Champagne does it like nothing else. For 300 years, it has been called the drink of kings, the elixir of love, a liquid mirror of memories — descriptions that envelope it in an aura that sets it apart from all other wines. And the enchantment continues. Through the ages, Champagne has remained the drink of choice when it comes to celebrating the pleasures of life with verve and elegance and style.
It is this enduring fascination with Champagne that has given winemakers throughout the world the impetus to produce their own versions of the sparkling wine. While many make strong attempts, none can make true Champagne. That designation remains specific to Champagne produced in the cool region 90 miles northeast of Paris that has given its name to the wine. True Champagne is a product of only three grapes grown in the chalky soil of the region — chardonnay, pinot noir and pinot meunier.
There are more than 100 houses, or firms, in Champagne, each with its own style. For example, Bollinger’s is full-bodied and toasty; Krug’s is fullbodied and complex; Taittinger’s is fine and delicate; Perrier-Jouët’s is medium-bodied and elegant; Ruinart’s is light and graceful; Gosset’s is full and dry; Charles Heidsieck’s is medium-bodied and biscuity; Moët & Chandon’s is medium-bodied and fresh; Louis Roederer’s is rich and ripe; Laurent-Perrier’s is light and fruity.
Most houses express their style through a variety of bottlings. Nonvintage Champagne, which accounts for about 80 percent of all varieties, is a cuvée, or blend, of wines from a number of harvests aged up to three years. Vintage Champagne is a cuvée of fine wines from a single harvest, aged usually four to five years. It carries its vintage date on the label and is made only in years when the quality of the wines is especially high, on average, about three to four times a decade.
Rarest of all is a house’s prestige cuvée, a blend of its best wines from its premium vineyards aged more than five years. Cuvée represents the finest Champagne a house has to offer — and not every house offers one. Whatever Champagne you choose — prestige cuvée, vintage or nonvintage — these wines from France represent the best of the world’s sparklers.
Pop the cork. Let the celebration begin.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group announced plans to take over an existing hotel in Switzerland. The property is undergoing extensive renovations in preparation to open at the end of next year as Mandarin Oriental Palace, Luzern. The property was previously Hotel Palace Luzern, on the shores of Lake Lucerne and in the heart of the city; it originally opened in 1906.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
As part of Germany’s climate package, a plan to reduce emissions, the country will raise departure taxes at German airports. Taxes will go up as much as 60 percent, and are expected to raise up to €740 million. The funds will then be used to lower VAT on rail fares from 19 percent to 7 percent.
Thessaloniki is the second-largest city of Greece and the most important center of the area. Built near the sea, elegant and refined, the Greek “Lady of the North” is a modern, vivacious city that welcomes visitors eager to learn about its history and culture, and at the same time have fun, relax, go shopping or simply explore the cityscape by the sea.
Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of its newest ship, Norwegian Encore, ahead of its naming ceremony Nov. 21. The 1,100-foot-long ship boasts a guest capacity of nearly 4,000. Since Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of the shi, Oct. 30, Norwegian Encore sailed from Germany to England before making its way to New York City, then Miami, where the christening ceremony takes place next week.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.