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Delhi Wine Club
View Point: Champagne DelWine Brut Rosé NV, Anyone?

Posted: Saturday, 07 January 2017 11:39


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View Point: Champagne DelWine Brut Rosé NV, Anyone?

Jan 07: No sparkling wine may be called champagne unless it is produced in Champagne under its Appellation laws, with the exception of a handful of California Champagnes under the ‘Grandfather Clause’ but interestingly, one can buy and import champagne in one’s own label or have it produced under contract and sell as champagne in any country; hypothetically we may also bring in delWine Brut NV champagne produced under our specifications, to suit the Indian palate, opines Subhash Arora

Click For Large ViewLast month I visited Buena Vista, California’s First Premium Winery where I attended a guided prestigious sparkling wine tasting organised for a select group. The 8 wines in 3 flights were matched with gourmet foods from the upmarket ‘Atelier by JCB’ in Yountville, both owned by that flamboyant Man from Burgundy, Jean Charles Boisset.

A great fan of sparkling wines from Burgundy, he presented a varied range of bubblies to an august invited gathering. In a typical French style each of the 3 flights was paired with select imported gourmet food items-including Caviar, Pâté and Foie Gras on Truffle.

Champagne by a California Producer

Included in the list were two NV champagnes with Buena Vista labels- Buena Vista champagnes La Victoire Brut NV Champagne and Buena Vista champagnes La Victoire Rosé Brut NV Champagne, the former served with top end Petrossian Caviars from Paris while the latter with Pâté and Foie Gras. For a moment I thought these were California Champagnes. After all, the winery has been in existence since 1857- 3 years before the sparkling wine was first produced in California. And after all, the treaty signed by the US with EU did allow a handful of Californian producers to continue labelling their sparkling wines as champagnes, provided they added the prefix of California to their label. Korbel, André and Cook’s continue to sell California champagne. In fact, the White House patronises Korbel, if a few wine lists at various receptions by President Obama in the past are any indication.

I know since Jean Charles is from Burgundy which is adjoining Champagne, there could be some bubbly connection. As it turned out, I was right. One of the champagne producers is apparently a good friend of JC who loves the sparkling wines from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of Burgundy enough to get a sparkling wine crafted in Champagne for his JCB Collection. The laws of champagne allow the export of the Real McCoy in any label provided the liquid is bottled within Champagne-from vine to bottle, according to Champagne laws. Hence Buena Vista champagne!

Italian Champagne

I had been really foxed when I first came across Diadema champagne exhibited by an Italian company at an Indian wine show in December 2008. As I wrote about it in delWine ‘champagne must be produced and bottled in the approved areas in the Champagne district according to the Appellation laws to earn the coveted title.’

It was later at the ArezzoWine, the now defunct wine show, that I met Dr. Alberto Giannotti, owner of Villa d’Olmo which sold Diadema wines and he clarified that he sourced the best quality champagne he could buy under his specification and have it bottled in Champagne and imported to Italy where he labelled it as Diadema. Apparently this is permissible according to the appellation laws.

Diadema Diamante is perhaps world’s only champagne that is labelled with real diamonds, making it a collector’s delight. The labels are produced by the Florence-based, 640-year old jeweller, Opificio Orafo Torrini. Each ‘Diamante’ champagne bottle of Blanc de Blancs or Rosé would set you back by €8,000 (Rs.570,000). All are vintage champagnes.

Indian champagnes

India has had a tryst with ‘champagne’ from the early days in the 1980s when a winery known as Champagne Indage released a champagne called Marquis de Pompadour because it was allowed at that time. But the company was obliged to change its name to Chateau Indage and finally Indage Vintners. The company went bankrupt a few years ago despite the well accepted sparkling wine.

Click For Large ViewWhen Sula started producing bubbly in the early 2000’s, it was labelled as Champagne. But with sound advice from well-wishers (I remember distinctly advising Rajeev Samant it was not legal when I met him for the first time at a Delhi Wine Club Dinner hosted by Sula at the Taj Palace Hotel). Soon afterwards (perhaps next harvest) it was replaced simply by Brut on the label.

When Vallée de Vin started producing Zampa in 2008 and announced the launch of Zampagne as their soon-to-be-released bubbly in 2009 from their Nashik plant, one knew that Zampa was on a collision course with Champagne. But good judgment apparently was made to prevail upon them and they settled for ‘Soiree’ for the sparkler and dropped Zampagne.

For the sake of explanation, it should be clarified that not only Buena Vista, or Diadema, there could also be Marquis de Pompadour, Sula and Zampagne champagnes available in the Indian market, provided they were produced and bottled in Champagne and imported as BIO.

This of course, is just one of the many reasons why Champagne is zealously protective and wary of producers of sparkling wine over using champagne or anything that looks like champagne, Zampagne not excepted. Therefore, if we were to invest in the brand, we could have delWine champagne- produced and exported from Champagne, provided the import and excise formalities were completed.

Subhash Arora


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Tags: champagne, Buena Vista, Atelier by JCB, Yountville, Jean Charles Boisset, Burgundy, La Victoire Brut NV Champagne, La Victoire Rosé Brut NV Champagne, Korbel, André, Cook’s, California champagne, sparkling wine, Diadema, Alberto Giannotti, Villa d’Olmo, Diadema Diamante, Opificio Orafo Torrini, Champagne Indage, Marquis de Pompadour, Chateau Indage, Indage Vintners, Sula,Vallée de Vin, Zampagne


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