Category Archives: Bollinger Champagne

Vintage Champagne for the New Year

The NY Wine Press Champagne Holiday Luncheon reminds me every year that the New Year is coming. Harriet Lembeck organizes the event and once again Ed Mc Carthy spoke about Champagne, Vintage Champagne. For the first time, the event was held at the Vanderbilt Suites. There were 13 Champagnes in all: img_2174

Domaine Dehours Brut Rose Oeil De Perdrix 2009 Made from 55% Pinot Meunier, 45% Old-Vine Chardonnay, fermented in Duchêne barriques.  A small touch of red wine is added for color and aroma depending on the vintage. There is very light skin contact on the press.  The nuances are totally different than a full maceration and are elegant and floral. The wines are full aged on the lees and clarified by natural decanting without filtration or fining. The dosage is 2%

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Cathleen Burke Visscher with Domaine Dehours

The estate was founded by Ludovic Dehour in 1930, one of the first independent growers. Today Jéröme, Ludovic’s grandson, is the proprietor and winemaker. The estate is comprised of 42 parcels in the villages of Cerseuil, Mareuil-le-Port, Troissy and Oeuilly and Port-à-Binson at the intersection of two valleys, the Marne and the Flagot. The sites are predominantly north facing. The extensive vineyard holdings allow a large array from which to choose and they vinifiy only a strict selection of the highest quality under his own name and sell 30-50% each year.  The three traditional Coquard vertical presses allow them to press each of the individual parcels separately.

The wines are full aged on the lees and clarified by natural decanting without filtration or fining.

While the estate is registered as a négociant-manipulant, no grapes are purchased, and all of the wines are entirely estate-grown. This was served as an aperitif. At $72 Ed said this was a real bargain.

Ed divided the Champagne into three flights to accompany the food.

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Christina Jacobs with Moet- Hennessy

Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2008 made from 40% Chardonnay, 37% Pinot Noir and 23% Meunier. The dosage is 5g/liter. Ed said that every Grand Vintage is unique because it is the Cellar Master’s personal interpretation of revealing the exceptional personality of single vintage years. 2008 was an excellent vintage. They are the biggest producer in Champagne but the wines are of the highest quality. The wine has hints of citrus fruit and mandarin orange with a touch of honeysuckle and brioche. $75img_2180

Piper-Heidsieck Vintage Brut 2006 made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The 17 crus: 9 Grand Crus, 7 Premiers Crus, 8 Pinot Noir, 9 Chardonnays. In 2006 because of the weather the winemaker reduced the proportion of Pinot Noir compared to past years thus reaching parity between Pinot and Chardonnay to moderate the Pinot’s intensity. The wine was aged for 6 years in the cellars. The wine has hints of apricots and black berries with a touch of spice. $75img_2181

Henriot Millesime 2006 made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from 6 Grand Crus: Maily Champagne, Verzy, Verzenay on Montagne de Reims, Mesnil-su-Oger, Avize, Chouilly on Côte des Blancs. The wine has hints of raspberries and strawberries with a touch of hazelnuts and brioche and a long finish. Ed said this house is finally getting the praise it deserves. $85.img_2182

Louis Roederer Et Philippe Starck Brut Natural en 2009 Made from Pinot Noir, Meunier and Chardonnay. The grapes are grown in the Côteaux de Cumères. All the grapes from the various parcels were harvested on the same day. They were pressed together all at once, a technique used in the past. The wine was aged for 5 years in the cellars and left for a minimum of 6 months after disgorging to mature. The wine has hints of peach and hazelnuts with citrus notes.

Emma Criswell with Louis Roederer

Emma Criswell with Louis Roederer

Ed said this represents modern, ripe and ready-to-drink Champagne. The first vintage was in 2006  $85img_2175

Served with Seared Scallop, Roasted Caulflower Crema, and Caviar Vinaigrette.

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Second Flightimg_2183

Perrier-Jouet Belle Epoque Brut 2008 Made from 50% Chardonnay from the grands crus of Cramant and Avize, 45% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and 5% Pinot Meuniers from Dizy. The dosage is 9 g/l and the wine is aged for over 6 years in the cellars.The wine has citrus aromas with hints of orange and lemon peel. On the palate there were white fruit flavors and a touch of almonds. $150img_2184

 Veuve-Clicquot 2008 La Grand Dame Brut 2006 made from 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay. Verzenay/Avize are the two dominant crus in the blend of eight grand crus from Ciicquot’s own 100% rated Grand Cru Vineyards on the Còte des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. It has hints of white peaches, apricots and brioche. It needs two or three years from release in order be at its best. $155img_2185

