I must confess I have a bit of a soft spot for Champagne. I’ve tried a fair few but with over 5,000 individual producers of Champagne I’ve barely scratched the surface. We’d be lucky to see 3% of all available Champagnes in Australia which is why it’s always good news when a wine distributor steps into the breach to bring a greater variety of fizz to our shores.
The distributor in the case is Global Grapevine, a new venture from the dapper and dynamic father and son duo of Robert and Heath Felton. It’s not just Champagne they’re bringing to our shores but their portfolio also extends to the wines from the French regions of Provence, Bordeaux and Burgundy with plans to expand to other international regions such as Sicily and California.
Not ones to do anything by halves, Robert and Heath decided to showcase their French portfolio of wines with a roving lunch. We began at China Doll on Woolloomooloo Bay Wharf with one of the exceptional bottles of fizz in their range, Champagne Jacques Rousseaux. From the Grand Cru villages of Verzenay and Yerzy just 17 kilometres southeast of Reims, It’s a refreshing drop with mid-level acidity and matches perfectly with the oysters we’re served. What’s more, it’s a snap at $49 a bottle and in my opinion in vastly superior to other more well-known Champagnes available at around that price point.
One of the other star wines served at China Doll was the 2010 Chateau La Mascaronne Quat ‘Saisons Rosé’ ($34). It’ a pale almost luminescent dry and textural rosé and is a spot on match with a Vietnamese chicken salad. I also had a bottle with wood fired pizza the following week and it was superb with that too.
Chateau La Mascaronne also produce some cracking reds, some of which we sampled at our next destination, The Apollo in Potts Point. We arrived at the newly hatted Greek Restaurant and were greeted with shared platters of lamb, salads and bread. OK, I may be underselling the food with my descriptions here, but I can tell you, the food at The Apollo is sensational, and well deserving of its newly hatted status.
The reds that were served included the 2005 and 2000 vintages of the Chateau La Mascaronne Côtes de Provence Rouge; predominately Syrah based wines with some Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Grenache. While these wines have a bit of age, they exhibited great structure and were still laden with complex red fruit characters and a hint of leather.
Our last stop on the roving lunch was La Croix in Potts Point, a gorgeous little French café where we dined on Brie and chocolate mousse. And what would be a more fitting end to the lunch than some more Champagne, in this instance the Aspasie Brut Cart Blanch, a full bodied Champagne with plenty of floral notes on the palate ($55).
The roving lunch not only showcased some fantastic wines, but also the versatility of these French gems. And with wines of this quality at these price points, I’m not going to have to skimp on trying them either.
Wines imported from Global Grapevine can be purchased online at www.globalgrapevine.com.au and from selected independent retailers.
Jeremy Bowell attended as a guest of Global Grapevine