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The Ultimate Guide to Champagne by Liz Palmer

Posted: Friday, 21 October 2016 17:47


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Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Champagne by Liz Palmer

Oct 21: My idea of a good wine and champagne is when I open a bottle it finishes fast and I want to have another one opened. The ‘Ultimate Guide to Champagne’ by the Canadian author Liz Palmer does exactly that- with a crisp and lucid presentation that transports you to La Champagne every time you open the book and eggs you on to plan a visit to the region yet again or makes you involuntarily open a bottle of champagne-says Subhash Arora who reviews her book

I am usually wary of the ULTIMATEs in life including wine guides-but this one is really true to its title. It has all the information one wants about champagne and the region, La Champagne which I visited last year to attend an International Conference on Wine Tourism (IWINETC). It is so well-researched and the information so accurately charted that it could be a text book for students at any level (except perhaps for MW and MS students) and champagne lovers and connoisseurs alike-due to the historical details and facts collated from authentic sources including CIVC.

The book is very precise and full of Historic Tips and Fun Facts-Not only about champagne but also the region of Champagne- its chapels, cathedrals and chalky pits; cellars and crayers abbeys.  Liz  Palmer even gives you precious tips on where to eat and drink, Things to Do and See while you are there.

Champagne is a tourists’ delight too. Barely 100 miles from Paris, it is an ideal place for even passengers transiting through the city.  It is very exciting to see that Tourism gets a priority in the book as she talks about it in the very beginning - chapter 2. Pretty soon you realise that it has easy flow of reading with French names in italics so they don’t intimidate you. The historical references like the one about Moët & Chandon, the official Champagne of The Great Gatsby, not only make reading a pleasure but help discover a trove of information usually not available easily.

The 316- page Paperback is split into twenty-two chapters and three appendices. Each chapter is comprehensive, appealing and thoroughly researched with practical resources. It has a dictionary of champagne terms and phrases. She gives you practical tips for storage, reading the label, and tells you how to buy. There is help even for wedding planners and corporate events followed by an index.

There is important and relevant information packed into pages. Here is an example, ‘The Appellation law was passed in 1927 and now spreads across about 320 crus (towns or villages). The region is a substantially diverse area, composed of 280,000 vineyard plots, spreading over 33,570 hectares of France’s appellation system, Appellation d’Origen Controlee AOC. The endless tit- bits will provide you ammunition for cocktail parties where you may impress your friends with your encyclopaedic knowledge about champagnes and Champagne region but in fact, you would be learning about interesting facts of the moniker and the region.

She tickles your senses and tingles your desire to travel to wine destination when she say, ‘the best place to start would be The Champagne Route or Route Touristique du Champagne-it begins about 100 miles (or 160 km) east of Paris. There are five different routes, 80 visitor centres, and over 600 kms of various trails across magnificent, pastoral scenery.’ After reading the book you would not be able to travel through Paris without planning or wishing a side trip to the region.

Click For Large ViewThe chic design of the outside cover makes you open the book. She has even selected a perfect wine glass as perceived by today’s champagne aficionados. But be warned-once you get into Chapter  you may not like to put it down. And if you are used to drinking Prosecco or Cava, you may be hooked to the real thing- which is naturally much more expensive than the other sparkling wines and will eat into your budget!

This is a must-have book for wine and Champagne enthusiasts, wine clubs, sommeliers, wine agents, corporate event planners, wedding industry professionals, libraries and fashionistas. Whether you’re a serious imbiber or just appreciate the occasional flute of Champagne, The Ultimate Guide to Champagne will educate your palate and excite your senses. It’s the only Champagne book you will ever need! The book is an appetiser, main course and dessert-all in one.  

Released late last month, the Ultimate Guide is available from Amazon at a rather expensive price of $44.95 but which is equivalent to a bottle of good every-day drinking champagne. If you are on a budget, the price of $5.99 on Kindle is an extremely affordable choice. The book gives comprehensive details about various websites but practically no information about the email addresses that would have made the job of first time visitors much easier. She doesn’t make any differentiation between Champagne – the region and champagne the wine. But that is a minor oversight and could be perhaps corrected in the next edition.

A must-have Bible for Champagne lover- suggested for Indian wine lovers for a mere $5.99 on Kindle due to ease of uploading without any hassles of delivery. It will be your ‘Spiritual’ guide for years to come!

Happy Global Champagne Day to all our readers today.

Subhash Arora


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