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What You Can and Can’t Find on My Man In Champagne

My Man In Champagne is not another web site where you will find marks out of 100 or 20 or whatever for hundreds of different champagnes. You won’t find a great deal in the way of tasting notes either.

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Wine Tasting Notes: Boring, Baffling and Banal


Part I

Tasting-at-Henriet-Bazin225A friend of mine recently posted a comment on Facebook about my web site. He said that anyone interested in champagne, particularly grower champagnes, could find just about anything they wanted on my site, except tasting notes.

That may surprise some people, so I thought I should explain why I don’t believe in tasting notes.

First and foremost I’m not an oenologist or sommelier and although I have tasted hundreds of champagnes over the years I still don’t think that I have a particularly discerning palate, so I don’t think I can add anything of value to that sort of discussion. Besides there is no shortage of other people writing their thoughts on how wine tastes and that’s part of the problem for me…

I should make a distinction between on the one hand, people who love wines and simply want to share their ideas amongst one another. (I have no right, or wish, to criticise the way they enjoy themselves) and on the other hand tasting notes intended as some sort of a guide for the general public and it’s the second category whose value I find hard to appreciate. So with that proviso put of the way and my assurance that I don’t want to offend anybody, let me explain my point of view

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Read more: Wine Tasting Notes: Boring, Baffling and Banal

Grower Champagnes, part 1 - What are they?

There’s something stirring in champagne. Perhaps it’s not a full blown revolution just yet, but it’s something no champagne lover can ignore: the ever increasing interest in what are called Grower Champagnes.

If you haven’t come across them yet and have never tried them, then I, for one, think youChristophe-Mignon-Brut225 should. Here’s what it’s all about and what you need to know....

The change is happening everywhere if you take the time to look around you –

Micro breweries producing local beers that are more than a match, flavour-wise at least, for the giants of the industry;

Farmers’ markets where you can discover some fabulous produce and meet the fascinating ‘real’ people who produce or grow it, instead of struggling round the same old supermarkets shelves every week for mass-produced produce.

Well, the same thing’s happening in champagne and that’s where grower champagne comes in....

It’s the return of the small man, or woman, because more and more people are looking for something that gives them not just good value, but a sense of being.... what’s the best word? Perhaps ‘honest’ or ‘authentic’.

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The Best & Worst Bottles Of My Life

Tasting-at-Roger-Brun225One of the most colourful characters I have met in Champagne is Philippe Brun of champagne Roger Brun In Ay. Going to a tasting at his place is always an experience to remember, not just because of the excellent champagnes – which he serves in very generous measures – but also for the great stories he tells; proof once again that it’s stories that sell, not just a list of all the technical qualities of a wine

I have a couple videos of Philippe in full flight; the first is about the worst and the best bottles of wine he has ever enjoyed ( and neither were champagne!)

The second, which I’ll be posting a a few days, is about a wee joke he pulled on an audience of journalists and other members of the wine trade when he gave a tasting of his champagnes.

I love Philippe’s mischievous sense of fun. The wine industry is full of very knowledgeable and likeable people, but there is a tendency for some ‘experts’ to get carried away with their vocabulary and analysis of the wine, so it’s no bad thing occasionally to make sure they keep their feet on the ground.

Here's the first video. If you have any stories about your best or worst bottle of champagne or other wine, then do leave a comment here on on my Facebook page at


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New Ideas In Grower Champagnes

Chardonnay-and-Pinot-Noir-for-web-siteOne of the most interesting parts of my work is the consulting I do for the SGV (Syndicat Général des Vignerons de la Champagne) which is the body that represents many of the small grower champagnes.

I get to meet all sorts of little-known champagne makers all needing help to improve their marketing and increase their sales. Although there is certainly an increasing interest in Grower Champagnes amongst wine lovers who are looking for something other than the big brands, the issue for the producers is that there are hundreds of them, all trying to find a place in the market for their products.

That why I'm always encouraging them to think of what it is that makes their champagnes special enough to stand out from all the others. Many of the smaller producers struggle to find this point of differentiation but every now and then I meet someone who immediately stands out from the crowd and recently I met one who fitted straight into that category.

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