Taste Champagne and Sparkling

There were plenty of corks popping, and that is always a happy sound. Proef Champagne en Sprankelend (Taste Champagne and Sparkling), Holland’s largest sparkling wine trade show, took place at the Mövenpick Hotel in Amsterdam on November 22nd. This event used to be called “Champagne aan Zee” and indeed used to be held on the beach at Noordwijk. The reason for moving it indoors is unknown to me, but given that Dutch weather is unpredictable at best, plus a windy, sand-strewn beach is not the best venue to seriously taste wines, it seemed like a logical decision.

The event was held in two large rooms: one for champagnes and one for other sparkling wines. To say it was busy would be an understatement: at every table a large group was gathered, champagne glasses in hand, eagerly waiting to be served.

I managed to taste about 40 different wines; here are some of my impressions, starting with the sparkling non-champagnes: the Ferrari Spumante Maximum Brut, Chardonnay (imported by Vinites) was my favourite in this category. Soft and elegant with good persistent fruit and healthy acidity, this was actually better than certain champagnes I tasted. The cava Giro Ribot Tendencias, Brut Extra 2008 (imported by Cava.nl) is very creamy with spicy notes of cinnamon and the lesser acidity cava is known for. The biggest surprise here was the Deutscher Sekt Weingut Am Stein, Silvaner ‘Winzer Sekt’ Brut 2006 De Wijntherapeut), with notes of pepper and spice above a bed of apples, with a very light sweetness in the aftertaste. more>>

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