simon crawley great domaines

Simon Crawley expounding the virtues of Lanson champagne at a recent Great Domaines tasting

I have a friend* who thinks it’s rather odd that we drink bubbly whenever we have a braai. Or burgers. Even pizza. We think it’s perfectly natural. Hell, sometimes we even imbibe on a Tuesday night while watching TV. It sounds really bourgeois, but the heart wants what it wants, right? And you can still pick up a lekker bottle of MCC for under R100. A good French bubble, however, is more of a treat.

Don’t take my word for it, though. There have been some very august champagne commentators, including:

  • Winston Churchill:
    “Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s champagne!”
  • Noel Coward:
    “Why do I drink champagne for breakfast? Doesn’t everyone?”
  • Bette Davis:
    “There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.”
  • Charles Dickens:
    “Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life.” (Clearly a Dickensian viewpoint)
  • Napoleon Bonaparte:
    “Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it.”

A bottle of wine or bubbly from Great Domaines is a really special treat. CN&CO has close relationships with Derek Kilpin and the rest of the GD team, and our HQ is always well stocked with samples of their tipple.

A tasting at Great Domaines is just sublime. I recently joined Chief Señor Carel Nolte, insurance recruitment specialist Michele Katz, documentary filmmaker Lisa Henry and investment consultant Evelyn Doubell at a GD champagne** tasting, which substantially changed my approach to bubbles. The occasion was the launch of the Lanson range of champagnes onto the GD distribution list. I spoilt myself rotten, and it was totally worth it. I still get a delightful twinge on the back-edges of my tongue and let out an involuntary, wistful sigh when I think about that evening.

The story of Great Domaines goes back to 2000 when the company was established as an importer of fine Burgundies from France. Today they distribute an impressive range of wines, champagnes, sparkling wines and cognacs from 86 producers in France, Spain, Italy, Lebanon and South Africa. They also sell fabulous glasses, accessories, gifts and books, and also run tastings and wine courses. Check out the Great Domaines website, Twitter and Facebook.

P.S. I posted a question on Facebook asking my friends to say why they like champagne. Here’s what they said:

FB champagne

*Trudi Naylor, you know exactly who I’m talking about

**Fellow word nerds who feel strongly that the word should start with a capital letter, read this

Now read Carel’s blog on his recent wine-tasting trip to Lebanon… The Lebanese underground & wine-tasting in Beirut