volume 1. fizzing

riddle me this: is new zealand sparkling as good as champagne? wtf is prosecco anyway and isn't cava from fiji?

champagne is often described as the nectar of the gods (clearly the gods are cashed up). truth is, you think champagne, you think celebration and dollar dollar bills, right?  

but why? why is it so damn expensive (and why is it so damn cool?). is all the magic just very clever marketing, or is there more to it? most of the big champagne houses are centuries old, so what's tradition got to do with it? isn't the wine world evolving? 

on july 23rd at culprit we set out to find the answers to all these questions and more. 

importantly, we wanted to know how nz stacks up in the sparkling stakes - we produce a few cracker sparklings and we want to know: do we hold our own with the big guys? in a blind tasting alongside some of the giants, could you tell a nz sparkling from a frenchie? how are they different?

on the panel:

claire allan, winemaker, huia
a legend in the nz winemaking scene, claire's been at the helm of huia since 1996 alongside husband mike. the huia sparkling has become a flagship wine for her winery. huia vineyard is farmed organically and when claire isn't mucking about with compost, she's practising her bass guitar alongside mike who's on acoustic.

jean-christophe poizat, french wine expert & retailer, maison vauron
jean-christophe comes from a family who's been in the wine business since his great-great-grandpa antoine became a wine merchant in 1879. now a much revered expert of french wine and a merchant himself, you'd argue wine runs through jean-christophe's veins. we figure this line of ancestry qualifies him to fly the french flag on this chat.

ismo (mo) koski, sommelier and restaurateur, apéro
mo's worked at some of nz's top dining joints, honing his skills as a class-act sommelier. he's the face at the door of apéro, his wine bar opened with partner (and chef) les hottiaux in 2014, where he runs a fast changing wine list with an authoritative yet friendly hand.

rebecca smidt, sommelier and restaurateur, cazador 
when it comes to wine, rebecca began stealing leftovers for extravagant nights of hummus, pita bread and byo thrills at midnight express, before finishing her studies in art history, then travelling the world visiting vineyards and art galleries, before finally settling down (and paying for her own wine). she now writes the wine list at cazador, hosts their much anticipated beverage matching events and works alongside industry colleagues on her side project, artdego.

not only our speakers but the audience had a lot to say on this one, and we are ever so grateful that they did. 

have a listen, if there's anything you want to add or any questions you might have, hit the link in the title of this post and leave us a comment.

disclaimer! the views and opinions expressed in this chat are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official position of not serious wine chats.

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Dominique FourieComment