Wine Stories: Talking Champagne with Madame Champenoise

Liz Palmer graced the Wine Angels with her presence in the Cave last month to toast to the release of her new book The Ultimate Guide to Champagne. Read on…

ultimate_champagne_book_liz_palmerLiz’s love affair with wine began 9 years ago, as she made the transition from securities law to a studying Somm. As we sipped, savoured, and yes, SABERED in her honour, it became apparent that we could all agree that no matter the question – Champagne is ALWAYS the answer. As we poured ourselves some Champers and settled into chat, Liz told us about her continued book tour plans, and how she will soon be launching her own Champagne brand- How cool! Liz is fondly known as the queen of Champagne, but we call her Madame Champenoise!


If you could describe the purpose of your book in one sentence, what would it be?

The Champagne Bible


Do you consider yourself a Champagne purist?

I believe that it is up to you. I love having my guests choose their own glasses. lizange-1I’m a purist for Vintage Champagne, but I am open minded. A lot of people in France don’t believe that you should even cook with Champagne. There is also the topic of decanting Vintage Champagne, it does change the taste – real purists don’t agree with that.


 What was the very first Champagne you ever drank? 

Drappier Champagne from the Aub region. It is a nice family that runs it. I just fell in love with it when I visited. He has a champagne table that holds your purse and your champagne glass – what else do you need.


What is your favourite Champagne?

The 1998 Vintage Dom Pérignon, I was tasting with the chef de Cave Richard Jeffery and a sommelier in a private an intimate tasting experience. It was so memorable. (Find it in the LCBO here)


img_0665Is there another female that inspires you?

The women that run champagne houses. Marguerite from Krug. There are definitely more females in the management roles now in champagne houses than there ever has been, and that is great to see. I would leave meetings at the houses and be so inspired by the women who were both business women, and running their families. I mention quite a few women in the book (even our very own Angela Aiello)


What is your favourite wine pairing?

Oysters and champagne –there is no better combo.  I like trying new oysters too.


In your opinion, what are you wearing if Champagne is the perfect accessory?

Either an elegant evening gown or a bathrobe – you decide.


If you were talking to someone who didn’t know anything about Champagne, what would be the key thing you would want to tell them? 

There are a lot of things, I think how to shop for it, and how to taste it – those are the primary things.



When you’re not writing, or drinking Champagne, where are you and what’s in your glass?

I like Chablis. So Chardonnay, but pure Chardonnay. I’ve been going in between Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio sometimes, but I haven’t found a Pinot that I am in love with yet.


And the final question – have you ever sabered!?! And tell us about your experience.

I’m a beginner, but I just bought my first saber. I got it in France and it is a Laguiole brand. I usally saber off the back of my yacht!


Keep up with Liz’s wine adventures! Follow her on Instagram here!