The 26th of april saw the Champagne makers from Lallier Grand Cru (Ay) in town for a series of trade and customer tastings.
Thibault Lelarge and Francis Tribault wowed customers with a great selection of rich and ripe Champagnes including the fabulous Blancs des Blancs, made from Chardonnay grown in Ay, unusual in so much as Chardonnay only accounts for 3% of production in this area.
Tastings started with Brut selection – young fruity green apple flavoured wine with surprisingly good length. Next was the Grande Reserve Grand Cru with yeasty and marmity flavours. The 1999 vintage Lallier, even at 7 years of age, quite young with great potential.
I have never seen it done before, but Francis insisted on trying a still unoaked Chardonnay from the Chablis district (Bersan Petit Chablis) before the Blancs des Blancs.
This neutralised the palate and gave the Blancs des Blancs a chance to stand out as a stunning elegant champagne with great finesse. The Champagne was decanted into frozen decanters from room temperature and allowed to breathe before being served into a regular wine glass. This was followed by a tasting of the same wine direct from chilled bottle. The difference was remarkable and the room was split in two halves with which version they preferred.
The tasting ended with a 1er Cru Rosé which showed elegant fruit and rich aftertaste. This Rosé is made in a traditional way with the skin being left on pinot noir juice to accept a little colour. No Bouzy rouge here to colour white Champagne and again the difference was noticeable.
By the time Mark Price and Andrew Coghlan had rounded off tasting with some sweet canapés, Francis was winging his way back to Manchester to catch a late flight back to France. His flying visit had taken only 10 hours in the UK, but sales of over 500 bottles had been generated from the 3 trade and the public tasting. Vive la France, Vive La Champagne.
Tasting review by Andrew CoghlanShare and Enjoy: