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Jiles Halling's Blog

Jiles spent 10 years living and working in Champagne working for Moet et Chandon.

During that time, Jiles built up a vast amout of knowledge about all things bubbly, making lots of contacts in the region, and getting to know the people who've lived there for centuries while crafting their products with love and passion.

After moving back to the UK in late 2004, Jiles decided to bring this unique knowledge and contribution to the wider world.  The hidden secrets, the best champagnes and the insider knowledge that is not usually available through the normal channels, is now here for you.  Since March 2010, Jiles is once again based in Champagne, living in the small grand cru village of Verzy.

In this you'll find everything you ever wanted to know about champagne, the drink, the people, the region and the food.  Please enjoy your visit and please join in the conversation by leaving your thoughts in the comments section or liking us on Facebook.


 


Yesterday I visited #Champagne Tarlant in Oeuilly. Many of you may know Tarlant already. It's one of the more prominent 'Grower Champagne', it's exported to many countries around the world and it's by far and away the most active on social media, so there's no excuse for not finding out about it.

For those of you who don't yet know Tarlant it's worth discovering for all sorts of reasons: the quality of the cuvées, the wide range of champagne available and the innovation of the champagne making. Another stand-out point aboput Tarlant are the first-class back labels which give you a mine of information. In fact I think all back labels should be like this.

may 24th 2011 vines in flower 2Something that we rarely appreciate when we're enjoying a bottle of champagne is the amount of work that goes into producing it. Growing the grapes is the first and perhaps the hardest part.

I was reminded just how tricky this can be when I came across a video I took in June last year. I was talking about how advanced the grapes were compared with a normal year because of all the warm weather.

Things couldn't be much different this year, so I filmed another video this morning to show you just how small the grapes are this year because of all the rain and cool weather we've had for what seems like weeks and weeks.

If there’s one thing you can be certain of in Champagne is that nothing is certain.

Last year the weather in Spring was so warm that we ended up with the earliest harvest for almost 200 years.

This year is the exact opposite. The weather’s been dull and wet for weeks and here we are in mid June and it’s still raining.

Last Thursday I was guiding a group of Australian and New Zealand guests for a day visiting some of the smaller champagne makers that are not easy to find and boy; did we strike lucky.

It was just one of those marvellous occasions when wonderful things happen and it turned into one of the most memorable tastings I’ve ever had.

You just can’t plan for these things. Of course, I always choose to visit people who I know are interesting and who make great champagne but sometimes, for no apparent reason, there’s just a little extra spark that turns the interesting into the unforgettable and that’s just what we had the good fortune to enjoy at Champagne Roger Brun in Ay

Discovering Grower Champagnes opens your eyes to a world outside the big brands like Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Dom Pérignon, but in fact that’s only one of the many fascinating aspects of champagne that are waiting for you to explore.

In this short article I’ll introduce you to a maker and a region you may not have heard of and they are just two of the surprises waiting for you once you start exploring Grower Champagnes.

TASTING NOTES

OK, let me honest from the get go - I think that the majority of tasting notes are next to useless, written in such impenetrable language as to be of little or no use to the reader.

I've just finished translating some short tasting notes for a brut champagne and frankly I was appalled at the nonsense that I was asked to translate - it's so bad it's embarrassing - I don't think this is down to my French, which is good, even very good, it's down to the original material which is written by someone who has no idea whatsoever of how to sell as wine. I wonder if they have ever  even met an ordinary champagne drinker, let alone speak to one.

alt

With St. Valentine's coming up  tomorrow people seem to gravitate towards rosé champagne, and why not?

I recently discovered a rosé I like a lot from a small producer right here in the village where I live: Verzy.

The champagne maker is called  called Lepreux-Penet and their rosé goes by the name of 'La Vie En Rose'

What's more it's goes very well with something as simple as a bag of potato crsips ( or potato chips, if that's what you call them)

altChampagne has gone tasting event crazy; at least that’s what it seems like in 2012

In a recent post I told you about 3 champagne tasting events on successive days in April and now there’s a fourth one to delight your taste buds and, so I’m told, yet another that will start up next year.

The new group includes many excellent champagne makers whose absence in the other groups had probably puzzled you

Selosse

Egly-Ouriet

Jérôme Prévost

 and several others, although I don’t yet have the full list of participants

I am still waiting for confirmation of the venue and the date but I understand that this new event will be on Sunday 15th April, the same day as the Terroirs et Talents de Champagne event – it’ll be a busy day

In you live anywhere in Europe the chances are that it's just as cold, right now, where you are, as it is here in Champagne

Not so many weeks ago the vignerons were complaining that it was too warm; there hadn't been a proper Winter.

Well, the old expression " Be careful what you wish for" has come true once again

However the cold weather is not necessarily bad news for champagne as you'll discover in this short video

altFor me it’s the people behind the champagne as much as the champagne itself that really make the difference between one champagne and another.

Take Hugues Godmé for example.

When you meet Hughes Godmé he'll probably strike you as a modest sort of man, not given to large gestures or loud statements and certainly not someone who will boast about how wonderful his champagnes are, but there again he doesn't need to resort to gimmicks.

Why not?

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