• Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region

    I’m pleased to announce that my new book, entitled Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region, will be released on October 10, 2017.

    Published by Ten Speed Press and featuring photography by Gentl & Hyers, it’s an overview of Champagne from a twenty-first-century perspective, with a focused emphasis on vineyards and terroir. The book comprises three portions: the first examines the history of the region from a decidedly terroirist-biased perspective, and also includes discussions on geology, viticulture and winemaking. The heart of the book is the second section, which tours the Champagne viticultural area, dividing it into seven separate subregions and examining the terroirs of each through the lens of their leading producers and their wines. As a reference, the third section provides brief profiles of champagne producers—it is by no means a comprehensive guide to the region’s wines (and in fact it’s a small fraction of the size of ChampagneGuide.net), but rather it features those producers who best illustrate the themes presented in this book.

    Champagne by Peter Liem

    The book is packaged in a beautiful slipcase that also includes seven vintage maps of Champagne vineyards published by Louis Larmat, reproduced in high quality from one of the 150 original sets printed in 1944. Part of an extensive series of viticultural maps that Larmat released under the title Atlas de la France Vinicole, these Champagne maps present the individual lieux-dits and parcels of the region in unparalleled detail. For whatever reason, the print run of the Champagne maps seems to have been smaller than the others in the series, such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, or the Loire Valley, and original examples are exceedingly difficult to obtain today. We have reprinted the maps in their original format without any amendments: these maps have been an invaluable part of my research library for nearly fifteen years, and I’m pleased to be able to share them with you here.

    While the book is scheduled to be published in other countries shortly, the October release is currently for the United States only. It’s available for pre-order on Amazon: purchase it by clicking here.


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    1. Pierre Cheval-Gatinois, of Champagne Gatinois in Aÿ

      I was surprised and saddened by the news today that Pierre Cheval has passed away at the age of 66. Proprietor of Champagne Gatinois in Aÿ, he was also the primary personality behind Champagne’s inscription last year on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

      Cheval originally had a career in the French interior ministry, before taking over the Gatinois estate in 1980 with his wife Marie-Paule Gatinois. At their 7.2-hectare estate, whose vineyards are entirely in the grand cru village of Aÿ, he made champagnes of bold flavor and ample body, with personalities as expansive and effusive as his own. When I first met him about fifteen years ago in Aÿ, I asked him to describe his wi
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      1. Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy of Champagne René Geoffroy, during the 2015 harvest in Champagne

        Harvest is progressing smoothly in Champagne, with most people getting into the swing of things at this point. While many people in early-ripening terroirs began picking last week, most in the Montagne de Reims and Côte des Blancs have either just started or will be starting soon. Fortunately, the weather here is currently glorious, with warm, sunny days and cool nights, although it isn’t expected to last—rain showers are in the forecast for Saturday, and next week is looking a little dodgy.

        I stopped in at René Geoffroy yesterday, where Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy is justifiably excited about his results so far. “The grapes are very ripe, in perfect condition,” he say
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        1. 2015 harvest dates in Champagne

          The Comité Champagne announced the opening dates for the 2015 harvest today, and as expected after this unusually warm growing season, the harvest is relatively early. Officially, it actually begins today, August 29th, in Montgueux, which, with its fully south-facing slopes, is a notably warm terroir for Champagne. However, at least one grower there got special dispensation to begin picking two days ago, due to the ripeness of his grapes.

          Elsewhere in the Aube, picking will begin in the next few days: Buxeuil, Celles-sur-Ource, Merrey-sur-Arce and Polisy are all authorized to begin on th
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          1. La Fête du Champagne, New York City, November 5-7, 2015

            I’m pleased to announce that Daniel Johnnes and I are bringing La Fête du Champagne back to New York City for a second year! Following the success of last year’s event, we’re expanding our producer lineup and introducing several new features.

            Grand Tasting & Gala Dinner
            As with last year, the centerpieces of La Fête du Champagne are the Grand Tasting and Gala Dinner, both of which will be held on Saturday, November 7th. The Grand Tasting involves 33 of Champagne’s finest producers, both well-known houses and grower estates, who will be pouring over 130 champagnes: new guests this year include Marie-N
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