Champagne, France, Geelong
Champagne is made from 3 grapes. The two red grapes Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier and the white grape Chardonnay. All three are commonly blended though a ‘blanc de blanc’ meaning ‘white from white’ indicates that only Chardonnay was used. Conversely a ‘blanc de noir’ or ‘white from black’ indicates that the two red grapes were used.
A common misconception is that Champagne was invented by Dom Pérignon. Although this is not the case, he made considerable contributions to the quality and production methods used in the region. The very first bottles of Champagne were created by accident, and coined ‘the devil’s wine’ for all the popping corks. Sparkling wine in Australia was referred to as Champagne but this practise has long been disallowed.
Methode Champenoise is the traditional method by which Champagne is produced and if you see Millisime on a bottle, it represents the fact that the wine comes from a particular vintage rather than being blended, which is the more common practice.
Icons such as Dom Pérignon and Krug are world renowned, but we find as much pleasure in the smaller Champagne houses such as Gosset and Jacquinot. Magnums are perfect for the festive occasions and half bottles are also available.
The wine regions surrounding the town of Geelong are varied and diverse, from the subregions of the Surf Coast and Otways to the Bellarine Peninsula and Moorabool Valley.
Historically, Geelong was the largest grape-growing region in Victoria (in the 1800s) and in more recent times has undergone somewhat of a renaissance. In the last few decades, winemakers have been rediscovering the rich soils and a climate that is somewhere (some say halfway) between France's Bordeaux and Burgundy regions.
The region is known for boutique, family owned winegrowers producing quality hand crafted wines, more so than any bigger winery operations. Varietally speaking, Geelong is renowned for its superior Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Whilst these 3 are the staple of most winegrowers and makers, the more adventurous have been known to grow and make Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Merlot and even some of the more left-field types like Primitivo, Gamay, Carmenere and Langrein.
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