Chalice Champagne – A Look Into The History
To learn more about how Chalice Champagne is growing within the yachting sector and their tips for the upcoming charter season, we sat down with the founders.
The History Of Chalice Champagne
Chalice Champagne is a family business founded by a Father and Son who both share a passion for fine champagne and family values. Our winery is located in the village of Avize in the area of Champagne, also known as La Côte des Blancs. It’s recognised globally for being home to some of the finest Chardonnay grapes in the whole of Champagne. The village of Avize is one of just 17 villages in Champagne (out of a total of 319) to have been granted the prestigious status of Grand Cru.
The landscape and the village have changed little over the centuries. Almost all of the surrounding area, outside of the narrow streets and to the edges of the plain below and the top of the steep slope behind the village, is covered in vines.
Our Pinot Noir grapes come from the equally prestigious Montagne de Reims area, about 20 kilometers from Avize. Villages after villages can be found in the folds of the hillside that forms an arc almost surrounding the city of Reims. The lower slopes of most of Champagne hills are completely covered in vines, while the tops are equally densely forested.
It’s here that the art of champagne making has been perfected over almost 400 years, where the reputation of the world’s most luxurious champagne has spread around the globe.
Champagne Chalice Bottles; What’s Unique?
Our champagne bottles are assembled by hand and enclosed in a stainless steel sleeve that protects the bottle, whereby if it is dropped on deck or around a pool, the bottle will not shatter. The sleeves also provide thermal benefits, keeping the champagne cooler for significantly longer than a naked bottle. Perfect for beach set-ups! Plus, they block out the UV light to ensure it maintains the flavour. Our bottles are also available to purchase in bespoke walnut cases, which are then individually hand-built by a cabinet maker in Bristol, UK.
Top tips on how to store, serve and chill Chalice Champagne?
- If you have a purpose-built cellar, you can store your bottles for as long as you want – several years is no problem – but do store them horizontally to ensure that the cork stays moist and doesn’t dry up and shrink, as that lets air into the bottle which is not good for the champagne.
- If you are keeping a few bottles on board, we recommend keeping them in a dark place, as too much light damages wine.
- Ensure the temperature they are stored in is consistent.
- If your boat does not have a wine cellar, I would suggest storing our champagne where the temperature is fairly constant, for instance, in a dry store.
- You can keep the bottle upright for a few weeks without the corks drying out. The best way to chill champagne is to put the bottle in a bucket of ice and water for about 15 minutes. And if you need to chill the champagne more quickly, don’t put the bottle in the freezer; instead, put a good handful of salt into the ice bucket – that will speed up the cooling process.
- The ideal temperature to drink Chalice Champagne is about 8 C, so if you keep the bottles in the fridge, they will be a little too cold to drink immediately. Wait 5 minutes, and the temperature will be just right. Don’t worry about the champagne warming up too quickly either – the beauty of Chalice Champagne is that the metal casing will keep the bottle at the perfect temperature for longer than other champagnes.
The perfect food pairing for each champagne?
Brut – A very versatile champagne that can be enjoyed on its own as an aperitif and with a wide variety of dishes: mature charcuterie, risotto, and cheese are all great matches.
Rosé – Food and wine matching is sometimes a matter of colour and taste. Consumers will find that Chalice Rosé Champagne is a great match with salmon.
Note – It also pairs well with dark chocolate and Black Forest gateau!
Blanc de Blancs – The more delicate flavours of Chalice Blanc de Blancs Champagne means that it matches best with delicately flavoured food such as shellfish and oysters. Saying this, it also goes well with other fish and with white meat dishes.
Demi-sec – A delightful alternative to Brut champagne for those with a slightly sweeter tooth. Try it with a bite of something sweet; Banana cheesecake is a scrumptious pairing. But don’t underestimate the pairings with spicy Asian and Mexican dishes or even blue cheese.
What are the key aspects of quality management in the winemaking process of Chalice Champagne?
The precise date of the harvest is crucial. Our winemaker will be out in the vineyards tasting the grapes every day in the run-up to the harvest. Only when the balance of sugar and acidity is ideal will the signal to start picking be given. Any poor-quality bunches are rejected, and during pressing, only the finest-quality juice from the middle of the pressing cycle is selected. From then on, the skill and experience of the winemaker come even more into play. An extensive array of wines from different plots and different grapes are blended to create exactly the taste and style of Chalice Champagne. Then, the bottles are filled and stacked in the cool and tranquil cellars. This is where they wait years whilst the bubbles are created by the fermentation. During the process, the complex flavours and aromas of Chalice Champagne develop and intensify.
Patience is the watchword – you cannot rush anything when top quality is the objective.
Lastly, can we expect to see you at any boat shows and events shortly?
We have been invited to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2022 and also, Palm Beach International Boat show, so keep an eye out for us if you are in attendance.