Celebrating Global Champagne Day with Champagne Lanson

Global Champagne Day was on October 19, and I was invited to celebrate with a private dinner at Bel & Brio, and a champagne tasting with the chief winemaker of Champagne Lanson, Herve Dantan.

Champagne Lanson has been importing champagne to Australia since 1855. This is not unusual as Australia is the seventh largest champagne market in the world and the biggest outside Europe. Champagne Lanson has been making champagne since 1760 and is one of the oldest Champagne houses in France. In 1900, Queen Victoria granted Henri Marie Lanson the title of ‘Purveyor of Champagne to Her Majesty’ and the House has been the official supplier to the English court ever since.

Herve Dantan guided us through the tasting, explaining the history of champagne and Champagne Lanson, the champagne making process and the  difference between each bottle that we tasted.

Champagne Lanson has been making champagne using the traditional method of flavouring wines without malolactic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation speeds up the wine’s aging process and gives it a stronger, less fruity flavour.  Furthermore, every Champagne Lanson bottle is aged for a minimum of three-and-a-half years, longer than most other champagne houses. As a result, champagne Lanson is fresher, crisper and more fruity.

 

As a welcome drink, we were served Lanson Black Label Brut NV (RRP $49.99) which consists of 50 percent pinot noir, 35 percent chardonnay and 15 percent pinot meunier. Most of Lanson’s champagnes contain these three grape varieties, but in different proportions. This champagne is perfect as an aperitif.

For the starter, we were served seared yellowfin tuna with tuna mayo sauce, capers leafs, seasonal leaves salad with citrus dressing. It was matched with Lanson Noble Cuvee Brut Vintage 2000 (RRP $179.99).

For the first course, we were served spaghetti spanner crab with fresh organic tomato, chilli and herb flavoured breadcrumbs. It was served with Lanson Extra Age Brut NV (RRP $104.99).

For the main course, we ate 12 hour, slow cooked beef short ribs with whisky and dark chocolate jus, and radicchio in agrodolce almonds sliced. It was matched with Lanson Gold Label Brut Vintage 2005 (RRP $72.99).

For dessert, we had home made pastry tart with chestnut mousse, wild berry coulis and caramel threads. The last drink was Lanson Rose Label Brut Rose NV (RRP $67.99).

The food was amazing and the champagne was equally good. My favourite champagne for the night was the Lanson Extra Age Brut NV, followed by the Lanson Rose Label Brut Rose NV. But my opinion could be biased, because I tend to prefer pink champagne.

   

And now I would like to share some tips on storing and serving champagne that I learnt on the night:

  • Never freeze your champagne, the bottle could explode
  • Do not keep your bottle in the door of the refrigerator: every time you open the fridge you disturb the champagne
  • Cool champagne by plunging the bottle into a bucket of ice for 30 minutes or lay the bottle down in the bottom of the refrigerator for four hours
  • Store champagne in low constant temperature (around 10 degrees celsius) away from light, noise, vibrations and draughts for four hours
  • The ideal temperature for enjoying and serving champagne is between 8 to 10 degrees celsius
  • Avoid serving champagne in a cold glass, you could compromise the bubbles
  • Avoid using a dishwasher which may hinder bubble formation
  • Champagne should be enjoyed in tulip shaped glasses that are tall enough to give the bubbles room to move

Champagne Lanson is available from Dan Murphys, BWS and other select retailers.

For more information on Champagne Lanson, visit: http://www.lanson.com/en/

Grant’s Triple Wood Relaunches

Grant’s, the number two selling whisky in Australia, relaunched its signature Grant’s whisky by repackaging it and renaming it, Grant’s Triple Wood, at an event on Thursday, 11 October 2018.

The new name communicates its unique whisky making process of maturing its’ whisky in three distinct casks: Virgin Oak, American Oak, and Refill Bourbon. The triple wood gives it a smooth, rich and mellow taste. 

