Champagne 101 at Edmund's Oast

Marina Bundy



Sarah O’Kelley of Edmund’s Oast taught a class about a beverage that is of special interest during this holiday season—champagne!


The event was hosted at Edmund’s Oast on the secluded back deck, where students sampled champagnes paired with delicious small plates.  Sarah led the group, who possessed limited knowledge of the subject matter (myself included), through a structured tasting with great finesse.


We sampled four different champagnes including a fine bottle of Ruppert-Leroy Martin Fontaine, Brut Nature, Aube as well as a bottle of J.L Vergnon Grand Cru Conversation, Brut, Cote de Blancs. All the different varieties we tasted were delicious and half were one of a kind bottles with special vintages.


Sarah broke down the main components involved in the process of creating bubbles. She introduced us to a process called “Methode Champenoise” (see diagram) while touching on each layer of this complex process.  Her topics ranged from soil types to geography lessons.  Champagne, a small gem, is located in France along with several other sub-regions that yield champagne during their harvest.


Sarah led our group through complex information, breaking it down into plain speech for some of us champagne amateurs so it could be more easily understood.



 We learned how to evaluate champagne in ways beyond a recognizable label such as evaluating colors of “gray bold” and “old-varnish,” and learning what exactly acidity taste like and how to gauge if it's high or low based on your mouth watering.


We examined smells of fruit and herbs, flowers and earth, from the initial foam that occurs immediately following the pour. Complex measurements are made to determine the quality of wines. These certainly extended beyond my familiarity yet with Sarah by our side we were all fine vintners. The essential and most exciting takeaway I gained from the course is that we are fortunate enough to live in a day and age where we can be champagne drinkers on a regular basis. That is something worth celebrating!


No longer must we feel the need to splurge only for a special occasion—the world of grower champagne has opened doors to a more affordable product that allows for us all to reap the benefit of having a glass of bubbly any time we so desire. Edmund’s Oast also hosts classes on beer and wine.  They’re all wonderful!


This class gave me the ability to learn about champagne, how it finds its way from the ground to the bottle, and every step in between.  It was a truly enjoyable evening—one of my finest memories during the time I’ve spent here in the Lowcountry.


The next class at Edmund's Oast will be on Saturday, December 3, from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Bower.  It will be a wine and beer tasting and pop-up shop geared towards helping folks stock up for the holidays.  It is free and open to anyone (of drinking age) who would like to stop by.  They plan to have order sheets so you can actually buy any of the beers and wines you like at the tasting for pick-up that next week.  Staff will be leading folks through the tables discussing the art of pairing with holiday meals.