demand for their champagnes next year. It will be interesting to monitor what impact this has on the price of champagne generally over the next 12-18 months, but it reminds us of the vulnerability of winegrowers in the Champagne region and justifies in our minds, why Champagne should not be standardised, rather appreciated for its true quality.
In other news, one of our growers, Remy Massin, has just released a video showing their house, the family, the vines and some useful information about what they get up to throughout the year. They have been working on a new tasting cabin in the heart of their vines, where guests can enjoy a glass with wonderful views over the valley and the village of Ville-sur-Arce below.
Drouilly is also working on his new tasting facilities. Until now, he has not really been set up to receive visitors, so he wants to revolutionise the tasting experience with a luxury tasting room. Work will continue on these exciting projects despite the cold weather so that they are ready for the peak Spring/Summer season.
Also, we hope to introduce a fabulous set of champagnes to our portfolio in the Spring from a Grand Cru vineyard! Watch this space.
As the door closes on 2012, we want to ensure you welcome in 2013 with the very best champagnes and gifts from The Real Champagne Company. We wanted to give you a quick update on our latest arrivals, plus some handy tips to help you choose which champagne is best for you! We also have details of our whereabouts over Christmas, as well as the all important last order dates to ensure delivery before the big day.
Lamoureux Reserve ½ bottles- A great way to enjoy one of our most popular champagnes, but without the guilt trip.
Drouilly Cuvee Tradition- This is more of a return trip than a new arrival. Back in the early days of Real Champagne, this oak-aged champagne was one of the originals. It is so good that we had to bring it back as the taste and originality is first rate. It was also one of only 11 champagnes in the entire region to win three stars in the prestigious Guide Hachette! Perfect for Autumn, it forms part of our latest seasonal case, but is also available individually.
Lamoureux Cuvee Trois Vals - This unusual blend of 3 cepages will boggle the mind – not a conventional champagne taste, yet one to savour. Definitely one to match with richer foods and for those who like thinking “outside the box”. This champagne features in our Autumn collection.
Perron Beauvineau Cuvee Pure Elixir Extra Dry - Try saying that after a few glasses! A new house for Real Champagne and some very interesting champagnes. Fabrice and his brother age all of their champagnes for at least 5 years before disgorging. They do not believe in the phenomenon of “young” champagnes. They build on the depth of flavour year after year to create some quite remarkable flavours. This latest addition is their “Extra Dry”, which despite the name, is in fact sweeter than a Brut. It has notes of candy, which dance across the tongue.
Christian Etienne Brut Rose - A gorgeous looking champagne and the taste isn’t half bad either. Aged in oak barrels, it has more intensity than other roses, but still manages a touch of delicatess! Also features as part of our Autumn collection
Drouilly Oeil de Perdrix- Back to one of our first trips to champagne, we tried this grand rose from Drouilly. 100% Pinot Noir, a fresh, fruity champagne which charms anyone who drinks it. From the vintage year of 2002, all of the musty, deep fruit characteristics come through here. During our most recent trip we introduced this to some relatives, who became hooked, so we thought we had better start offering it. Mind you, it is so popular in France, we are lucky to get our hands on it!
Drappier Millesime 1995 Carte D’Or Magnum - The mighty year of 1995 all wrapped up in a superbly packaged magnum. We have offered half bottles of the Carte d’Or Tradition for a while now and even this 100% Pinot Noir champagne oozes finesse and flavour. But the 1995 vintage is something else entirely. It smells like the ocean: fresh, minerally, the mustiness of Pinot Noir. Would be a great way to start 2013!
Christian Etienne Millesime 2002 - Our latest vintage addition, we are delighted to have another 2002 on board. Refreshing, quite complex and slightly spicy champagne, this is a little different to the others we have tried. A beautiful pale gold, we think it'll go down a treat this Christmas.
Winter Champagne Collection - Like the change in colours from late Summer to Autumn, we will be changing our seasonal champagne selection once again. This time, our champagnes have a wintery focus. We have a three star Guide Hachette award-winner, a vintage 2002 and an exceptional Extra Dry champagne for you to try. All have spicy, baked fruit, candy notes and really are just what we need to keep us smiling through the wintry months. Here is a preview.
