Le French GourMay 2017: Champagne Celebration

The 9th edition of Le French GourMay, the gastronomic celebration of Le French May presented by UnionPay and organised by Business France in Hong Kong, is celebrating the 25th anniversary of Le French May in Hong Kong and Macau with Champagne.

During the whole month of May this year, more than 220 partners – Michelin-starred chefs, restaurants, as well as wine importers and distributors in Hong Kong and Macau – will join hands to honour Le French GourMay 2017 by dedicated menus to match with Champagne, wine tastings, promotions and workshops.

 Official Theme Region: Champagne
Champagne – the theme region of Le French GourMay 2017, is a historic wine region 150 kilometres to the east of Paris. The sparkling wine of the same name can exclusively come from this delimited region and is protected by law in more than 120 countries. The four main growing regions: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne, Côte des Blancs and Côte des Bar encompass 278,000 individual vineyard plots. There are 15,000 winegrowers and the main champagne grapes are Pinot noir (38%), Meunier (32%) and Chardonnay (30%).

 Champagne
When there is something to celebrate, a bottle of Champagne is always popped open. However, Champagne wines also are incredibly diverse. With different vineyards, different grapes, different blends, different ageing, the countless possibilities of varieties of champagne mean there are as many styles of Champagne as Champagne makers. The result is a wide spectrum of Champagne wines to suit every taste and every occasion.
The terroir of the Champagne wine region is subjected to a dual-climate. Continental and oceanic influences create moderate precipitation for growing quality fruit. The sub-soil is predominantly limestone, which provides good drainage and explains the distinct mineral taste of Champagne.
Winemaking techniques let winemakers express their creativity and create their own “house style”. For example, some prefer to have their Champagne fermented in wood in order to allow the development of toasty flavours; the wood also exposes the wine to a micro-oxygenation that softens the fruit.
Some winemakers on the contrary will prefer to make wines in stainless steel vats, in order to prioritize the freshness of wines and the aromas of citrus and stone fruit.

 Aroma development in Champagne
Depending on the type of grape and maturity, Champagne produces a wide variety of aromas. Non-vintage Champagne must age in the cellars for at least 15 months and vintage Champagne for a minimum of 3 years, before being released. Young Champagne exhibits crisp and fresh aromas of flowers, citrus, fruits, bready scents and mineral aromas. Mature Champagne exhibits a rounder aroma of preserved fruits, patisserie, and spices. Older Champagne wines are opulent, exhibiting aromas of candied fruits, honey, toasty flavours and sometimes a hint of animal notes.

 Champagne appellation
Only sparkling wines produced in the French wine region of Champagne can be called “Champagne”. This principle is protected by French and European regulations but also by law in 120 countries. The Champagne production area was delimited as soon as in 1927 and decreed an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in 1936. Champagne production is strictly regulated, from the planting of grapes to wine labelling. Champagne currently incorporates 319 villages (“Crus”).

 Matching food with Champagne
No matter the season and course of meal, there will be suitable Champagne for your occasion. Young Champagne based on chardonnay grapes is a great aperitif that goes well with fresh appetisers such as lightly smoked fish, shellfish, tempura vegetables and light pastry puffs. Vintage Champagne based on black grapes go well with dishes with complex flavours such as foie gras, stuffed chicken or a roasted lamb rack. Mature Champagne with a few years of ageing will bring out the taste of fruit in desserts such as tarts and crumbles.

 Tourism in Champagne
The slopes, houses and cellars of Champagne are listed in the UNESCO World Heritage in 2015 for the “outstanding and universal value (OUV)” of this “cultural landscape” dedicated to sparkling wine production from the end of the 17th century onwards. Champagne is of course famous for wine tourism, where winegrowers, houses and cooperatives welcome visitors to their wine tours and wine tastings.
Guests can visit wine cellars, vineyards; they can enjoy French “art de vivre” and experience Champagne tasting and food pairing. Every year on 22 January, Champagne celebrates St Vincent, the patron of winegrowers with a big ceremony.

Le French GourMay 2017: Champagne Celebration

01/05/2017 - 31/05/2017