|What:||Alfred Gratien Champagne Dinner and Club AGM|
|When:||17 Jun 08 ,19:00 -22:30|
|Where:||The Painters Hall EC4V 2AD map|
Alfred Gratien Champagne Dinner and Club AGM, The Painters Hall, Little Trinity Lane, London EC4V 2AD Tuesday 17th June 2008, 7pm for 7.30pm Speaker: Olivier Dupre The Club AGM at 6pm precedes this dinner in the Court Room of The Painters Hall. It has been a few years since we had a Champagne dinner and this summer evening we will be joined by Olivier Dupre of Alfred Gratien, suppliers of The Wine Society’s champagne. Tonight we will learn more. The house of Alfred Gratien has been producing champagne since 1864. Using traditional methods plus careful grape selection, the ‘hand crafted’ champagnes are of outstanding quality. The cellar master, Nicholas Jaeger, represents the fourth generation of his family to ensure that the wine-making traditions are followed. There are three grape varieties used to make champagne. Pinot Noir for character and body, Pinot Meunier for nutty aromas and ageing potential, and Chardonnay, for the lively finish which makes champagne a memorable drink. Let’s start the evening with some champagne! In fact, The Society’s Exhibition Blanc de Blancs, all chardonnay, dry, elegant and refined, a soft, shiny gold in colour. There’s a bouquet of vanilla brioche with a hint of citrus followed on the palate, overall a rich, complex wine. Now compare with The Society’s Champagne, Brut, very enjoyable and familiar, which is so much better than many other famous champagne houses. Using the classic grapes of the champagne region, pinot meunier and chardonnay, plus some pinot noir, a mellow style improved by being aged in barrel rather than a stainless tank. The high level of acidity means that this wine will improve in your cellar, giving those who plan ahead greater enjoyment. Savour the distinctive style, which is dry, full flavoured, long and well rounded. This will be followed by The Society’s Rose Champagne, a new development which Marcel Orford-Williams is keen for us to try, made with chardonnay, and the slight coppery-rose colour coming from the addition of pinot noir wine. The fine mousse is long lasting, and you may detect shades of strawberry (or raspberry). Although this is a champagne dinner, I’m going to include a still wine at this point, as I think your palate might need a rest from all these sparkling bubbles. We’ll have a simple white burgundy, Macon-Farges, 2006, from Paul et Mallory Talmard, - enjoy the fresh, lightly honeyed aroma and rounded palate. Our next champagne is a bit special, Alfred Gratien Brut 1997 vintage, elegant and fine, with a lovely creamy texture. Aged for ten years in barrel, two thirds chardonnay, one quarter pinot noir, and ten percent pinot meunier, this wine is full bodied and has exceptional length. Perhaps the finest Alfred Gratien Champagne this evening will be served in magnum, Cuvee du Centenaire, which was made to mark the 100 year relationship which this excellent champagne house has with The Wine Society. This nectar is from the 1996 vintage, reputedly the greatest of the last century, and offers strength, refined flavours and aromas of fruit. Sparkling gold highlights are a feature of the colour, and there is long lasting mousse with a creamy finish. The first biscuity flavours, perhaps almonds and nuts, give way to scents of red plums and mirabelles, so I am told, giving a very balanced wine which should be savoured and enjoyed. We now move towards dessert, and we will finish with a dessert wine, The Society’s Demi-Sec Champagne, full and fruity, an enjoyable way to finish a meal.