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Uncorked: Sparkling Wine Masterclass

Part 'Trois' of our 'Cork Dork' Tasting Masterclass Series with sparkling wines from around the world. Discover how and where sparkling wine can be made, why yeast autolysis is a marvelous thing, why bubbly isn't just for weddings and deal signings anymore. Infographics and canapes included.

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Uncorked: Sparkling Wine Masterclass
Uncorked: Sparkling Wine Masterclass

Time & Location

18 Apr 2023, 18:30 – 20:30

RAF Club London


The ‘Cork Dork’ series in Spring 2023 concluded with a tasting of six very different styles of sparkling wine. The tour was led by founding member Chris Van Aeken – an acclaimed wine collector, WSET Diploma holder and examiner, and certified lover of great champagnes. Kicking off with glasses of a cabernet franc-driven rosé from the Loire Valley which was, well, tannic, the participants whet their palates with bubbly from a premium region of the Prosecco region and a Cava from Catalonia. As per the organizers’ design (the experience was intended to be adventurous, not same same), reception for these three wines was mixed. Some enjoyed how different the wines were from the typical ‘champagne’ taste profile – with sweetness, softer bubbles, ripeness and sometimes savoury characters. Others described smelling ‘washing up liquid’ or ‘new trainers’ or the wine's taste being ‘short on the finish’. After the brief intermission, the tasting ‘came home’ – first through an English wine, then finally Champagne. Some tasters were patently relieved to be back on deliciously familiar ground.

The ‘blind’ wine selected by Chris was a cheeky choice – a nostalgic favourite for someone who grew up in Belgium – a Luxembourg crémant! Though the crowd had a difficult time identifying the method of production, whether it was old or new world, and the grape varieties (pinot blanc, pinot noir and auxerrois), it was a hit. The wine might have even taken second place as Wine of the Night, after the Champagne.

The energy in the room was high – fizzy, one might even say. The Cork Dorks and Capital Branch Committee members were pleased to have such an open minded and enthusiastic crowd. Our appreciation doth bubble over.

Wines Tasted (from left to right)

  1. Bouvet-Ladubay Saumur Rosé Brut NV (Loire Valley)
  2. Prosecco Superiore di Cartizze Le Colture DOCG (Veneto, Italy)
  3. Terra Remota Cava Brut Reserva (Catalonia)
  4. Ashling Park Cuvée NV (England)
  5. Alfred Gratien Blanc de Blanc 2015 (Champagne)

The blind wine: Aly Duhr et Fils Crémant Brut (Luxembourg)

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