Our expert raises a glass to wines that make the world a better place.
“Champagne Pertois-Moriset Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV: this fabolous fizz packs plenty of personality with lovely taut apple, citrus, and herby flavours. For every bottle of Champagne sold, French Bubbles donate £1to its charity of the month, which this month is Hospitality Action, supporting members of the hospitality industry who have fallen on hard times”.
4 star wines – Highly recommended – 16.5-18.49pts
Waris Larmandier, Empreinte Millesimée, Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2002 – 17.63pts – £38.95 French Bubbles
Lean, austere nose with honeysucle, fig, stone fruit and currant. Already excellent with a bold ripe fruit palate, has the acidity to last, doesn’t show its age
NEW TASTE, THE LOWDOWN ON THE LATEST DRINKS LAUNCHES, TASTINGS AND MERCHANTS PROFILES
French Bubbles, which represents the Family COLIN portfolio, is rooting for the small Champagne producer. The family, who have been growers since 1829, abandoned the local co-operative system to become an independent producer in 1997. Opting for a high percentage of Chardonnay, their aim is to create ultra elegant and harmonious wines. With 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Menieur, its CUVEE ALLIANCE NV has a rrp of £21.95 and there is also a BLANCHE DE CASTILLE BLANC DE BLANCS 1er CRU NV (rrp £26.95)
If you are looking for Champagne that will leave a long, lingering finish in your mouth from the finest French vineyards then look no further. With exotic fruits, scented brioche apricot conserve and honeysuckle aroma’s this Champagne PERTOIS MORISET Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru NV has been described as “the wine that gives you a big hug”. The family run business French Bubbles has always delivered a high quality finish to all their products at affordable prices, this on being £26.95.
For… A HOUSE PARTY, COLIN CUVEE ALLIANCE!!
“Cheap Champagne isn’t always a false economy – you can find some fantastic offers, especially on growers’ non branded wines around Christmas time, at frenchbubbles.co.uk”
Try Colin Blanche de Castille Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru NV, silver medal best in class at the International Wine & Spirits Competition 2010. It is produced by Colin, a small grower-producer from the Cote des Blancs, with a heritage dating back to 1829. Made from 100% Chardonnay, these gentle bubbles have a creamy mousse with a honeyed floral scent, hint of brioche, and a long, lingering finish.
“WineChap has been a prominent supporter of the smaller Grower’s Champagne houses (récoltant-manipulants) through our Vintellect Tastings and frequent excursions to the region. We are thus fans of the new French Bubbles website who are specialising in these brave souls who go it alone without large international marketing budgets rather than selling their grapes on the big name houses. At a recent tasting, on one of those night’s where there were at least 15 different wine launches in town, a whistle-stop tour of their growers uncovered several vinous diamonds. Champagne Colin’s Cuvee Alliance was sensibly served as an intro drink – sensible because this Chardonnay-dominant cuvee is a cracking Taittinger-a-like for 2/3 the price. At the other end of the scale Waris-Larmandier’s Empreinte Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru was particularly special. Had I the time I would like to have enquired after any family connection with one of my all time favourite houses Larmandier Bernier. Instead I just guzzled several glasses of this stellar offering from the magnificent 2002 vintage – very complete already, with great depth, structure and complexity, and still affordable”.
“Now a new enterprise, French Bubbles, has had the sensible idea of forming an entente cordiale between a handful of family growers and offering their bubbly bounty online. These farmers have no business with all that hoop-la and the wines that I tasted the other day from Lacroix, Furdyna, Colin, Waris-Larmandier and Pertois-Moriset give the concept of good-value fizz the chance to speak for itself. The latter’s Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is, at £26.95 (plus P&P for orders of less than a case), one of the best-value Champagnes I’ve had this year. All offer excellent quality throughout a range of styles and at prices starting from less than twenty quid”.
“A specialist website selling grower Champagnes has been launched, highlighting the increasing power these wines are wielding in the UK market. Stefano Frigerio, who founded French Bubbles with his wife Maud Fierobe, explained that the aim of the company is to provide “not only quality but value” – something made apparent by the comparatively low price tags (£18 to £39) attached to premier cru and vintage bottles, explaining that the price gap between branded and grower Champagnes lay in the differences in marketing budgets for both”.
With a portfolio of 14 different Champagnes from five award‐winning family producers, French Bubbles is keen to share some of Frances’ best kept Champagne secrets with fizz fans in the UK.
Each quarter, members will receive a specially selected trio of Premier Cru Champagnes to enjoy. The first offer will include the Colin Cuvee Alliance, the Lacroix Brut Rosè and the vintage Furdyna la Loge 2003, set to satisfy the taste buds from now until Christmas.
Depending on their membership, they will receive either one or two bottles of each wine. From the excellently priced Champagne Colin NV, to the medal‐winning Pertois‐Moriset’s Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru, you’ll begin to understand the subtle nuances that different grapes, the aging process, along with the land on which they are grown, can bring to a bottle of fizz.
