Cheshire Life/Alderley Edge Hotel Champagne Oscars dinner 2009
PUBLISHED: 10:37 05 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:40 20 February 2013
The house of Bollinger was the toast at the prestigious Cheshire Life/Alderley Edge Hotel Champagne Oscars dinner<br/>WORDS BY RAY KING<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS
The economy may not be sparkling but they still get a kick out of Champagne in Alderley Edge. And counter to Cole Porters memorable lyrics, devotees in Cheshires Golden Triangle would never consider the King of Wines to be mere alcohol that doesnt thrill them at all.
In fact lovely bubbly in these parts is not just for celebrating it has become a celebrity in its own right, the most popular marque being awarded, each year, the coveted Champagne Oscar.
The ninth recipient of the ornate silver and gilt trophy, hand crafted by Warris & Company of Sheffield, silversmiths entrusted to care for the FA Cup, was the champagne most closely associated with glamorous celebration Bollinger, or just Bolly to the Ab-Fab brigade.
With due ritual, before a magnificent gourmet dinner at the Alderley Edge Hotel, the Oscar was presented to Bollingers UK ambassador, Simon Leschallas, by the hotels general manager Ahmet Kurcer and Cheshire Lifes editor, Louise Taylor. It will be given pride of place in Bollingers London headquarters for the next 12 months.
Madame Jacques Aunt Lily Bollinger, whose 1961 homily I drink it when Im happy and when Im sad; sometimes I drink it when Im alone; when I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if Im not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it unless Im thirsty - is the most famous quote associated with Champagne, would have been proud.
Since the Champagne Oscar was conceived by Mr Kurcer and Cheshire Lifes former editor Patrick ONeill as a light-hearted riposte aimed at stay-at-home London-based food and wine writers, its annual presentation has become one of the highlights of the countys social calendar.
Bollinger, the Ay-based Grande Marque, founded in 1829 and still family-run, hit the spot for the panel of judges led by Mr Kurcer, and comprising Mrs Taylor; writer and broadcaster John Stalker, former Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester; David Garlick, managing director of D& D Wines; entrepreneur Max Essayan; Dr Jo Emery; the hotels wine expert Harold Lievesley and Ray King, Cheshire Lifes food and wine writer.
Guests at the dinner had ample opportunity to appreciate the Oscar-winning Champagnes. Bollinger Special Cuve, the marques flagship non-vintage wine that sets the elegant, pinot noir-dominated house style, provided the welcome and accompanied head chef Chris Hollands exquisite first course: carpaccio of marinated veal, rillette of smoked duck, foie gras brule and compressed apple.
Bollinger La Grande Anne 2000 partnered lobster jelly with tartare of Sslmon, crab and scallop fritter and roasted langoustine and the rare and revelatory red, Bollinger La Cote aux Enfants 2002 (blended in the production of pink champagne) accompanied a sublime main course of lamb loin sous vide, miniature shepherds pie, artichoke pure and crispy thyme.
After Bourgogne Rouge Oak-Aged Pinot Noir 2005 was poured with delice of truffled goats cheese, mulled fig textures and toasted oat crumble, it was time to savour the marques latest creation, Bollinger Ros NV, an absolutely fabulous climax alongside Chris Hollands delightful English pear Tatin, Tonka bean delice and toasted popcorn ice cream.