Don’t say we never give you anything!
Great for loved ones, colleagues or even clients, Real Champagne strives to offer interesting, exciting and above all luxurious gift ideas this Christmas. Below we give you the highlights, but have a look across our entire range of champagnes as there are several gift options available. Just go to the drop down menu within each champagne's profile.
Autumn Case – To help your loved one, colleague, best friend really relax and enjoy themselves stylishly this Christmas, why not treat them to a 3 or 6 bottle case of our Autumn Champagnes? Rich, warm and fruity, they are the perfect combination for kicking back next to the fire and enjoying that well earned rest. The three bottle option comes with a choice of luxury champagne boxes. Alternatively, you could choose the Winter case, where the champagnes have that delightful candy flavour - great for those with a sweet tooth.
Festive Champagne Selection – We have picked out our very best finds of 2012 and put them all together in one big celebratory case. With three champagnes from our Prestige range (Louis Aristide, Remy Massin 2004 vintage and the Lamoureux 2006 vintage) this is exceptional value.With one bottle of each, you can have some fun with your friends ranking which ones you prefer. This case is perfect for understanding why small producer champagnes are becoming so popular – every one is so incredibly different!
Champagne and Truffles gift set - A classic champagne combination. Six fabulous, hand-made, Marc de Champagne truffles beautifully packaged in a gift box, combined with a choice of half or full bottles of small-producer champagne. Spoil that special someone this year, go on.
Hand painted champagne bottle and flutes from Remy Massin – Fresh from the palette, this Cuvee Prestige from Remy Massin is beautifully decorated in two different designs with matching champagne flutes. Once consumed, the bottles can be used as unique display pieces, we’ve seen it all: lamp shades, candle holders, vases. Anything is possible. Go that extra mile this Christmas.
Personalised champagne bottle - Alternatively, if you want to design your own bespoke design, we will work with Carole Massin to see it through onto the side of a bottle. The ultimate personal gift.
Ratafia de la Champagne – Ok, so this isn’t technically champagne, but it is exclusive to the region and it is made with the same grapes. A combination of grape juice and liquor, this dark, almost orange coloured drink is great as a digestif. Sweet and nutty, served chilled – enough said! A perfect gift for him…or her!
Gift boxes – All of our champagnes across the range, from Tradition to our Vintage collection can now be packaged in luxurious gift boxes in ones, twos or threes, with or without chocolates for the ultimate Christmas gift. We will even write a personal message on our specially design gift cards.
Taste of Christmas
We keep harping on about it, but this year we are even more excited than usual about Taste of Christmas. Not only do we have some fantastic champagnes available by the glass, bottle and case, including our winter collection, we also have our gift range to get everyone in the spirit. We are working on a slightly different layout this year so hopefully we can get more of you in to our stand and more of you enjoying our champagnes. And don’t worry if you just don’t have enough hands to carry it all home. We will deliver it all to your door (or someone else’s). So let us do the hard work! One last chance to win tickets by filling out our questionnaire.
For details of the line up (you’ll need to plan your day to fit in all the food and drink on offer), take a look here. Check out the videos on the homepage to get yourself in the mood.
We have a whole host of other events lined up over the next few weeks:
Wed 14th November we will be at Waterlooville Golf Club in Hampshire in partnership with Discover Wines UK, showcasing part of our range of small-producer champagnes. There will be around 60 wines on offer, none of them available in the supermarket and for only £5 per head (driver goes free), it is a real bargain.
Sat 24th November we will be hosting an exclusive Champagne Tasting at The Black Bottle, Winchester. This quaint little bar is one of very few to have an Enomatic wine dispenser. Not sure what that is? Have a read here.
Wed 28th November we will be at The Naval and Military Members Club in London running a private champagne tasting. This magnificent building holds a stunning library and a marble walled functions room. A sell out event, we are really excited about working in such a prestigious building.
Stuck for ideas for this year’s social event of the year? Fed up with the usual lunch and evening spent in a sweaty pub drinking draught beer (and worse, draught wine!) not being able to hear yourself think?
