The Challenge: A cuisine that shares its roots with the motherland, a wine crafted specifically for the motherland; a classic cuvée with a rich history attempts to balance a pie that takes richness to new levels; the elegance of a beverage fit for royalty alongside a convenient food for the people: The Burleigh, Meat Pie, Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand (est. 2012) VS Lanson, Black Label Brut, Reims, France, NV (set. 1760).  A pork belly meat pie that has become internationally known. A Champagne that has made its mark internationally. Both equal in regards to setting the bar high within their respective categories. How will they equate with each other? After a long vintage of making world renowned wine The Somm and his fellow cellar workers, The Day Cru met for one final task…SMASH!

The Somm

The Day Cru 

The Somm was working in New Zealand for the 2016 vintage. He was on the day team for Pinot Noir production comprised of a small select group of skilled cellar hands. This was just one team in a winery that represented cellar hands from over 20 countries all around the globe. The small group became members of The Day Cru.

The Day Cru had just finished working 12 hours a day for over two months successfully crushing over a thousand tons of Pinot Noir grapes. The time went by so fast nobody knew what hit them and before they could blink it was time for people to start their travels. Some would be going through the land of hobbits, some would head to Asia, and some would be going home. But before they departed The Somm had one last challenge.

Always prepared to put Champagne to the test, The Somm had made an investment before The Day Cru separated. Finding a bottle of Chamagne was not hard in New Zealand, but he chose a bottle that was imported into New Zealand from a winery located in New Zealand. A Champagne that also had close ties to “the motherland” (Great Britain). What better Champagne to drink with the local cuisine? This bottle of Champagne was the Lanson, Black Label. The bottle was not vintage labeled which was perfect because the last words The Somm or The Day Cru wanted to hear was “vintage.”

The only thing to do now was find the perfect place to put the bottle to the test. Thankfully, New Zealand being of the commonwealth only offered a few options for the challenge (no offense); bangers & mash, fish & chips, and the ever so popular meat pie. It just so happened out of those three options Blenheim, Marlborough was famous for one in particular. Blenheim is home to more Sauvignon Blanc than you can imagine, The Burleigh, and its world famous meat pies. In fact, every person living or visiting this small wine-producing town knows The Burleigh, and will quickly demand you to try the pork belly pie.

With the last grape skins being peeled from their finger nails, The Somm gathered The Day Cru. This would be the last time this group sat together. It also may have been the first, considering no one ever had a chance to stop working. Now all they had to do was SMASH some bubbles and pies.





“There is no “I” in team,

but there is an “I” in pie. And there’s an “i” in meat pie.

Meat is the anagram of team

I don’t know” – (Shaun)

But, there is no “me” in Champagne

and you can’t spell Champagne without Champ.

So I guess if we eat meat pies and drink Champagne

that makes us a team of champions.

The Somm dedicates this SMASH to Simon Pegg. Being a native of England and with a similar sense of humor I am sure he would approve of this pairing. Shaun of The Dead also happens to have plenty of parallels to working a wine vintage.


Sight. Mouthfeel. Aroma. Sensation. Happiness.



S ight:  I approve of the safety of this small coffee cup, now can I take my pants off. I have to look at you again? Anything looks better than rows of barrels ya’ good cunt.

M outhfeel: The balance is surprising, but so is anything other than fried rice. This meat pie is ridiculous, and this Champagne is delicious. We just call it a pie.

A roma: Hints of citrus, brioche, and smoked meat. Smells like grapes. Smells like wine. Smells good as.

S ensation: Surprisingly these go great together. This is the best work lunch we’ve had. Almost as good as using “Old Ricky.” The crumb is better than a scrum. Perfect meal to enjoy before getting on the piss.

H appiness:  SWEET AS!


S ight:

Toasted top and through.

Flakes to gather all around

Smiles, reflect, be-right.


M outhfeel:

Streamline through the fat,

Richness of both sides combine,

Elegance each time.


A roma:

Baked citrus compels,

Spells of savory ferment

Layered on lay-here.


S ensation:

Bit-here and So-eat

Save the last sip even if it’s…

So good to say bye.


H appiness:

No one said a word.

For the work here was finished.

All we did in-joy.



There comes a point in every vintage where the last thing any cellar hand wants is a glass of wine. Some would even say weeks after the vintage grapes still haunt you, and the only safety comes from a pint of ale. That may have been the hardest part of this challenge; convincing people to take a glass, or in this case a coffee cup of wine. But achievements deserve celebrations. And there are few greater achievements than completing a vintage, and there are no better ways to celebrate than with Champagne.

With everyone planning their next adventure it proved to be a difficult task to arrange this SMASH. Though on the last sunny afternoon in a small town on the South Island of New Zealand this group of grape combatants made it work. After months of exhaustion, it was as if by magic they were all bursting with newfound vigor. Maybe it was the world famous Burleigh pie or the Lanson Black Label that held the secret. Some may say the secret magic was both items combined, and anticipation for the last evening of partying that was to commence after.

As hard as it was to think about this being the last meal together. It may have been one of the best and easiest meals to enjoy. The Somm, with the newest members of Champagne Appétit, The Day Cru, have proved that even in a day in the future and a season ahead…




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