Champagne Tasting with Rubyyy Jones

This post was written by a RWL Guest Blogger – What’s a girl to do when she gets invited to an evening of champagne tasting and can’t make the date? She calls for reinforcements, that’s what! Who better to sample the best bubbly on behalf of Rarely Wears Lipstick, than the dazzling burlesque beauty Rubyyy Jones.

A few weeks ago I got a lovely email from Lori, inviting me to cover a delicious night out with Eventbrite; a wonderful and warming evening of Champagne tasting and New Years Eve party planning! How could I say ‘No’ to that darlings!?

It was a drizzly, windy, dare I say it, dreadful Monday night in London and the champers and canapés that were awaiting me in The Zetter Townhouse, were just what this lady needed to warm her tootsies. I arrived at the Games Room early and grabbed a spot on the massive leather chaise lounge at the back, near a stuffed blue heron and bunches of peacock feathers; I was feeling massively precious with the weather, a determined cold and flying solo, I was seeking comfort at all levels. The reception warmer glass was a sparkling wine, England’s innovator Nyetimber Classic Cuvee (2003); I was surprised to learn it was sparkling wine as I really enjoyed it and I’m not usually a fan! About halfway into my flute, I was joined by quaffing buddy Lea Rice, of The High Tea Cast, and a number of other lifestyle bloggers and their thirsty plus ones; we were in for a scrumptious evening.

Eventbrite organizer Katie McPhee introduced us to our fizz tour guide for the evening, Jayne Powell aka Champagne Jayne and what a life this lady leads! She is a journalist, educator and broadcaster – all about champagne, all the time… and she knows her stuff. She walked us through four delicious glasses, each paired with a duo of canapés, with brand history, flavour profile, food pairing and fun facts for each champagne course.

The first glass was actually my favourite, though I enjoyed most of them, it just really stood out for me; Champagne Tarlant Brut Zero Rose. I haven’t had much experience with rose champagnes, beyond the occasional glass of Moet and Laurent Perrier Jouet, so I really loved how smooth and sweet but fresh this nectar was and with ZERO sugar! This lady loves that! A blend of eighty-five percent chardonnay and the rest pinot noir, this was a mouthful of sexy spices and a boozy bouquet of red fruit. The Tartlant Rose was served with a salmon tartare and a beetroot ravioli with parmesan – yummy!

The second glass was a Bruno Paillard Premier Cruvee, paired with escargot in garlic butter and a smoked haddock fishcake – perfect with this lovely, shapely champagne which I’m sad to say didn’t really stand out compared to the excitement of lots of trying snails for the first time. You know what they say: don’t work with children, dogs and gourmet French cuisine. Escargot happens to be one of my favourite dishes and I had much fun encouraging Lea and others to partake!

Tipple Tip from Champagne Jayne! When making cocktails with fizz, go with sparkling wine instead; mixers and liquors are heavy on the beautiful bubbles, so champagne is best enjoyed on it’s own or with more champagne!

Our third glass was the Champagne Jacquesson Cuvee No 735 a heavy, heady blend which I was not feeling – another time and place perhaps – as this is a unique Brut with exactly 49 000 000 bubbles per bottle, it was Napoleon’s favourite and a blend which changes with each year and crop. We enjoyed this flute with a mini Yorkshire pudding topped with roast beef and horseradish cream; I’ll give the No 735 another chance on a dark and stormy English countryside kinda night.

We had a brief chat from Joe of Flavorpill who gave us some random NYE tips, which included:

  • Get Someone Else To Do It!
  • Big Is Not Always Beautiful!
  • New Years Eve: Why Bother? (45% Of Britons Stay Home)
  • Always Plan Ahead!
  • Go With The Flow!

So, what I got from that was… do whatever your heart desires and make sure there is lots of champagne involved! Our final flute was Champagne Lanson Gold 2002 served with a mini lamb burger with mint dressing and, oh my goddess, what a finish! One of the oldest champagne houses, this was, I believe the youngest bottle of the evening (lil help Champagne Jayne?!) and it was a tickler, with the romantic aroma of pear and apricot and a smooth but crisp full mouthful. So many fabulous flavours and new experiences in such a short amount of time! None of these bottles were cheap, cheap but all under 50 squid and when you really think about your New Year’s, your friends and you – aren’t you all worth spending the money on, worth treating?

I loved one of Jayne’s final thoughts and it’s the one I’ll leave you with it… “At the end of the day, champagne makes you feel special!” Whether it’s New Years Eve, your birthday or just a rainy Monday there was a champagne for every occasion and there’s always a reason to pamper yourself with a sparkling, vital class of your favourite Champagne. Thank you so much to Lori for inviting me and making me feel so special.

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