Well, we can’t promise you won’t end up there, but what we can do is offer a touch of class and difference to your Corporate Christmas social. From now until the end of the year, we are hosting champagne tasting parties, FREE for groups of up to 10 people and only £5 per head thereafter. You will try a wide range of champagnes and we will throw in some tasting challenges to get you all fired up. Parties can be held in a location of your choice (subject to permission), so if you want to head straight to a restaurant, cosy bar or even in the office, we will bring the bubbles to you. For more information, see our special Christmas Party page here.
To book yours or for more information, contact us now at email@example.com.
For those of you who are new to the world of small producer champagnes and who are perhaps reluctant to buy something you haven't tried before, allow us to offer you some guidance to help you decide where to start your adventure.
A - If you are someone who prefers sweeter champagnes with less of the dry acidity present in most Bruts, you want to look for those which have either a good balance of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (and even some Pinot Meunier to round them off nicely), champagnes which have aged for a longer period or those with a higher dosage of sugar. For Bruts, this is usually between 10 and 12g/litre. Even though all champagnes are dry and have to carry a certain level of acidity in order to be called champagne, the assemblage and aging of the wine really can affect the taste. Take a look at our suggested champagnes here.
B - If you are more of the traditional champagne drinker, you will prefer those champagnes which are drier on the palate. The best champagnes for you to drink are those with a majority Pinot Noir, since this is a drier grape and has tannin flavours coming through. Despite being a dry grape variety, that doesn't mean it lacks in flavour. In fact, you will get beautiful, rich red fruit flavours coming through in the champagnes, which will vary in depth depending on age and the conditions it has been aged in i.e. oak champagnes will have slightly different characteristics. For those who really do like their champagnes pure and as natural as can be, you can also try the Brut Natures, with no added sugar.
We recommend these champagnes.
C - For champagne drinkers who like something warming, with richer flavours of brioche, honey and pastries, you need champagnes which have toasty notes to them. These serve as excellent after dinner champagnes, but can equally be quaffed on a cold day with your feet up next to the fire. Take a look at our suggestions here.
D - Smooth and Mellow champagnes - Sometimes all you want is a champagne that goes down easily and doesn't have any overpowering flavours. Great for receptions, aperitifs and just generally enjoying with friends, these champagnes should be suitable for you.
E - If you like a champagne that kicks start any occasion with a big burst of freshness, then you generally need to choose younger champagnes or those with a higher Chardonnay content. That's not to say that Pinot Noir doesn't produce fresh tasting champagnes, they will just have different elements to the flavour. Chardonnay will give that citrussy burst, Pinot Noir will give white fruits and red fruits, but the flavours tend to be more subtle with the latter variety. Take a look here for some ideas.
F - And finally, for the real connoisseurs who like boundary-pushing champagnes, we have those with intense, complex and heavy flavours, not your average champagnes! This will very much depend on production methods, but here are some of our favourites for this category.
Make sure you don't miss out on sending your special champagne gift or receiving your Christmas/New Year champagne. The Real Champagne Company will be able to process orders up until the 22nd December for delivery by Christmas. After the big day, if you want your champagne in time for New Year's Eve, please make sure your orders are with us by the 27th December. Thank You!
Autumn Update from Real Champagne
In our last edition, we reported on the plight of the Champagne region following some of the worst weather on record. We are relieved to say that following our recent trip to the region, all is definitely not lost with a smaller than usual harvest, but one that is thought to be the next vintage (though don’t tell everyone as it is meant to be a secret)!!
In this, our Autumn edition, we will give a short overview of this year’s harvest, along with a special feature on one of our growers, Drouilly, who kindly allowed us to witness the start of his harvest. We will also update you on our latest seasonal case and some of the fantastic events we have been involved with since our last rendez-vous. Enjoy!
Get 15% off our Autumn Champagne collection by clicking here.
As the evenings get darker and the temperature drops, you want something to warm you from the inside and keep you in a sparkling mood throughout Autumn and in the run up to the Festive season. Real Champagne is giving you an outstanding offer on our latest range of Autumn champagnes.
