Bubbles in Wan Chai – Champagne Thiénot at Berry Bros. & Rudd

Thiénot logoA relative newcomer to the world of sparkling wine, Champagne Thiénot was established in 1985 by Alain Thiénot. Given that many of the great names in Champagne can trace their history back centuries it speaks volumes that a comparative youngster has gained such a foothold in the minds of Champagne drinkers.

Last night Berry Bros. & Rudd hosted a tasting of five different cuvées from this House at their Wan Chai office. The portfolio was well represented with the following wines; NV Thiénot Brut, NV Thiénot Brut Rosé, 2005 Thiénot Cuvée Stanislas, Blanc de Blancs, 2002 Thiénot La Vigne Aux Gamins, 2007 Thiénot Cuvé Garance, Blanc de Noirs.

Thiénot tasting room 2 bottles

Located in Reims and now run by Alain’s two children, the House produces an eponymous cuvée for each member of the family involved with the business, all of which are vintage expressions. The Cuvée Alain Thiénot is a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir blend and this is only produced in exceptional vintages. The cuvées named for each child are single grape expressions with Chardonnay used for Cuvée Stanislas and Pinot Noir for Cuvée Garance, producing a Blanc de Blancs and Blanc de Noirs respectively.

The standouts for me were the 2005 Cuvée Stanislas, Blanc de Blancs and the NV Brut Rosé. The Blanc de Blancs, sourced completely from the Côte des Blancs, was very perfumed with that richness offered by a sparkling wine made completely with Chardonnay grapes. Toasty aromas sat alongside tarte tatin, brioche and poached pear and this continued on the palate with bitter almonds and a burst of fresh lemon juice on the finish. The balance between a creamy mousse and crisp acidity was just right and I would quite happily sip away on more than one glass of this Champagne.

Thiénot 2005 Cuvé Stanislas BdB Thiénot NV Rosé

The rosé by contrast was altogether more delicate with an appealingly pretty nose of subtle red fruits that continued on the palate as strawberries and red cherry. The mousse was creamy and the red fruits were nicely offset by hints of marzipan. On the palate I found a very definite sense of structure whilst retaining an overall elegance and grace. This is a rosé that is really rather enticing in character and guaranteed to have you refilling your glass without even realising it!

Thiénot BBR tasting room 2

The tasting was bustling from start to finish and in Hong Kong where the market is so completely dominated by red wine it was exciting to see a large number Champagne enthusiasts out enjoying themselves.

Happy Drinking!

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A taste of Georgia in Hullett House, Hong Kong

Georgian tasting - Hullett House

Hullett House, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. Image courtesy of Hullett House.

Last week I attended an event showcasing wines from Georgia hosted by Debra Meiburg M.W. and her team from Meiburg Wine Media. In the interests of transparency I should mention that I have worked for Debra previously and that my inner wine geek is rather partial to a glass or two of Georgian white wine.

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A taste of Spain in LKF Tower, Hong Kong

WinesFrom my first visit to Spain many years ago to work as a flutist in an orchestra in northwest Spain I was hooked – the food, the culture, the language – everything about Spain worked for me. I met my husband in a Spanish language class, we cook and eat out at as many Spanish restaurants as we can find and we talk of living in Spain at some point in the future. And so when Boqueria invited me to sample their new seasonal menu with wine matches it took all of a nanosecond for me to accept.

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What I’ve been drinking … Mullineux Wines, Journey Wines, Chateau Rauzan Segla

  1. Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, Swartland, South Africa, 2011, White Blend
  2. Journey Wines, Heathcote, Australia, 2012, Shiraz
  3. Chateau Rauzan Segla, Margaux, France 1983, Bordeaux red

Mullineux 2011 white blendThe white blend from Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines in Swartland South Africa is one of my all time favourite white wines. It satisfies so many different requirements being the perfect weekday wine as well as the quiet star to serve for friends over dinner on the weekend.

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Geoff Merrill Wines – back vintage tasting

IMG_8065 copyGeoff Merrill and his wines, Wooloomooloo, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

Wines Tasted

  1. Geoff Merrill, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 1995 (Magnum), 2000, 2005, 2007, 2010
  2. Geoff Merrill, Reserve Shiraz, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2010
  3. Geoff Merrill, Henley Shiraz, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2008

“The moment you think you know all about wine, you’re kidding yourself.” This quote from Geoff Merrill, a man who has decades of experience behind him, summarises his approach to winemaking.

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Housekeeping at Happy Wine Woman

CheersYou may have noticed things have been a bit quiet on the Happy Wine Woman front. Last week I sat the final (five hour) exam in my WSET Diploma journey. After two years of fairly intensive study with five modules in the first year covering viticulture, global sales, spirits, fortified wine and sparkling wine followed by one year to prepare for still wines of the world (!) I am now finished. The lead up as you can imagine was all consuming but I am now happily back in the real world.

The first order of business was to update my site URL to www.happywinewoman.com so if have the site bookmarked please do update the link. The good news is that the old site will redirect you if necessary.

Diploma results are out late September, early October so stay tuned. In the meantime I’m excited to be visiting the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula in a couple of months as well as gearing up for South Africa’s CapeWine 2015 in September. If you are going to CapeWine 2015 do let me know, if would be lovely to meet you there!

Happy Drinking!

BIVB live and interactive – a celebration of all things Chardonnay

BIVB Chardonnay Saint Aubin - credit BIVBSaint-Aubin Credit: BIVB

The summer months have arrived in Hong Kong and the weather is rather grey at the moment, which makes the latest installment of the BIVB’s (Burgundy Wine Board) Live and Interactive seminars the perfect antidote. We arrived to find six little glasses of sunshine waiting for us as we began the seminar focusing on Chardonnay from different appellations in Burgundy.

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