Champagne on ice that’s great, yes please. But what’s this? Champagne WITH ice?

Moet Ice Imperial champagne with ice

I know I’m not fashionable. I only have to look in my wardrobe to know that. I don’t listen to the latest tunes and I prefer to watch a Doris Day film rather than a superhero leaping from a building dressed as a spider.

But I am what I am.

The other week I was invited to a special tasting with winemaker Marie-Christine Osselin from Moët & Chandon. I love meeting people who are at the heart of making wine, its a great chance to pick their brains.

But back to my fashion sense, or should I say awareness. We went through Moët’s range of champagnes and then … what’s this? A champagne to drink with ice? Sacre bleu!!

Yes indeedy, Moët have created Moët Ice Impérial which is designed to drink with ice (£45 Clos19.com and Selfridges, 12% abv). I’d never heard of this idea but it seems a few people have – some folks at the tasting said, oh yes, this is great, and a workpal tells me she’s seen the champers on holiday. (The workpal was on holiday, not the champagne – I don’t think it would be very good at packing a suitcase).

 

Part of me was kind of, well, why would you spoil a champagne with ice? But it’s fashion apparently. There you have it, I’m not fashionable.

Marie told our little gathering that the ice is even used as part of the blending process – this is when the winemaking team decides what proportions of each of the core champagne wines – pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay – they will use to create the flavours and style of wine they want.

I tried the champers both on its own (no ice) and with ice, together with a slice of pink grapefruit. I wasn’t a huge fan of the champagne “neat” but yes, with the grapefruit and ice it went up another level and was fruity and refreshing, but a tad sherberty. It is sweet, that’s for sure. I can imagine it being a wow in the heat of the Mediterranean sun.

Then – just days after my Moët experience, along came another wine in a similar vein. Freixenet ICE White (RRP £12.99. Morrisons, Tesco and Ocado, 11.5 % abv) is also designed to be tasted with ice.

This cava is a blend of the traditional cava grapes macabeo, xarel-lo and parellada, together with chardonnay, and has been aged in Freixenet’s cellars for up to 14 months. I chunked some ice into a bowl of a glass (my gin glass) and glugged in the cava.

Again, sweetness is king here and the fizz had aromas of honeysuckle, sweet peas and tropical fruit, with an underlying lift of vanilla and biscuit. It’s one to consider for summer afternoons on the patio.

 

Also in my glass …. I’ve moved from one chapter of my life to another. To mark it, I had a sip of more fizz. And why not. Gremillet Rose d’Assemblage Brut, (£24.99, WineTrust100, 12% abv) is a champagne made from pinot noir (70%) and chardonnay (30%) and is a lush salmon pink colour with bubbles that are happy to greet you. It has aromas of ripe strawberries and red berries and that oh-I-so-love aroma of vanilla and freshly-baked biscuits. To taste, its a fizz whizz of red fruits and citrus with a good acidity.

*Published in May 2017 in over 20 regional UK newspapers including:

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express

Wine Diploma Diary: I’m not exactly what you’d call a domestic goddess but …

My wine diploma diary dusting

I’ve turned into a person who’s gone all tidy-uppie.

I’m not very domesticated. It’s a rare thing to catch me with a duster in my hand.

Let me put this into context. Years ago I was the victim of a burglary and I duly gave the list of missing goods to the police.  It was a month before I noticed the thieves had also stolen the Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Another time, at work, I noticed through the newsroom window that it was raining. I said to my work pal Steve “oooh look, it’s raining and I’ve left the washing outside”. He said: “Jane, that’s the most feminine thing I’ve ever heard you say.” I said: “Yes, well. But its been outside a week.”

As I said. I’m not very domesticated.  Dairy cattle are more domesticated than me.

I’ve gone all tidy-uppie partly because its a New Year New Start and all that – but mainly because I want a tidy place and a tidy mind.

I sat on the bed on Sunday and rifled through all the bedside drawers, throwing stuff away, rediscovering forgotten things, finding little memories. A lock of my hair from when I was baby which mum had saved all her life; a Wembley FA Cup final ticket stub from 1947 (dad was there to see Burnley FC  lose in the 114th minute).  Keepsakes from special peoples’ lives all tangled up in a bedside drawer.

Now the precious things are breathing again and the rubbish is in the bin.

I feel better for it. Uncluttered. I suppose its fung suede or however you spell it.

The reason for this sudden domestic diversion? I’m a bit nervous to be honest. I’m due to start my online wine diploma through the  Wine & Spirit Education Trust on February 18. I need to be organised. I need to have a clean desktop, albeit a virtual one. I need to be good at juggling stuff even though as a kid I was always pretty rubbish at playing catch.

I’ve bought diary refills for the Filofax, rediscovered in the drawer and last used in 2009. No matter how easy it is to make notes in the ether, I like writing things down.

I’ve thrown away loads of pens. Pens with no ink tend to be a bit useless at writing things down.  I’ve put all my old WSET wine books in a pile. I need to re-read them before February 18. I can now set myself reading goals in the new diary pages in the Filofax using a pen which has ink in it.

I’m doing the tidy-uppie thing so I can do the keepie-uppie thing with the diploma. I want everything where it should be from the beginning of this impending two-year spare-time odyssey. Yes, I’ll be juggling time and work, let alone space, but it will be organised juggling.

Just don’t ask me to dust.

*I’ll be writing this Wine Diploma Diary as the two years unfold.