What do you know about champagne, other than its bubbly, expensive and signals glamour and good times? Doesn’t everyone know what champagne is? The short answer is ‘no’, and the long answer is ‘noo’.
Well first things first, It’s not champagne unless it comes from Champagne, so don’t call sparkling wine from California or Australia (however wonderful it is) ‘champagne’. Interestingly enough, champagne is the only wine that does not need to mention AOC status on the label – the mere fact that it is called champagne is enough to confirm it. Some trivia: What do you call sparkling wine made outside of the Appellation of Champagne in France? It’s generally called ‘crémant‘, though some of the coarser ones may be referred to as ‘mousseaux‘. No need to thank me 🙂 by the way…
Many of the myths that surround the existence on the origin of champagne point that the good monk Dom Pérignon was responsible. It’s a charming story, but back in those days, the spontaneous ‘second fermentation’ which creates the bubbles often resulted in exploding bottles. This a problem which ‘the Dom’ was more interested in avoiding than encouraging.So who discovered champagne? There are quite a few who advocate for the English, believe it or not! A chap named Christopher they say. I’ll leave the rest of the research to you.
I was recently at a Taittinger champagne tasting at the WWW Shop and Bar located at the Junction and learnt a few tricks off the books. The Wine Shop’s proprietor Phillipe Cauviere was more than a worthy host and under his skilled guidance we learnt quite alot. There was so much detail entailed, so i’ll just stick to one lane just in case this post turns into a book.
Founded as far back as 1734, the Taittinger Champagne house is based in Reims.This means Taittinger is in fact the third oldest Champagne house. The range of wine here includes several non-vintage cuvées, the Brut Réserve, which is 38% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier, Taittinger Demi-Sec is the same blend as the Brut Réserve, but with a 35g/l dosage, Taittinger Nocturne is the other new non-vintage wine, a blend of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir/Meunier and there is also a Comtes de Champagne Rosé, which recently has been 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, again made by addition of red wine.
Though the Kenyan palate is known to be a little bit sweet and somewhat selective, i can vouch that Taittinger is more than a worthy try. It’s diverse selection makes it easy for any champagne enthusiast to find their taste. Personally i loved the Nocturne because it was rather nettly on the nose, very mineral and spicy. On the palate, a lovely full, creamy, peppery style which is broad-shouldered, firm rather than flabby. Very nicely composed, dark and spicy. Very memorable indeed.
As for the food, delicious would be termed as an understatement! From tasty salmon, moist chicken, tender lamb to creamy shrimp all the way to one of the most sinful chocolate desserts i have ever tasted, these foods paired beautifully with the different champagne blends and once again it was proven that knowledge and experience is limitless. It’s always nice to experience such nicities and WWW was the perfect place to start.
If you are in the area one of these fine days, why dont you stop by and try some of what the most comprehensive Wine Shop in Nairobi has to offer.
p/s: Taittinger is also on sale at the premise at affordable prices!