It was from the evening when dear Marco Chiesa presented his book 'Champagne Reloaded'. in one of my favourite classic method sparkling wine cellars - San Michele, in the Brescian Montenetto - that I wanted to write an article on Champagne. Then a fortnight ago I went, for the first time, to the Modena Champagne Experience 2019 and tasted some really exciting wines. However, I was wondering what slant to give to this piece, since I used this fair to taste as many champagnes as possible without lingering, with the aim of making a selection of those worth buying and trusting that producers and distributors will help me to write the full tastings on quiet occasions... as did Laurant-Perrier when he took me to Champagne to spend two wonderful days tasting! Yesterday, my friend Sonia Barone provided the icing on the cake by sharing with me the news of a very nice English lady named Dorothy Flowers who has just turned 108 and revealed the secret of her longevity: drinking lots of good Champagne! Madam, you and I could have become very good friends, I assure you... Dorothy, who was born on 22 October 1911 in Leeds, lived completely independently on her own until the age of 104 in her Yorkshire home and only later moved to the nursing home where she celebrated this incredible milestone! Over 650 birthday cards arrived from all over the world, but she really only wanted one thing: to be in my company at the Modena Champagne Experience 2019!

On Sunday 13 and Monday 14 October, the Modena Champagne Experience was held in the dated facilities of the Modena Trade Fair. +15% attendance compared to the last edition. Ben 125 Maison also populated by many producers and not only by distributors and over 4500 attendances These are nice and important numbers, especially for an event with a price that is anything but popular: €109 entrance fee per day. Given the cost, success and prestige of the event, I hope for a free shuttle service from Modena station next year. Buses to the Fair are rarer than a bottle of A. Bergere's Grand Année and we shared the only taxi that passed by within twenty minutes between five of us.

Modena Champagne Experience is masterfully organised by theClub Excellence Association founded in 2012, director Lorenzo Righi, and of which they are part: Sagna SpA, Pellegrini SpA, Gruppo Meregalli, Cuzziol Grandi Vini Srl, Balan Srl, Sarzi Amadè Srl, Vino & Design Srl, Teatro del Vino Srl, Proposta Vini sas, Bolis Srl, Les Caves de Pyrene Srl, Premium Wine Selection PWS Srl, Ghilardi Selezioni Srl, Visconti 43 Srl, Première Srl. I personally only know Pellegrini SpA (in the photo with me Stefano Montagner of Pellegrini whom I met at Bellenda for Blend 2019) which, as you know, has led me to discover so many truly exceptional producers, the last of which were at the wonderful event organised at Villa Zanchi last Monday... but I'll tell you about that tomorrow! 

My Modena Champagne Experience was also about friendship... because I spent two wonderful days with Elisa Gubellini, a woman I can no longer do without. I have found my soul mate! If someone had told me that when we met, thanks to the wrong night in Liguria, I would never have believed it! Yet I have found not only a colleague doing the same job as me with whom I can share joys and sorrows, but a friend with whom I can finally be myself 100%. And given that for me there is no rarer thing than friendship between women, coupled with the fact that women, especially insecure ones, tend to compete with each other instead of teaming up, I am really happy about that! Moreover, we are both true champagne-addicts, in the sense that we would even drink champagne for breakfast instead of cappuccino... and it was nice to compare notes on the bottles we liked best, especially while a thousand-year-old grandfather was entering through our bedroom window because we had locked ourselves out of the door with the key in the keyhole and, of course, our door was the only one on the whole floor with a knob that didn't open from the outside! Poor guy, good that he wasn't hurt... even though our room was on the first floor it overlooked a basement car park and was quite high at the end! We laughed a lot, even with a wine-loving girl called Pamela who we met at the fair and tried with us to break down the door!

In my opinion, the strength of this event is its ability to combine the big names of Champagne with very small, unknown producers to embrace a large number of different palates and cultures that only have in common their love for these fascinating and prestigious French bubbles. Champagne still represents the status of luxury and exclusivity and so often we stop at the names of the great Maisons and tend to overlook products that instead deserve all the attention they can get. 

This was also an opportunity to discover delicious gastronomic products, first and foremost a Mortadella fairytale. Ohibò, I love mortadella... in fact, piadina with mortadella is undoubtedly one of the three foods I could never give up! Favola is a patent in the family Palmieriwhich bags and cooks ham, bacon, salt, natural flavourings and acacia honey in the natural rind, allowing the fat melted during cooking to escape. The result is a much lighter taste and the desire to never stop eating it! There is also a variant with Sicilian pistachios (which I hope to taste soon) and one with Cervia whole-wheat salt!

Not only the mortadella was noteworthy: delicious the Blacktail salmon because it was so delicately smoked, it literally drove me crazy. Here, raw salmon is one of the other 3 foods I could not give up! Also delicious the anchovies presented by Selection 76 who, by the way, just e-mailed me their price list and I found that they have a lot of really interesting things. Also really good are the Patatas Nanaespecially the version with lime and black pepper. The lime defatted their genuine taste to perfection! Last only for its sweetness the Barozzi cake... so many little cubes that it was impossible to resist! The amazing thing about this cake is that there is no flour... only dark chocolate, almonds (maybe there is an almond flour?), eggs, butter, sugar and roasted peanuts.

One thing that really pleased me was meeting so many people who follow me here on my wine blog. These two photos are symbolic: Laura D'Amato and I have written our lives to each other in numerous e-mails, while Daniele Morelli and I share wonderful photos of architecture and interior design, since in addition to wine we both cultivate this passion. Well for him it is actually a real job, you know he is a very good architect?

I think I tasted at least three quarters of the labels present over the two days, and those whose photos I am publishing here are the ones that excited me the most! One in particular stole my heart, and it is from the company Waris-Larmandier whom I met at this wonderful Champagne Experience! We are talking about a small production of about 30,000 bottles per year and the Champagne 'Ses Arts' is a Blanc de Blancs from the Cotes des Blancs of the Grand Cru Avize. I found it very elegant and mineral, with fantastic toasty and fruity notes that fade into a citrus and spicy undertone.

Equalled by the great 100% Pinot Meunier from Huré Frères '4 Elements'.. The grapes come from 4 different plots in the Montagne de Reims where the oldest vines date back to 1963. I found it very fresh, vertical, creamy, mineral, elegant and austere. Definitely a champagne not for everyone.

The others you can find in the fottos below are all fantastic, so you can try them with your eyes closed. I hope to be able to provide you with accurate tastings soon!

Ah in this photo a fantastic Roger Coulon, but to discover this Maison I recommend you read my article on Blend 2019!

Have you been to the Modena Champagne Experience 2019? Did you have a good time? Which champagne stole your heart? Have you ever tasted any of these champagnes? Tell me in a comment! <3

Cheers

Chiara

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