Reunited with a sparkling friend

The J. M. Gobillard & Fils Premier Cru Grande Reserve NV. Huon Hooke

It was like meeting up with an old friend after a long absence.

At pre-dinner drinks in a hotel room full of legal eagles in Dublin, several bottles of J. M. Gobillard & Fils Premier Cru Grande Reserve NV Champagne were uncorked.

Our local Champagne brand, of which we consumed a fair quantity, was J. M. Gobillard, Hautvillers’s resident fizz factory. I enjoyed it then and just as much the other day in Dublin.

I once had the good fortune to spend a fair bit of time in the village of Hautvillers, where this wine was made. I stayed near the site of the abbey in which Dom Pérignon worked his magic with Champagne wine. The abbey is now a ruin and the Dom has long since departed (in 1715 to be precise, although there’s a replica of him in the museum there), and his spirit lives on. Our local Champagne brand, of which we consumed a fair quantity, was J. M. Gobillard, Hautvillers’s resident fizz factory. I enjoyed it then (what, 30 years ago? Really?) and just as much the other day in Dublin. It’s a small, family owned and run winery. I’m surprised no-one appears to be bringing it into Australia.

Call me a snob, but I can’t help comparing this wine with the prosecco that was served at a function the previous day—sickly sweet, immature, simple and devoid of character.

What is it about good Champagne that keeps people like me coming back for more? The late Dr Max Lake would probably have explained that it’s full of pheromones that connect with a prehistoric part of our ‘smell-brain’.

Or maybe it’s all just a matter of conditioning? We are brain-washed at an early age to believe the taste of Champagne is the best. And it stays with us for the rest of our lives.

No, I don’t believe that. There is something much deeper about universal tastes. Vanilla and chocolate are universal, so too strawberry, rose, lemon and much more.

So, you ask, why is prosecco so wildly popular? Because it is fizzy, cheap, available everywhere, and possibly also because it doesn’t have too much character. Blandness offends no-one (well, almost no-one).

I’m all for character in my wine, thank-you. And thank-you, J. M. Gobillard and the Gobillard family, for continuing to do what you do.


4 thoughts on “Reunited with a sparkling friend”

  1. Avatar
    Charles Hargrave says:

    I see no problem with Prosecco, as long as includes a large volume of Aperol. Some soda water is usually added. This can also completely replace the Prosecco as there is little difference between the two ‘products’.

    1. Avatar
      Robert O'Brien says:

      do you think that will work with a piccolo of sparkle from a large well know SA producer ?

      1. Huon Hooke
        Huon Hooke says:

        I have to say I also enjoy the occasional Aperol spritz and you can use just about any sparkling wine to make it.

    2. Huon Hooke
      Huon Hooke says:

      What more could I possibly add to that, Chilly!

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