It was big, it was dry, it was bold. It was also less well known than many other champagne brands back in its hey day in the 1920s but its company made a huge dent in the market back then, producing over one million of the 20 to 30 million bottles made in the Champagne region in those days.
It is Champagne Ayala.
This week we have been privileged to have hosted and been invited to several tastings of Champagne Ayala, both upstairs at a paid private tasting for customers (very much first-in, first served this time) and also for our staff. Yours truly was lucky enough to have been invited to lunch and taste these high quality bubbles with the company's visiting export director Laurence Alamanos. She explained the history, the mystery and the details of what makes Ayala tick. It remains one of the driest champagnes on the market across all five of the wines in the range.
Ayala has been eclipsed in terms of its percentage of production and it's also been sold twice in the last century. The first sale was in 1939 and it sold again in 2005, famously to Champagne Bollinger; its current owner.
Production shrank to between 400,000 and 500,000 bottles when Bollinger took over and the winery was refurbished in 2007 to create more modern facilities. Its annual production has since clambered back to the 1 million bottle mark. Freshness is the focus. All winemaking is in stainless steel. No oak is used for any of the base wines. All up the company has 18 staff and everything is done in-house from the winemaking to the bottling and labelling. This is uncommon in the Champagne region. It is also a Chardonnay based and focussed producer, which shone through in the blanc de blanc; 100% Chardonnay and utterly delicious from its creamy nose to its crisp long, full bodied flavours.
The Champagne Ayala range...
There are 5 Ayala champagnes produced today and we have three in store. They deliver a top quality value-price ratio - so come on down and pick up a beautiful bubbly for winter.
Top pink drop
Champagne Ayala Rosé Majeur
Fresh, pale pink and drier than most rosés, this wine contains 7 grams dosage per litre (about half the level of sweetness of most champagnes on the market today, although it does vary widely). This wine is made from 50% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier. It tastes of redcurrants and toasty developed flavours. Lovely fresh and complex with a long finish.
Champagne Ayala Brut NV
Champagne Ayala Brut Majeur
2012 Champagne Ayala Le Blanc de Blancs
2006 Champagne Ayala Cuvee Perle d’Ayala