I have a day off in the middle of Brand-fest as I'm in London for a couple of tastings. There's the France Under One Roof bash tomorrow (the Manchester tasting was yesterday) but today it's been the annual Champagne tasting at the Banqueting Hall in London.
Slumming it? Hmmm... Sadly this is the only tasting of the year where I'm made to feel like a criminal. Want lunch? Stand up in line, and even if you have the right coloured ticket, you'll be made to feel guilty. Is it the people at the venue? Is it the people who organise the tasting? I've no idea who is responsible, but the whole approach to the Champagne bash leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, even before you've started.
If there was any French region that could afford to put on a decent tasting, then it would be Champagne - the marketing is fabulous even when the wines aren't, which is why no one bats an eyelid at spending £25 on Champagne when they'd baulk at spending half that amount on Cava of similar quality.
Yet regardless of the quality of the wines - and there were some fabulous fizzes - I left the event with a bad taste in my mouth. Why should we have to pay to check in a bag in the cloakroom? Are they trying to discourage those who come from outside the M25? And why should we tasters be asked to move out of the way of the tasting bottles so that a film crew can film the person in charge of the PR for Champagne doing a frothy bit to camera? Who is the tasting for - the PR company or those who come to try the wines?
Anyway, I'm away from home tonight so no Top 10 brands, A glass of Krug would be wonderful, but the taste left in my mouth by last night's duo from Jacob's Creek is actually better than that left today by the Champenoise.