Champagne Biennial Awards Sydney Four Seasons

Rebecca Varidel
4th Oct 2016

One of the most elegant women we know, Director of the Champagne Bureau, Elisabeth Drysdale hosted the 'drinks' party of the year recently and Sydney Scoop was there in all our Black Tie glory (although maybe not looking as glamourous as the very beautiful Ms. Drysdale).

So what's that all about? Did you know, Australia is one of the biggest consumers of the most beautiful bubbles in the world? Think house or growers, nominate a vintage or even say it with a blush. Last year Australia imported more than 8 million bottles of Champagne. We seriously love the good stuff!

The 42nd Vin de Champagne Awards were celebrated at a sumptuous dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel with the 2016 winners were announced.

After state finalists were flown to Sydney for the grand final judging including an interview and a blind tasting, two winners were selected from finalists in the following categories:

Professional (for people who gain income from the food and wine industry)
Cameron O’Keefe (Vic) Sommelier, Centra

Amateur (for those who have a passion about Champagne)
Nicky Goodyer (NSW) Florist, Aahh Flowers

This award is one of Australia’s most coveted accolades honouring Australia’s valued relationship with France’s Champagne region.

"The evening was a fitting celebration of passion and respect for Champagne in Australia. All the finalists displayed remarkable knowledge and sophisticated palates and we're certain the winners will pursue their aspirations to learn even more about the nuances and history of Champagne by travelling the region itself" says Elisabeth Drysdale.

To underpin the exquisite wine, the dinner offered guests exquisite food by Mark Best across five courses that matched the elegance of the evening. His food from canapes to finale softly embraced diners but allowed the Champagne to shine. Canapes such as Tomato Marshmallow, and Cucumber and French Onion accompanied Taittenger Cuvee Prestige, Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, and Canard Duchene VII Blanc de Noirs. Once seated a most divine first course of softly tantalising Fraser Island Spanner Crab with Almond Jelly & Gazpacho accompanied the second flight of Champagnes: Billecart-Salmon Blanc De Blancs Grand Cru NV; Delmotte Blanc De Blancs 2007; Alfred Gratien Blanc De Blancs 2007. Appearing simple to the eye, Hiromasa Kingfish With Potatoes & Seaweed was perfect eating, and perfectly accompanied by a sensational round of vintage Champagnes: Louise Roederer Cristal Brut 2007; Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque 2007; Charles Heidsieck Vintage 2005. For main the white theme continued with textbook precision in White Cut Chicken With Mussels, Shitake & Mushroom Broth allowing the next flight to shine: Pol Roger Sir Winston Churchill 2004; William Deutz 2006; Gosset Brut 15 ANS. Vanilla Custard Tart sweetened the night accompanied by: Pommery Brut Rose; Bollinger Rose; Nicols Feullatte Palmes D'Or 2006.

While you might not have the opportunity to work your way through the extent of this comparison on any single evening broadening your horizons by exploring more Champagne is highly recommended.

Photographer: Belinda Rolland © 2016