A Desert Island Wine Guide

I've revealed on a least a couple occasions that my desert island wine would be Champagne. This is assuming it's a really nice desert island. If it's more along the lines of a modest desert island then I'd settle for Sparkling Wine.

No matter what shape this island is in, however, I'm definitely going to need electricity. I'll need it to keep my lifetime supply of Champagne or Sparkling wine cooled. But I'm also going to need Internet access on the Island in order to have access to Peter Liem's new CHAMPAGNEGUIDE.NET.

"Champagneguide.net is the web's most comprehensive guide to the wines
and wine producers of Champagne. This on-line guide features profiles of
over 100 champagne producers, from renowned négociant houses to small
grower estates."

The guide also currently has more than 600 reviews of Champagnes currently in the market and will haveChampguide
continued updates. The cost is $89 per year.

Despite the French's proclivity to focus on dirt and the dirt's given name, I've always thought that "Champagne" is a far more famous thing than it is a famous wine place. That said, what we now have in Liem's CHAMPAGNEGUIDE.NET is a complete guide to the unique and desirable wines produced in that famous dirt. As far as I know, this has never existed on the Internet.

But you may ask, who is Peter Liem and why should I trust him to produce such a guide. Peter is probably among the most knowledgeable journalists in the world where it comes to Champagne. Turns out he's the only English-speaking journalist to actually live in the region and he's covered the wines of Champagne for Wine & Spirits Magazine since 2004. His wine background (as well as Sake knowledge) is extensive. If you want a taste of his writing take a look at back issues of Wine & Spirits Magazine or look at his American Wine Blog Award-nominated blog, Besotted Ramblings.

The question that Peter will likely soon find an answer to is if there are enough Champagne lovers and those interested enough in Champagne lovers and the market they create to support an on-line guide to Champagne that can be accessed for $89 per year. I don't know the answer to this question, but I hope it's "yes". The subscription model for on-line content is a difficult one, but it strikes me that if it is going to work the content one is paying for likely needs to be very specialized.

CHAMPAGNEGUIDE.NET is nothing if not specialized.

The guide provides extensive profiles of producers along with ratings of wines that range from * to ****.

The Advanced Search feature allows one to find wines by producer, Region, Dosage, Variety Used, Rating, Type of wine (blend, blanc de blanc, etc), Origin and Vintage.

To give you a sense of Liem's reviewing-prose there is this excerpt from his *** review of the 1996 Krug:

"Already a legend, Krug’s 1996 is stunning for its seamless combination
of power, complexity and finesse. It’s dense and powerfully rich, true
to its vintage, but it feels perfectly harmonious, without a trace of
excess weight, held in perfect suspension by its brilliant acidity. The
flavors stain the palate in their intensity, feeling sappy and
grippingly authoritative, and this wine’s sense of completeness and
balance are extraordinary. There are those who are partial to Krug’s
1990, but to me the 1996 outclasses that wine in every way. If I had
one reservation about the 1996 it might be to ask why it was even
released yet, as it’s so painfully youthful and unresolved…"

Liem's style of writing about Champagne's has an authoritative, but familiar style to it for reasons that should be obvious, but need to be said nonetheless: His is both authoritative when it comes to Champagne and familiar with these wines as they are made in his backyard.

10 Responses

  1. Ned - April 2, 2009

    I have read Peter’s excellent writing on his blog. I’m optimistic this will do well. Subscription is certainly a more challenging model but I think the clean, impeccably tasteful design of the Guide would be
    greatly diminished by advertising. By being both extremely authoritative AND utterly current and up to date, it now simply rests
    on reaching enough Champagniacs. Worldwide, there should be enough for this to do fine,

  2. Dylan - April 2, 2009

    Excellent writing. You’re right about the confidence of his voice. I can tell I’m reading from someone who has had a bounty of experience with Champagne. The voice of his expertise will likely be a driving force for the site.

  3. Samantha - April 2, 2009

    I signed up as soon as I saw it! As someone that has to write articles, and lead classes on Champgane Peter’s site is a VERY needed resource, trust me, most of those houses, (the growers anyway) either have no website, it is all in French or they are kind of um, out of date. I have been reading his blog for some time and think his writing is both informative and comfortable…very excited about the new site.

  4. mydailywine - April 2, 2009

    Ahh, champagne! If there is any subject worth dreaming about and certainly reading about, then it is certainly Champagne…for me.
    And Peter Liem is definitely the man.

  5. Christian Miller - April 2, 2009

    I’ll second your recommendation on Peter. I’m not a frequent Champagne drinker, but I have enjoyed his expertise and insight in the past. Furthermore, Peter is very enjoyable reading on a wide variety of topics from the interaction of personality and winemaking to the sensory effect of various techniques to food and travel.

  6. Name - April 4, 2009

    The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride f*cking with you. F*ck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.

  7. Eddie - April 4, 2009

    The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride f*cking with you. F*ck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps.

  8. Kathy - April 4, 2009

    As a Champagne lover, I am happy for Peter.
    For transparency, is he or is the Champagne Wine Bureau (etc) your client?

  9. Allen - April 4, 2009

    As one who grew up in California north coast wine country, I find it a bit distressing that sparkling wine produced outside of the Champagne region, must be called just that, sparkling wine.
    I have seen and tasted ‘Champagnes’ produced in the Boonville/Philo area that were excellent. One man’s rambling.

  10. Dirty - April 11, 2009

    Thanks for the post on this Tom. I signed up and have been enjoying it.

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