National Wine Centre Champagne Fest

Today I went to the National Wine Centre Champagne Fest hosted by the National Wine Centre of Australia. It was $30 for the ticket which included $6 worth of tokens to redeem on the day. I had also paid $35 for each of the two masterclasses on offer in order to sit, learn and taste more about Sparkling Wine and Champagne. I have studied the WSET Advanced Certificate and Diploma in Wine and Spirits but I don’t think I ever could stop learning about Sparkling and Champagne! I love it!

The first masterclass at 11:30 was ‘Champagne vs Sparkling’ and the second one at 1pm was ‘Champagne Sensory Experience.’ Yale (I hope I spelt that correctly) led both masterclasses. Yale teaches courses and masterclasses working for the National Education Training Centre. Yale used to be a winemaker and then completed a PhD in wine science. I liked her humour and the atmosphere she created in the classes.


Along with the entry to the masterclass, everyone received a cool branded material goody bag which included a $10 voucher off the enomatic wine tasting at the National Wine Centre plus 10% off a class at as well as a magnet, a pen, postcards and info about the different wine education classes held.

In the Champagne vs Sparkline Wine masterclass we learnt about the grapes used to make Champagne, how to make Champagne, the difference between non vintage and vintage as well as the opportunity to be able to taste and compare a Champagne versus a Sparkling Wine. We had Deviation Road ‘Loftia’ Vintage Brut 2015 alongside Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut NV. Then we had Deviation Road ‘Altair’ Brut Rosé comparing against the Perrier-Jouët Blason Rosé NV. The last flight  of wines included Deviation Road ‘Beltana’ Blanc de Blancs 2011 alongside the Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2008. I love comparing different wines, discussing and tasting the different layers of structure and complexity. I must say that the Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque 2008 was my favourite; not because it was the more expensive but I loved the depth and breadth of this wine with its pronounced flavour profiles on the nose with the complexity on the palate.

In the ‘Champagne Sensory Experience’ we had 4 wines, already poured and we didn’t know what they were when we tasted them. Yale educated us all on the different styles of Champagnes, how it is made, different methods (traditional, tank, transfer) as well as the grape varieties. We discussed how to taste wine; what to look out for e.g. bubbles, colour, flavours and aromas. After we all tasted the 4 wines and Yale asked us which ones we thought were Australian and which were French, the wines were revealed. I guessed correctly; that the first 2 were Australian (Lois Blanc de Blancs from the Adelaide Hills and Janz Rosé NV from Tasmania) and the second 2 were French; Veuve Clicquot Brut NV and Nicolas Feuillate Brut Reserve NV. These two masterclasses were fantastic; always good to learn more, test your palate and meet new people.

I was keen to then try a number of different Champagnes downstairs especially with the Champagne tasting planned for 2:15-3:15pm. There were so many houses to try; Perrier-Jouët, Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Pol Roger, Nicolas Feuillate, Charles Heidsieck as well as sparklings; Deviation Road, Jansz, Henschke, Holm Oak, Coriole, Redbank, Hentley Farm plus many more. Unfortunately, at the last minute, the Champagne tasting was cancelled through no fault of the organisers. I also learnt that you couldn’t buy tasting samples and I didn’t want to stretch to $82 for the one Champagne flute glass of Krug. I feel offering tasting samples for a small fee means more people will be able to try wines they normally don’t as well as learn about the different Champagne house styles but maybe that’s just me being a wine geek!

In any case, having tasted some wonderful Champagnes at the masterclasses, I decided to try my palate with two international sparklings ; Anno Domini Prosecco DOC and Kilikanoon Vouvray Brut. Both at $8 each, they were lovely  with some depth and refreshing acidity.

There was plenty of food available to buy starting from $6 for chips. Oysters, mushrooms, scampi and more was on offer. The food was very tasty; I went with a chicken dish (3 chicken drumsticks covered in tasty spice) and mushrooms with goat’s cheese; delicious. I enjoyed it along with a glass of Anno Domini Prosecco DOC listening the live music and soaking up the Sunday vibes.