Anthony Rose: 'I was blown away by the champagne at the International Wine Competition' - Features - Food + Drink - The Independent

Anthony Rose: 'I was blown away by the champagne at the International Wine Competition'

 

I was chatting to a wine industry luminary last month and they told me they'd accepted the presidency of the International Wine & Spirit Competition thinking that it was the International Wine Challenge. IWSC? IWC? A simple enough mistake to make and a reminder that even those in the know can get confused now that medals are scattered like confetti and wine competitions two a penny.

I only mention it because, for the first time in nearly a decade, I was invited to the posh black-tie dinner of the International Wine Competition at the Guildhall recently, and although black-tie dinners are not high on my wishlist of fun nights out, I thought it was time to show my face. I wish I'd known that the highlight of the evening was a tasting of the award-winning wines and spirits, because I would have arrived sooner.

With 220 wines to taste and 179 spirits, maybe it's as well that I only had just enough time before the trumpet fanfare to taste my way, in pre-Christmas mode, through the 26 gold medal-winning champagnes. I wasn't just pleasantly surprised, I was blown away at the excellence of so much champagne. Leading the field were such treats as the 2002 Piper Heidsieck Rare, £120-£140, The Whisky Exchange (020-7403 8688), Harrods, and the magnificently perfumed, nutty 1995 Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires, £115.11, Exel Wines (01738 493535).

The famous brands produced yet more stunners in a fine, biscuity Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve, £29.95-£31.95, The Whisky Exchange, Berry Bros (0800 280 2440), Besserat de Bellefon's superb 2002 Cuvée des Moines Brut, £29.99, Noble Green (020-8979 1113), and an elegantly dry, strawberry-mousse champagne in the 2002 Moët & Chandon Rosé Grand Vintage, around £54.95, Wine Rack, Nickolls and Perks (01384 394518), winedirect.co.uk. My favourites in this section were the intensely rich Jacquart Brut de Nominée, £38.92, Lay & Wheeler (01473 313300), and Taittinger's magnificently creamy, nutty Folies de la Marquetterie, £47.95-£52.95, winedirect.co.uk, Harrods.

The surprise of the night was to find what might have been thought to be a rather modest supermarket champagne in such exalted company. I was in no doubt that Tesco's Finest Premier Cru Champagne, £14.99, down from £19.99, deserved all the plaudits for a lively, fresh-textured mousse with delicious undertones of grilled nut and honey. After recently tasting Marks & Spencer's creamy and tangily dry 2005 Oudinot Champagne, £24, down from £29, I would have no hesitation in putting it in no less impressively stylish company. Speaking of fabulous prestige champagne, a handful of tickets remain for the Wine Gang's glittering champagne tasting on Tuesday, 11 December. For details, check out thewinegang.com/about/fizz.

Suggested Topics
News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Sport
David Moyes and Rio Ferdinand
FootballRio Ferdinand on why the former manager failed at United
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
News
i100
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week