It's the last week to enjoy the Champagne and Crudo promo in the Oyster Bar at Massimo.
For a pricey joint, three top artisan champagnes (Premier, Grand Cru and vintage 2002) courtesy of French Bubbles paired with a selection of raw fish including mackerel ceviche, raw langoustines and scallops with orange and vanilla salt for £45 is a rare bargain. And if you do miss out, rumour has it they’re planning a similarly enticing matching to celebrate the return of the oyster next month…
Oysters and Chablis, steak and Malbec, lamb and Rioja. There are some classic food and wine pairings that, for whatever reason, work. For me, Sushi and Champagne is one of them. However classically in Japan Sushi is eaten with beer or sake, the rice-based wine.
events such as Business Club cocktails, Industry focused events, Regional events, CEO Breakfasts, or the very successful Member to Member cocktail attracting more than 250 participants every year, enable our members to develop their visibility, their contacts and potentially help them grow their business.
French Bubbles Champagne Challenge on March 25.
“My favourites of the night were pretty unanimous within the tasting group with two French Bubbles Growers Champagne almost neck and neck for top votes: the Pertois-Moriset Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV (£26,95) and Waris-Larmandier Cuvée Empreinte Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru 2002 (£38,95). Drinking well was Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut NV (£40) and French Bubbles Grower Michel Furdyna Blanc de Noirs Réserve Brut NV (£24,95)”.
My perfect night out with French Bubbles and La Cave a Fromage
Emerging from South Kensington tube station to be greeted by a cold and dark London evening, it didn’t take long, thankfully, to locate La Cave a Fromage. I literally followed my nose to the cheese shop, where the couple behind the French Bubbles enterprise warmly welcomed me. I had been invited by Stefano Frigerio to attend the Champagne and Cheese tasting evening (tickets start at £40 per person) and after a long day in the office could think of nothing more delightful than pairing two of my favourite things in life – Champagne and cheese. I was not disappointed.
The staff at La Cave a Fromage are not only welcoming but also incredibly knowledgeable and attentive about all things cheesy. With a huge range of French and British cheeses, they were proud of their shop and genuinely passionate about the idea of pairing cheese and Champagne.
The French Bubbles duo certainly know a thing or two about Champagne too, and their passion for supporting the growers directly was infectious. The conversation flowed inbetween insights from La Cave a Fromage and French Bubbles about why each pairing worked so well, and background to the grower Champagne concept.
A lively group of 20-plus people attended the tasting event, mostly couples, as well as a group of ladies post-work, and two people celebrating their birthdays in style.
We were presented with four premium Champagnes along with specially selected cheeses. A meat selection, bread and crackers were also provided, so it constituted an evening meal for me. Pairing cheese and Champagne is not common, but how often do we select a lovely bottle of red to go with our cheeseboard at the end of a meal? Why not go for Champagne for a special occasion?
French Bubbles was founded in June 2008 by Stefano Frigerio and Maud Fierobe and is the only company in London specialising in grower Champagnes. House Champagnes, which constitute more than three-quarters of sales are pitched as over-priced and lacking in “soul and character” compared to the 5,000 growers of Champagne, which own their small vineyards and produce their wine from the picking through to the bottling. “They are less expensive”, says Maud, “because they lack the huge marketing budgets associated with House Champagnes such as Moet & Chandon”. There are 261 Houses of Champagne but only 12% own their vineyards, according to French Bubbles. The Champagne is made into a specific House style, which is consistent year to year, while grower Champagne has more “unique character”.
Stefano and Maud created French Bubbles to meet growing demand and interest in artisanal wine. British consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about the winemaking process and taking an interest in the provenance of the wine they drink. There is also more consideration at the point of purchase, as people may be spending less on cheese and wine per shopping trip, but shopping more regularly, according to the duo.
In 2009, the UK Champagne market dropped by 15%, while grower Champagne rose by 17%. In 2010, growers produced 23% of all Champagne and UK imports of grower Champagne stood at just 4%. Stefano predicts that demand for grower Champagne will continue to rise as people learn more about the provenance and production of Champagne, and have the opportunity to taste. As part of the French Bubbles mission to introduce the British wine lovers to grower Champagne, the company works in conjunction with some unique companies to provide original pairing opportunities such as sushi and chocolate.
French Bubbles Champagnes, tasting event tickets and gift packs can be bought directly from their website (www.frenchbubbles.co.uk). The company also provides an on-trade service at hugely competitive prices, which enables restaurants and bars to offer a wider range of Champagnes to meet different tastes, interests in Champagne and budgets. Grower Champagnes could open up French Bubbly to a whole new market of people through food pairing events, as well as a lower price and higher margin proposition for the restaurant owner. If this means there will be more affordable and delicious Champagne on the menu, then, yes, please.