by Patrick Sandeman

On a bitterly cold winter’s night some 200 and more of Jancis Robinson’s Purple Pages subscribers braved the elements and made their way to the German Gymnasium at St Pancras for a celebration of fizz, to mark the tenth anniversary of her website. Among other champagne importers Lea & Sandeman were invited to show two wines from our selection of Grower’s Champagnes, and it has to be said they created an enormous amount of interest and discussion alongside the better known brands on show. Barnaut’s Grande Reserve was much appreciated for its fabluous quality and amazing value, much commented upon by all who tasted it. An easy going style of champagne for drinking in quantity! The star of the show (so we were told by so many who came back to taste a second or even third time) was Egly-Ouriet’s Tradition Brut Grand Cru Ambonnay. Having had 40 months ‘sur latte’ (on the lees) and been disgorged in November 2009, the wine was showing beautifully. Some remarked that it was perhaps more evolved on the nose than on the palate, which is quite true as the wine is quite linear and structured, but I know that I for one will be drinking it this Christmas, but out of a large Burgundy style glass rather than a flute, in order to give the wine a real chance of opening up. Oh, and by the way, Jancis provided delicious cheese straws as the perfect foil to so many champagnes!