Champagne and Sushi at London’s #Britefest
On Tuesday 2 July more than 150 event organisers gathered at Eventbrite’s annual Festival Pop Up at the Hoxton Basement in Shoreditch to enjoy a taste of the UK’s best food and drink events. What better way for online ticketing platform Eventbrite to celebrate ticketing more than 85,000 UK events last year than by hosting their very own Pop Up Festival featuring a champagne tasting bar, sushi-making class, beer tasting, cheese tasting and sweet treats alongside a string quartet, photo booth, street painter and even an events surgery hosted by the Eventbrite UK team and company founders Kevin and Julia Hartz (who incidentally flew in from San Francisco HQ especially for this event).
Eventbrite asked 2012 Champagne Educator of the Year Jayne Powell (better known as Champagne Jayne) to host a special #Britefest champagne tasting bar where VIP guests could sample 3 different styles of champagne side by side in order to discover their answer to this crucial champagne question: Do you prefer blondes, brunettes or redheads? Champagne Jayne had previously worked with Eventbrite UK to host their New Year’s Eve Event Guide at London’s Zetterhouse.
As you might expect the queue for the #Britefest champagne tasting bar was never ending, but Rachel’s sushi and Kath’s delicious cupcakes proved to be popular accompaniments to the fine fizz on offer from Canard-Duchene and Lanson. We’re still waiting to hear back on the full results of our sex and champagne survey… champagne brunette seemed to have it by a nose!
Champagne Styles explained:
Blanc de Blancs
‘Blanc de Blancs’ literally translated means ‘white from white’ (ie. a champagne made of 100 per cent Chardonnay). Blanc de Blancs is a delicate and creamy champagne style that may come from any district in the region – but the finest examples of this style are made with grapes from the world renowned villages in the Côte des Blancs (Avize, Cramant and Le Mesnil-Sur-Oger).
When young, Chardonnay is always extremely pale with tinges of green and can seem rather light and acidic, but with age it develops a toasty richness and mineral elegance that fills the mouth with intense purity of fruit. After four or five years, the best Blanc de Blancs taste of exotic fruits such as mango, peach and apricot and, as they reach maturity (Chardonnay is, after all, the most age-worthy grape), they develop a stunning golden appearance and offer a symphony of complex nutty aromas on the nose and a melting biscuity creaminess in the mouth.
Blanc de Noirs
Even though there are more black grapes (73 per cent) than white grapes (27 per cent) grown in the Champagne region, ‘Blanc de Noirs’ champagnes – ‘white from black’ (which can be made from either Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunier or both) are far less common than Blanc de Blancs. This is probably because all Pinot champagnes are not suitable as aperitif wines and, even though they make great food wines, they just cannot compete with Chardonnay-based champagnes in terms of elegance and finesse, and so usually the best Pinots are combined with Chardonnay to produce blended champagnes.
The most famous example of the Blanc de Noirs style is Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises, which was launched in 1969. Blanc de Noirs champagnes are very fruity wines, somewhat animal or earthy in character, full yellow in colour and really need food as a partner in crime. Firm and masculine in their youth as they mellow with age, flavours of honey, caramel and mushroom appear along with smoky notes and even leather aromas. The Grand Cru villages of Verzy, Verzenay, Bouzy, Ambonnay and Mailly are all capable of producing first class Pinot champagnes and this style is also very well expressed by certain growers in the Aube region.
The pleasure of well-made Rosé champagne is both visual and visceral. Love it or loathe it, pink champagne has polarised opinions since it was launched by Philippe Clicquot back in 1777. Historically speaking, because champagne musts were kept in contact with the colour pigments in the grape skins for prolonged periods (due to the slow manual pressing of grapes), all champagne wines were originally light red or at least pink-tinged in colour. Dom Pérignon was the first wine-maker talented enough to produce star bright white wine from red grapes and today, champagne is the only Rosé wine in the world that may be legally made from blending white wine with a little red wine. Some Rosé champagnes are made by maceration of the Pinot skins called ‘saignee’ (such as Laurent Perrier, the most popular Rosé in the world), which gives more strawberry and raspberry aromas to the blend. However, the majority of Rosé champagnes are made by the addition of still red wine (10 to 20 per cent usually from Bouzy or other Montagne de Reims villages added at the assemblage or liqueur de tirage stage), which affords greater control of the colour and allows for a substantial proportion of Chardonnay to be included in the blend if so desired (eg. Billecart-Salmon).
Learn more about champagne or book Champagne Jayne to host your next event