Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Would you admit to liking demi-sec Champagne?

Have you ever tried demi-sec Champagne? If so, would you ever admit to liking the semi-sweet style? Champagne Jacquart’s chief winemaker Floriane Eznack doesn’t think so. Speaking to the drinks business at a tasting lunch at Chrysan in London last week, she told the magazine demi-sec has become the elephant in the room in Champagne.

“Our demi-sec sales are growing, but it’s the wine we don’t talk about. There’s still a prejudice surrounding the style. In the past people would add sugar to their Champagne to hide faults so it has a negative connotation. No one likes to talk about demi-sec in the region, but a lot of people like to drink it. The style isn’t going out of fashion, if anything it’s getting more popular,” she said.

Us Brits are notorious for having a sweet tooth and happily sing the praises of sweeter Sherry styles such as Oloroso, so why the hang up about demi-sec? There’s an implication that sweetness levels correspond to intellect, and the drier you like your wine the higher your intellect and more rapier-like your wit. Nonsense! Demi-sec has its place in both the Champagne arena and on the dinner table. It makes for a sensational food match with desserts like tarte tartan.

My taste tends to veer towards the drier end of the Champagne spectrum, but I’m staunchly against the idea of snobbery towards demi-sec for snobbery’s sake – it suffers the same prejudice as still rosé. Having spent a few glorious days in Provence this summer and witnessed first hand the time, care and attention top-end producers like Château d’Esclans and Domaines Ott put into their rosés, I find the narrow-mindedness of those who fail to take it seriously as a style hard to swallow.

All wine styles should be given a chance to prove themselves on their individual merits. As an aside, the aforementioned Eznack also revealed to db that sales of Jacquart rosé are booming in Japan due to the positive associations with the colour pink in the county. “Pink is a very important colour in Japan – it signals the coming of spring and cherry blossom, so our rosé sales have always been high there. I also think it pairs really well with Japanese cuisine, particularly sushi.”

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