Usually £159.99 for 6 bottles, we are exclusively giving you 15% off. So you can enjoy 6 bottles of extraordinary champagnes for just £136 plus delivery. If you don't think you can handle 6 bottles, you can choose to just have 3 for £74 instead of £87.
Here is a description of each champagne and why you won't want to miss out!
At the end of August, Real Champagne set off for the Aube to get the low-down pre-harvest. We started our trip visiting some of our existing suppliers, as well as discovering new champagnes and houses. We also put together some short videos to educate our fans on the development of the grapes at this point in the year. You can view the latest one here.
As our first proper harvest experience, we weren’t sure what to expect or where to go to see the action. Not very far was the answer. One minute all you could see for miles around were vines, the next, there were caravans, trucks, lorries and tractors filling any space possible. One day, en route to Essoyes, we passed some vines belonging to a co-operative house, Charles Collin. The workers were busy on one “parcel” picking the grapes so we pulled over to speak to them. It struck us that despite this being one of most back breaking and at times tedious jobs, there was a sense of joviality amongst the workers, which made you want to be a part of it. We were privileged to be given the chance to pick some grapes for ourselves. The stalks at the top of each bunch are cut with secateurs and the whole bunch is then put into a small bucket. When the bucket is full, the grapes are tipped into a large crate, which when full is loaded onto the back of the tractor ready to be taken to the pressoir.
Later on in our trip, we stopped by the Drouilly facility in Noe-les-Mallets to witness their first day of harvesting. When we arrived, only a few crates of grapes had come in. Sometimes it can take a few hours to get the process going and they want to make it as efficient as possible so there is no point in starting all the machines up until they have enough grapes. Drouilly was delighted to be sharing this experience with us and decided to really bring the experience to light we had to get down and dirty in the vines. Before we knew it, we were climbing up the side of the tractor onto the trailer. We quickly realised that working with champagne was not as glamourous as we had thought. There were insects and grape residue everywhere; it was a hot day and the tractor was noisy and bumpy. Suddenly, the tractor went off "road" and took a particularly steep decline in between the vines. We admired the beauty and vastness of the area. The red crates full of grapes had been left in between the rows of vines and a mechanical arm swept them up from the soil and deposited them onto the trailer. The workers who had joined us on this rocky platform informed us that usually the crates are stacked two-three high right to the edges of the trailer, impressive since it doesn’t seem very stable.
When we got back to the warehouse, the crates were unloaded one by one onto a pallet to be weighed. Once weighed, they had to be labelled so that Drouilly knew which parcel the grapes came from and when they were picked. Only at this stage can they go into the pressoir. The grapes we had seen were for Coteaux Champenois, the Champagne equivalent of Burgundy wine. From here, the grapes were put into a special machine, which looked a bit like a mincer, where the grapes were removed from their stalks. From here the grapes were roughly pressed and then sent hurtling down a corrugated tube into a large steel vat where they would be left with the skins until the colour becomes a deep red.
In champagne, growers judge the maturity of their grapes by the degree of sugar in them. This must be finely balanced so the wine is not too sweet (otherwise it will be like a still wine) and maintaining the correct level of acidity for which champagne is synonymous. The grapes used for Coteaux Champenois are Pinot Noir (black skin, white flesh). In this instance, Drouilly informed us that these grapes, even though they were being used for a still wine and needed to be sweeter, they were a little too mature. Within 20 minutes of being in the vat, the colour of the juice was a deep pink. Usually this maceration process takes a good 3-5 days.
The champagne harvest is a must see event if you can get to the region at the right time. It really makes you appreciate what you are drinking and the immense effort that has gone into creating it. You also get right into the souls of the growers and share their joy, anxiety and love of such a wonderful profession. To find out more about our fabulous trip, take a look at our photos and videos.
This time, we have to dedicate at least some of our ramblings to L.V. Drouilly since he really opened our eyes to the delights of champagne production. Drouilly is one of our smallest growers, nestled in the tiny village of Noe-les-Mallets, situated between Eguilly-sous-Bois and Essoyes in the Aube. Vincent Drouilly today splits his time between his family home in the village, his warehouse up the valley and Troyes, a slightly more bustling environment for a young man. He is one of the most ambitious growers we have met in this part of Champagne, where many are content to just earn enough to live on. Drouilly travels the world with his oenologue friends to introduce his champagnes to restaurants, clubs and as prestigious gifts. He is focused so much on growing his champagne kingdom that he has commissioned the construction of a brand new office and tasting gallery in the heart of the village. The idea being to offer something new and exciting to tourists rather than the usual degustations on offer.
