Posted on | March 30, 2009 | No Comments
Champagne is synonymous with celebration, especially when it comes to weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, or winning at the Formula 1 races.
Such is the stereotype, that Champagne is relegated to the role of the tipple that is used for toasting at these celebratory occasions, and is rarely taken seriously as a wine, to be matched with meals and savoured for it’s finesse and complexity…
Interestingly, the most commonplace occasions other than celebrations where Champagne is imbibed, seem to be at the Night Clubs, where they are used to slake the parched throats of the not so young, but, trendy party goers, gyrating endlessly on the dance floors.
Alternatively, Champagne is often poured at Cocktail Parties, where it is sipped, along with tasty morsels of finger food, canapés, and focused conversations.
Then, there are also the Hotel Sunday Brunches where many individuals are seen to be literally chugging away at the Champagne, like there wasn’t going to be a tomorrow…
The Champagnes that regularly appear at these “volume” outlets, tend to be from the larger producers, with the “Grand Marques” taking the largest cut in the pie that is the marketplace, due to their obviously larger available volumes, higher profiles due to much advertising, and their ability to muscle their way into the marketplace due to the strengths of their brands.
Due to the dominance of the “Grand Marques” in the marketplace and the marketing that enhances their desirability, these are the brands that people are most familiar with, and will ask for by name, something that is quite rare where regular wines are concerned.
Lower down in the pecking order of the Champagne market, there are specialist producers that produce Champagne on a much smaller scale, and sometimes, give the “Grand Marques” a run for their money, where quality is concerned.
These Champagnes very often only appear in smaller restaurants and specialist retailers, as they do not look for the same type of exposure, or sales volume as the Champagnes of the “Grand Marques”.
One such example is from the house of Champagne Marie Demets, a small producer from Guye-Sur-Seine, in the Southern part of the Champagne region, and, which used to supply grapes to Champagne Bollinger.
According to the available literature, Champagne Marie Demets was formed in 1987 when Marie Brement married Alain Demets.
Marie’s family have cultivated the land for many generations and Alain, who used to rent vines from the Brement family, took over the domaine on Marie’s father’s retirement.
This small grower produces all its Champagne from their own twelve hectares planted with mostly Pinot Noir.
I happened to encounter their Non Vintage Brut Tradition Champagne at a tasting, and I was so charmed by it, that I made an unprecedented purchase of a dozen bottles…
Made from 95% Pinot Noir, and 5% Chardonnay, from 100% Grand Cru vineyard sites, the Champagne Marie Demets Brut Tradition NV showed a vibrant medium gold colour, with a fine, persistent mousse.
On the nose, this Champagne displayed a distinctly creamy, and biscuity bouquet, with some hints of honey.
On the palate, it was dry, with pinot fruit that was rich, full flavoured, and fresh, with some yeast and biscuit notes, and, a light hint of nuttiness lingering in the finish.
This Champagne was beautifully balanced, with considerable elegance and finesse. Furthermore, it was also absolutely delicious, and, eminently drinkable.
I have enjoyed this Champagne as an aperitif, and with simple pleasures like Cantonese Roast Pork (Siew Yoke), Deepfried Battered Whitebait, Deepfried Frogs Legs with Ginger Chips, Squid Tentacles with Salted Egg coating, and even Steamed White Pomfret Teochew-style.
From the case of 12 bottles, I now have just 3 bottles left, and I look forward to the day when the local importer here in Singapore (Lollapalooza Asia) brings in the highly acclaimed Marie Demets Brut Rosé NV.Copyright © MM - MMXII Daniel CHIA. All rights reserved.