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Summer of Sport Fizzes

by Tom Cannavan 06/2014

bottles Though tobacco sponsorship of sporting events has all but disappeared in Europe at least, for the time being drinks sponsorship and support of sporting events is big business, from the Hennesey Gold Cup to the Carling Cup. Wine, and particularly Champagne sponsorship, tends to revolve around the most prestigious events. For the summer of sport 2014 two new packages have been unveiled by major Champagne brands, both allowing fans to indulge in a little celebration (or commisseration?) of their own should their teams win or lose.

Champagne Mumm is revving up with its own sporting limited edition, the G.H.Mumm F1 Cordon Rouge. It is the same blend as the regular Cordon Rouge, but with special packaging and available throughout the Forumla 1 racing season, from now until November 2014. Mumm has been the official sponsor of F1 since 2000, and this bottle bears a special livery complete with a victory laurel wreath. The tradition of spraying Champagne from the winners' podium is said to date from 1966 and Le Mans winnner Jo Siffert, when the cork accidentally popped from his overheated Champagne and showered onlookers. The following year, Dan Gurney celebrated his victory, by deliberately spraying the crowd with fizz, the birth of what is now a Formula 1 ritual. The Cordon Rouge is a much improved Champagne in recent years, predominantly Pinot Noir with up to 30% reserve wines. The limited edition Formula 1 bottling has an RRP of £32.09, and stockists are Waitrose, Tesco and Sainsbury's.

labels Meanwhile Taittinger is the official Champagne of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and has released a limited edition souvenir bottle of its Brut Réserve in an attractive gift box. The box is fun and elegant, featuring hologram footballs, with more holograms appearing on the bottle's familiar gold label. Again, the stuff in the bottle is Taittinger's standard Brut Réserve with a high percentage of Chardonnay in the blend. it is a Champagne that very nicely marries a certain earthy gravitas and developed yeastiness with great refreshment through its racy mousse, sweet core of fruit and crisp apple and citrus components. The limited edition World Cup bottling has an RRP of £38.99, and stockists include Morrisons, Waitrose, Secret Cellar, Winepress and many independent merchants.