Vincent Drouilly took over caring for the vines and producing champagne from his grandfather in 1996. A trained oenologue, he has learned the true art of champagne production. Today he cultivates around 8ha of vines and in recent years Vincent has become a supporter of “viticulture raisonée”, eliminating chemical treatment of the vines and the soil to work in harmony with the environment. His vines stretch over the beautiful hillsides of Noë-les-Mallets and produce some exceptional champagnes, each with a unique character, which is hard to achieve. Vincent is a big fan of oak aging as he feels this gives his wines a depth and a richness which is tough to match. Perhaps this is why he has done so well, being one of only 11 houses in the entire Champagne region to receive three stars in the Guide Hachette in 2011 for his Brut Tradition. Our Autumn case presents this wonderful, hearty champagne as it is perfect for those colder evenings and richer foods. Try it, along with our other carefully selected autumnal champagnes here.
We were lucky enough to spend time at the Drouilly abode during this year’s harvest and witnessed for ourselves his tireless quest for perfection. Over the 10-14 day harvest period, Vincent will have survived on only a handful of hours sleep as he is up early to survey the activities in the warehouse and await the arrival of more grapes. In the evening, despite the picking having ceased, there is always still lots to do, making sure all the grapes are carefully pressed. Everything must be carefully monitored and recorded.
On our most recent trip to Champagne, we really got to know Drouilly, to see his jovial personality and sense of loyalty and complete love of his work. This is, for us, what makes the real champagne experience.
We are always looking for new and exciting champagnes to add to our range and share with our customers. However, we know that for many, deciding which wines and champagnes to choose, especially if you don’t know the brand, is a difficult task. How do you know what is what? We have tried to make this decision easier by guiding our customers through the process and recommending new champagnes to try. We have developed 6 collections all aimed at fulfilling a different need.
The Discovery collection aims to uncover some of Champagne’s rarest treats whether it be in grape variety, assemblage or production technique. This collection is for the more daring among you, pushing the boundaries and tasting something totally new. You never know, you might become hooked!
Our Tailored collection recommends champagnes for different events. So whether you are having a wedding, a dinner party or an intimate evening with your loved one, we have the perfect champagne to make it the very best it can be.
For those of you who prefer something a little more “high end”, we have developed our Prestige collection, which showcases some of our finest gems from Champagne. This includes our top vintages and reserves to offer that added element of luxury to your life. Now, we understand that for many people, brands, especially champagne brands, play an important part in people’s lives. However, for most they are a rare luxury as they often come with a very high price tag attached.
We are in the process of building our Guilty Pleasures range where we suggest great value alternatives to the best-known champagne brands. So if you know what you like, but want to broaden your horizons, you can choose a small-producer champagne which is similar or dare we say it, even better than your favourite brand! Keep watching.
Finally, we have our Seasonal Collection where we suggest champagnes to match the cuisines and events of the season, as well as our Wedding Champagne range with excellent picks to match each part of the special day. This includes our wedding calculator so you can decide how much bubbly you need for your guests. We also have some excellent ideas for table centre pieces, which will really set your special occasion apart. So take a look now and let us know what you think!!
From Sun 23-Wed 26th September, we were honoured to run The Real Champagne Bar at the Design Centre in Chelsea Harbour. Hundreds of people flocked to view the latest in design innovation from, frankly, more interiors stores than we have ever seen. From Bathrooms, to wall coverings to Nepalese wool rugs, it opened our eyes to a whole new world of decorating ideas. For those who have yet to visit the Design Centre, it is an impressive building consisting of three main sections, each topped with a glass dome. This makes for a wonderfully bright, if a bit stuffy, environment to browse around the fabulous boutiques. Luckily, Real Champagne was on hand to provide some chilled, innovative small-producer champagnes, enabling designers from across the globe to refresh and carry on.
