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bbbbbbKaaren Palmer — Champagne Editor

America
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Europe
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PARIS
  • Paris a wonderful guide to some of Paris’ best places to drink Champagne
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  • Restaurant L’Assiette Champenoise — Michelin 2 stars, a short walk from the city centre fabulous Champagne and food menu
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  • Hong Kong new September 15
    London new September 15
  • Kettners Champagne Bar, 29 Romilly St., Soho… click here
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  • Rest of the World
  • other places alphbetically listed by country


  • last updated 12 September, 2015

    highly recommended
    The Dispensary Entoeca is a regional Victorian (Australia) jewel and comes highly recommended. In fact I can’t wait to return and don’t forget that marvellous Bendigo Gallery while you are there. KP

    The Dispensary Entoeca
    9 Chancery Lane
    Bendigo, Victoria 3550
    t +61 3 5444 5885
    www.thedispensaryenoteca.com

    This hole–in–the–wall 25 seater in a tiny lane in Bendigo looks promising with its empty magnums of Heidsieck Monopole between the table settings. We discovered that it boasts one of the best champagne lists in Australia, if not the best. Yes, it runs to pages and pages, a veritable Chapel to Champagne.


    At the moment, the house champagne is Heidsieck Monopole, freshly poured in a properly cleaned glass to display the mousse to perfection, $17.90 per glass, but it’s the rest of the list which is truly awesome. It pains me even to write about this place, because if it becomes popular, my chance to imbibe some of the truly great older champagnes will surely disappear. How about Bollinger Grande Année (1989 $495, 1992 $395); and known high end smaller producers such as Vilmart (a full page of wines), De Sousa des Caudalies exhibiting tremendous length as its name suggeStreets (a magnum of the Grand Cru $260) , Diebolt–Vallois, and Jéröme Dehours and Egly–Ouriet of perfect Pinot Meunier fame?

    There’s an entire page (!!) of the extremely hard to source Jacques Selosse plus Krug (yes, a 1990, one of the best years of last century, $850), Roederer (a magnum of the 1996 for $495), Veuve, Pol (WinStreeton 1995 $345), Taittinger, Salon, Perrier–Jouët. And more and more. So many great Cuvées de PreStreetige, and such GREAT VALUE!

    My choice was the amazing value Taittinger 1995 Comtes de Champagne ($295). It’s all Chardonnay. Very pleased to hear, I was, that it would be chilled for me, as champagnes Streetored for long in the refrigerator become very tired. It doesn’t take bottles long to chill in a slurry of ice and water in an ice bucket. Besides, we had a glass of the house champagne to finish, the reStreet of the wine liStreet to peruse, and food to consider.

    The Taittinger 1995 Comtes de Champagne is fine and copiously effervescent, with multitudes of tiny slow bubbles gently carrying intense, complex and brooding fragrances through its light gold colour. A whiff of aldehyde soon disappears. Full blown dried roses in tandem with rich apricot pastries is the image which provides a beginning idea of the evolving bouquet. Think panettone, with a spray of manzanilla. The moussy and caressing palate transports creamy richness into the mouth in fiery pin–prick bursts while the nose and palate develop mango notes, then lemon curd. There’s butterscotch, and mandarin. Ah! Deliciously balancing acidity. The length on the palate is powerful, and very persistent. This beautiful champagne is a 1,000 leaved buttery mille feuille releasing many splendours between its many layers. It is with a sigh that I tear myself away to consider three puffily golden crisp orbs – smoked trout fritters of delicate weight and flavour, with watercress and pomegranate salad and house made lemon licked mayo ($14.50 3). Oysters are shucked to order here ($3.70 each), and other tempting plates include a rabbit and chicken terrine with roasted garlic, served with a watermelon rind pickle and brioche ($14.90) and house made cannelloni with quail, chicken, and forest mushrooms in a broth of its own flavours ($16.90). Mains are in the mid $20ish range, with the most expensive dish ($32.90) being an assiette of ballandella veal featuring corned girello (one of the muscles, same cut as bresaola, I think), with root vegetable puree and beetroot fluff, pressed and crumbed breast with salsa verde, grilled prime cut with anchoyade butter. Dishes travelling past us were presented exceedingly temptingly.

    But do we even need food to break the golden, dreamy, silky effervescent spell? Kevin thinks so. Suitably light semolina gnocchi with texturally appealing oyster and Portobello mushrooms contrast winningly with subtle acidity from Persian feta with thyme ($18.90). Kevin likes the sound of Mum’s meatloaf sandwich, with caramelized onion, dill pickle and fries ($14.50). It’s easy to divide between us, and is swiftly digested. Everything here appears to be served at its peak of taste, freshness and healthiness.

    A very generous 3 cheeses ($29.50) is our next choice, with double breads and liberal trimmings. My wine, after almost three hours, has become a creamy and complex savoury marmalade of lasting vivacity and tremendous length. And after it is finished the glass retains a rich perfume. Sigh!

    The coffees are excellent.

    “Protagonists of Hospitality and Drink Culture”, they call themselves. We agree!

    Copyright text and images © www.galaxyguides.com 2011 and Kaaren Palmer 2011

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