Category Archives: Wine Gift Ideas

Aug 08 2011

Bollinger: A Remarkable Champagne for almost all occasions!

Posted on August 08, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Bollinger is the only Champagne that can compete with Dom Perignon for star billing in a James Bond film.  To date, it has appeared in five films compared to Dom Perignon’s seven!

No doubt, the consummate marketer Lily Bollinger, who up until her death in 1977 tirelessy travelled the world promoting the brand, would be pleased that her Champagne is a favourite of one of the world’s most sophisticated and stylish spies!

Of course, Lily herself didn’t shy away from the limelight. She is perhaps most famous for the following oft-repeated quote about when to drink Champagne: “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty.” (Lily Bollinger, 17 October 1961, Daily Mail, The Wine Doctor).

But as Chris Kissack of the Wine Doctor notes, Lily’s marketing prowess was just one of her many skills: “She was a hard taskmaster, personally directing operations in both vineyard and cave, everything from harvest and selection through to fermentation and blending. It is perhaps not surprising that much of Bollinger’s success today is traced back to her exacting methods.” (Bollinger, The Wine Doctor).

Bollinger was founded in 1829 by German businessman Joseph Jacob Placide Bollinger, who partnered with Athanase Hennequin de Villermont and Paul Renaudin. The Germans were huge fans of Champagne in the early 19th century and other famous German nationals, including Johann-Josef Krug and Charles Heidsieck, also founded their own great Champagne Houses during this period.

The individualistic style of Bollinger Champagne is partly due to the fact that it is one of the few Houses to ferment all of … Read the rest

Aug 08 2011

Dom Pérignon Champagne: The Wow Factor!

Posted on August 08, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

If you’re a fan of 007 then odds are you remember James Bond sharing the screen with a very famous Champagne. Dom Pérignon, the prestige vintage cuvée of Moët & Chandon, made an appearance in the very first Bond movie, the 1962 Dr No. It has appeared in seven 007 movies since! You may recall the scene in Dr No when Bond (Sean Connery) grabs a bottle to bash a guard with: “That’s a Dom Pérignon ’55 – it would be a pity to break it,” says Dr. No, quietly. “I prefer the ’53 myself,” responds Bond.

Since the debut release of the 1921 vintage in 1936, Dom Pérignon – the world’s first prestige Champagne – has been the preferred Champagne of the rich and famous. Apparently Marilyn Munroe’s favourite vintage was also the 1953. Andy Warhol was a fan, and the Shah of Iran ordered several magnums of the Dom Pérignon Rosé for his wedding in 1959. Magnums of the 1961 vintage were served at the 1981 Royal wedding of Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer. (Some critics consider the 1961 vintage the best to date).

All this from a wine named in honour of a 17th century Benedictine monk! Of course, Dom Pérignon was no ordinary monk. He was cellar master at the Benedictine Abbey in Hautvillers, and responsible for introducing the cork to keep the wine fresh and sparkling. He also improved blending techniques and used a thicker glass so the bottle was less likely to explode!

According to Antonio Galloni of the Wine Advocate, upholding the remarkable legacy of Dom Pérignon has not stopped the current winemaker, Chef de Cave Richard Geoffroy, from taking risks to improve the wine’s style and quality, especially with regards to the Dom Pérignon Rosé:

While the 2002 Dom Perignon and Read the rest

Jul 07 2011

Wine Gift Ideas: Vintage Sparkling from Tasmania rivals the finest Champagne

Posted on July 07, 2011 | By merrill@cellarit.com

Arguably, the finest sparkling wines in Australia come from Tasmania.  Bay of Fires‘ winemaker Fran Austin argues that what distinguishes the cool climate wines of Tasmania from their high altitude, cool climate counterparts on the mainland is the acid structure in the grapes: “A lot of mainland cool-climate regions are cool because they’re high up, not because they’re down south. In high-altitude wines, the acidity can taste hard. But in cool-latitude wines, you get softer, mouth-watering juicy acidity. And incredible depth of flavour – which means you can work the wines more, let them spend more time on lees before releasing them, producing a more complex end result.” (Epithany – Aussie Sparkling by Max Allen, Langton’s Magazine.)

The potential of Tasmania for producing fine sparkling wines was first recognised in the 1980s when the French Champagne House Louis Roederer established the Jansz vineyard in collaboration with Heemskerk in the Tamar Valley. Jansz was Tasmania’s first sparkling wine to be made according to the traditional méthod champenoise. In 2009 the Jansz Tasmania Premium Vintage Cuvee 2004 beat out some serious French competition to claim the Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine of the Show at the Sydney International Wine Competition.

Last year the House of Arras released the EJ Carr Late Disgorged Sparkling 1998, which at a recommended retail price of  $190, made it the most expensive Australian sparkling wine on the market. Wine critic Max Allen described his reaction to a sneak preview over a decade ago of the 1995 Tasmanian vintage made by winemaker Ed Carr: “I still remember tasting these wines and thinking here was Australian sparkling that approached the best Champagne in terms of finesse, complexity and depth of flavour.” Epithany: Aussie Sparkling by Max Allen, Langton’s Magazine.

Taltarni owned Clover Hill in … Read the rest