For your chance to WIN two tickets to this year's show, please take a few minutes to complete our survey and help us understand what is important for you when buying champagne. Click here to do it now. Closing date is 25th November 2012.Thank you and GOOD LUCK!
We will shortly be adding a selection of Magnums to our range for those extra special occasions. Producers only make certain cuvees in magnum size, usually the most prestigious. It is widely stated that the larger bottle size allows the wine to age better and is therefore of a superior quality. So if you are looking to impress this Christmas (or any other occasion), keep watching!
Luxury Gift Range
We will soon be offering a greater variety of bespoke gifts, luxuriously packaged and finished with that extra special touch so that you can treat that someone special for their Birthday, Christmas or any other big occasion. Alternatively, if you want to thank that top client who keeps coming back to you, we can make sure they feel justly apreciated. More to come, but look out over the next month or so.
Summer Update from Real Champagne
News from Champagne...the worst hail damage in history
This year has proven to be very challenging for our Champagne growers. Last year required organisation and efficiency as the early warm weather led to an earlier harvest than predicted. However, as a warm spring gave way to a cool, wet summer, the wines did not have sufficient natural sugar levels, which meant the process of adding sugar (chapitalisation) seemed very likely. The harvest was early as leaving the grapes on the vines for too long in wet weather may have meant that they started to rot, which would have affected the quality of the wines and may have even wiped out stock. This year, the trend for warm springs and wet summers continues, but with even more intensity. The champagne region has suffered some of the worst hail storms in history. According to Decanter magazine, it is thought that up to a third of next year’s harvest has been lost, primarily in the Pinot Noir area of Bar-sur-Aube. It is hard to say when the harvest will take place this year with still a month to go until the usual date, but the CIVC is watching closely.
Growers will need to rely on the reserve wines they have saved up to boost next year’s supply and in many cases, they will have no contingency, so everyone is hoping the freak weather holds off and gives the region a chance to recover. This means that some of our growers will have a limited availability of their champagnes in the coming years, which are already quite difficult to get hold of. We continue to do our best to bring a little piece of the real champagne to you here in the UK and hopefully we can still offer these wonderful cuvees, even if in smaller quantities.
This year, The Real Champagne Company aims to be in the midst of the action this harvest and help some of our wonderful growers with this back-breaking, yet highly rewarding task.
Inside the Bubble...with Rémy Massin Père & Fils
Rémy Massin is a superb little house in Ville-sur-Arce. Recently expanded to enhance production and storage, Sylvère and his family are trying to up their game in the world of grower champagnes. On our last visit, we met all three generations of the family, which really encapsulates the heritage and pride that goes into champagne production and that people’s livelihoods are determined each day by the success of their champagnes.
The Rémy Massin label was born in 1974, but the first vines were planted much earlier in the early 1900s by his Great Great Grandfather Louis-Aristide. Sylvère, an expert blender, works with his son Cédric, who cultivates the 20ha of vines in their possession.
Rémy Massin creates some extremely interesting champagnes, only a couple of which have found their way into the UK before now. We are delighted to offer the Brut Réserve and the Cuvée Louis-Aristide, which is named in honour of the pioneer himself. How fitting that it should be made from 10 years of the best reserve wines. It is a true masterpiece of blending, with 95% Pinot Noir and 5% Chardonnay, it’s depth and finesse are close to unrivalled. As such, it is one of the most prestigious champagnes in our offering. We are also very excited by the arrival of Massin's latest vintage 2004, which you can see here.
Sylvère uses thermo-regulated vats to optimise the temperatures during fermentation. He needs to find the balance between sufficient heat to kick start the first fermentation process, but then sufficient coolness to ensure the wines do not become too heavy and maintain the right levels of acidity. In addition, controlling the temperature in such a way helps maintain the aromas of the wines, which is just as important as the flavour when it comes to drinking champagne! Sylvère believes that in addition to the above technique, the quality of his champagnes lies in the cultivation techniques of the soil and the vines and the care and attention taken during the harvest process.