 

The brand Ambassador, Justin Strzadala, explained that Australian’s love Scotch whisky but they have a bias towards single malts because they perceive them as better quality. However, that is not necessarily true. The process of blending a Scotch whisky is very complex and time consuming to ensure consistency of blend. It is a lot of work to blend a variety of whiskies to create a consistent flavour at the volumes needed to meet market demand, and then age them for a minimum of three years. Further, the flavour profile of a blended Scotch whisky can be a very complex experience with multiple layers of flavour and mouth feel, which is the result of each particular production process. This makes blended whiskies more complex than single malts. You also may not know that the history of whisky all started with blended Scotch whisky. Single malts were only actively promoted from 1963.

William Grant & Sons Holdings Pty Ltd is an independent, family owned distiller and was founded by William Grant in 1887. Grant’s is the oldest continuously family run blended whisky distillery. It is the only blended whisky producer to have its own Stillman Cooper and Master Blender working together under the one roof.

If I was reviewing the food at this event, I would give it high marks, not only for its quality but also for the way it was matched perfectly to the cocktails. But this event was not about the food.

     

Instead, I will discuss the whisky cocktails we got to try, which were all popular crowd pleasers (except for the last one which I had not heard of) and are designed to introduce novices to whisky, and are not for whisky connoisseurs who prefer to drink whisky neat, or with some water.  As more of a novice, it worked for me. Those cocktails tasted better than ones I had tasted elsewhere, although one popular blogger did confide in me that she found them a bit too sweet, and they had to wait for the ice to melt a bit for her to drink them.

The cocktails consisted of:

– Grant’s Triple Wood Espresso Martini (30ml Grant’s Triple Wood, 30ml Tia Maria and 30ml demarera sugar syrup)

– Grant’s Triple Wood Sweet and Sour (60ml Grant’s Triple Wood, 30ml lemon juice, 1tsp orange marmalade, one egg white and one drop orange bitters)

– Grant’s Triple Wood Maple Old Fashioned (60ml Grants Triple Wood, 15ml Maple Syrup and three drops of aromatic bitters)

– Grant’s Triple Wood Tall Treacle (60ml Grant’s Triple Wood, 100ml cloudy apple juice, 15ml sugar syrup and three drops of aromatic bitters)

  

So whatever preconceptions you may have Scotch whisky, Grant’s Triple Wood is a good whisky (in cocktails and drunk neat) despite it being blended and less expensive.

For more information about Grant’s Triple Wood, go to: https://www.grantswhisky.com/en/

The Greek Film Festival launches with the firm, The Last Note

Filmmaker Pantelis Voulgaris’ heart-rending drama, The Last Note, kicked off the 12 day Festival (October 9 – 21, 2018) at Palace Cinemas, Norton Street on Tuesday 9 October, 2018.

Celebrating its 25th year, The Greek Film Festival is Australia’s oldest and largest film festival, bringing the best Greek films to cinema lovers in Sydney, Canberra, Perth and Melbourne (the latter of which has opening night attendees exceeding 1200). Running for almost three weeks, it offers a stellar programme of Greek films from young independent film makers to award winning directors.

The Greek Film Festival features some of the most iconic dramas, thrillers and comedies Greece has to offer. Greek films reflect Greek consciousness and give audiences an insight into the Greek political climate of today and yesteryear.

The opening night film tells the true story of the execution of 200 Greek political prisoners from Chaidari concentration camp by the Nazi Germans on May 1st, 1944 in Kaisariani, as reprisal for the Greek Resistance ambush against four Nazi soldiers. It stars Andreas Konstantinou (Best Actor at the 2018 Hellenic Film Academy Awards) who plays the 34-year-old political prisoner, Napoleon Sukatzidis, who acted as an interpreter to the German commander, Karl Fischer (André Hennicke) during the occupation. Greek-American actress Melia Kreiling (Guardians of the Galaxy) plays the female lead role of Andreas’ girlfriend.

The film portrays the futility of war and the dignity of the men who faced their death. It has exemplary cinematography, a fascinating music score, underpinned with solid acting. The pace was slow in the first half, and some scenes were a little clichéd and cheesy. At times I felt like the atmosphere mimicked a Hollywood war movie, but overall I was impressed with how beautifully it was filmed.

For more information about other films showing as part of the Greek Film Festival, head to the official website of the Greek Film Festival: http://greekfilmfestival.com.au/

Tickets to films are on sale via www.palacecinemas.com.au or on 02 9361 5398.