Sylvère’s wife, Carole, as well as dealing with the Communications side of things, is also a fantastic artist and creates some quite stunning glass and bottle designs, which we are delighted to be able to offer you. As the wedding and party season approaches, these make lovely gifts which can be kept and used as ornamental displays. See here for more information.
New to Real Champagne...
We are constantly evolving our range of Champagnes to ensure that you get try the very best Real Champagne has to offer. Aside from our new Summer Celebration Selection, which is ripe for the season, below are some of our other hot new arrivals waiting for your verdict...
Looking for something different? Fed up with the same old gift ideas? In conjunction with Carole Massin, we are able to exclusively offer you hand painted bottles of Brut Reserve champagne and flute designs to make the perfect gift for a wedding or other special occasion. We will work with you to finalise your required design and then liaise with Carole to get your masterpiece created. Prices start from £49.99 and are subject to change depending on your requirements.
What's the story with Zero Dosage and Sulphur-free champagnes?? The art of champagne production is all about maintaining the all important acidity of the wine, which starts from picking the grapes at the right time. If you harvest too early, the grapes will be too acidic and the champagne will be too bitter. Leave it too late and the natural sugars in the grapes will start to show and the wine will be too heavy and taste like..well, like wine. For the initial fermentation, the growers use temperature to kick start the process, increasing and decreasing it accordingly. The colder the conditions, the slower the fermentation process. Once the first phase is complete, they then bottle the still wine and use a combination of yeast and pure sugar to create a reaction, which in turn leads to bubbles (officially known as Carbon Dioxide). The addition of sugar here is primarily to encourage the second fermentation. It is later on at the point of disgorging when growers determine the "dosage" for the particular style of champagne. Most Brut champagnes will have a small amount of sugar added as part of the dosage, which is a combination of the base wine and a sugary liqueur. In the case of Drappier however, and a few others, they do not add any sugar at this part of the process. The Drappier Brut Nature Zero Dosage has only 2g of sugar per bottle, all of which occurs naturally from the grapes. So, this champagne is as pure and as authentic as it can get with minimal intervention - the very essence of Real Champagne. It is about as dry as you can get for a champagne, but delightfully easy to drink, with a nose of citrus and red fruits with a slight herbaceous bouquet and a flavour of Vine Peach. A champagne which is free to express itself.
In addition to sugar, all champagnes have some sulphur present, which appears naturally during the vine growing process. Usually, growers add small amounts during the fermentation process because this prevents oxidisation of the wine, which would make it cloudy. And that wouldn't make for a beautiful drink..Once again, Drappier bucks the trend by creating a special cuvee with absolutely no added sulphur. The fermentation process without sulphur is particularly challenging and so Drappier uses special vats to keep the conditions as controlled as possible. Both of these fantastic champagnes won 2* in the Guide Hachette 2011. Worth a try for something new.
We have put together the best champagnes from our collection for you to enjoy in a case of 3 or 6. All of these champagnes have won numerous awards from some of the most prestigious bodies so what better way to try the best Real Champagne has to offer!
We have combined the champagnes from the most well reputed years, to bring you an exclusive Vintage selection. From 2004, 2006 and 2007, a combination of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, including one 100% Chardonnay, they are all very distinctive and reflect the quality of the years in which they were produced. A must have for your next big party!
Big fan of all things fruity? Black grapes over white grapes? We have picked out our 100% Pinot Noir champagnes so that you can enjoy the notes of red and white fruits, with all the depth a black grape has to offer. Available in half bottles, this is the ultimate guilty pleasure for a balmy summer evening.
Looking for a nice "Thank You" or wedding gift this summer? We have packaged our wonderful Summer Champagne selection in a beautiul wooden case, which adds a certain "je ne sais quoi" to the delights within. Treat someone special this summer!
We want to make sure that we keep offering the champagne you love most. As such, we need to know what you think. Leave feedback on your latest orders and we will send you a discount code for money off next time around.
Here's how you do it:
1) Go to "Log In", in the top right hand corner of our website (www.real-champagne.com)
2) Enter your User Name and Password
3) Select "View Order History"
4) Choose "Rate Products" and/or "Give Feedback"
5) Don't forget to click "Send Feedback"
Send yours today and we'll send you a token of our appreciation.