 Taittinger Comtes De Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2006 100% Chardonnay.  Ed said this is one of the few remaining family owned and operated Champagne houses. The grapes are pressed immediately in presses located in the vineyards. The first pressing, known as the cuvee, is followed by two more pressings known as the first and second “tailles”. Only the juice from the cuvee goes into this wine. Temperature controlled fermentation takes place and about 5% of the wine is matured for a few months in 225 liter new oak casks. Prior to disgorgement the wine is aged for 9 or 10 years. This is their flagship Champagne. Ed described it as being full and rich.  It was toasty with hints of white fruit, good acidity and a long lingering finish.Ed is a big fan of this Champagne house and of this wine. It was one on my favorites. $150

Bethany Burk with

Bethany Burke with Andre Jacquart

Andre Jacquart “Les Mesnil” Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2006 Millesime 100% Chardonnay. 60% from Vertus 1er cru, vinified in stainless steel, 40% Grand Cru Le Mesnil-sur-Olger vinified in older Burgundy oak barrels. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine is on the lees for 5 years before disgorgement. The dosage is 4g/l.. Tom Maresca liked the wine so much at the tasting that he served it to Michele and I for our Christmas dinner and his apartment. https://ubriaco.wordpress.com/  It was an excellent choice.

img_2186 It has flavors and aromas of  citrus fruit with a touch of brioche and almonds.   $75img_2176

Served with House Cured Skuna Bay Salmon, Green Chickpeas, Avocado Puree, Mache.

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Third Flightimg_2187

Pol Roger Brut 2006 Made from 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, the traditional house vintage blend. The grapes come from 20 Grands and Premiers cru vineyards in the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs. The must undergoes two débourbages (settlings, one at the press house immediately after the pressing and the second, a débourbage a froid, in stainless steel tanks at 6°C for 24 hours. A slow cool fermentation takes place under 18°C in stainless steel with each variety and each village kept separate. The wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation prior to the final blending. The wine remains in the cellar until remuage (riddling) by hand, a rarity in Champagne today.

It is aged for 8 years in the cellars before being disgorged and released into the market. This is a full-bodied complex wine with hints of quince and apple with touches of dried fruits, brioche and almonds.$100img_2188

Moet & Chandon Dom Perignon Brut 2006 made from equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The grapes come from five Grand Cru villages and one Premier Cru village. Ed wrote in his book Champagne for Dummies, the wine’s “…trademarks are its exquisite balance, its creaminess, its elegance, its very fine tiny bubbles and its complex flavors.” He was also right on the mark when he said, “With age, Cuvee Dom Perignon develops aromas and flavors of toast, coffee and honey.” $150img_2189

Alfred Gratien Brut Millesime 2000 made from 60% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Meunier and 10% Pinot Noir. They have 1.56 hectares of Grands Crus and Premiers Crus classified vines in the heart of the Côte des Blancs region. They also purchase grapes. Ed said that all operations such as riddling and disgorgment are done by hand. Champagne Krug and Alfred Gratien are the only two Champagne houses that ferment all of their wines in small oak casks, 228-liter barrels. He emphasized the words “old casks” that impart no oak flavors to the wine.

This is an elegant, complex and well-structured wine with hints of gingerbread and hazelnuts and a touch of raisins.  $80  Ed said 2000 is the current vintageimg_2190

Bollinger La Grand Annėe Brut 2005  made from 63% Pinot Noir and 37% Chardonnay. This was one of my top wines. Both Ed and I felt that it would age very well. It is intense, concentrated, rich Champagne with aromas and flavors of toasted brioche.img_2177

Served with Roasted Lamb Chop, Butternut Squash, Maitake Mushrooms, Peruvian Black Mint

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and dessert

Special thanks to Vanderbilt Suites represented by Sharon Colabello, Director of Catering, Eric Basulto, Chef, and Matthew Padvarietis, Restaurant Manager for helping to make it a wonderful event.

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Filed under Alfred Gratien, Andre Jacuqart Champagne, Bollinger Champagne, Dehours Champagne, Dom Perignon, Henriot, Louis Roederer Brut, Moet and Chandon, Perrier-Jouet, Piper-Heidsieck, Pol Roger, Tattinger Champagne, Uncategorized, Veuve Clicquot

The Best of Non-Vintage Brut Champagnes

The Wine Media Guild’s annual tasting and lunch at Felidia Restaurant of non-vintage Brut Champagne was a greatly anticipated event, thanks to the efforts of Ed Mc Carthy. Ed, the author of Champagne for Dummies, organizes and hosts this event, and this year managed to line up 26 Champagnes so that the guests were able to tastethem side-by-side.

Ed Mc Carthy and Michelle D. DeFeo, President Laurent-Perrier

Ed Mc Carthy and Michelle D. DeFeo, President, Laurent-Perrier

Ed did not begin to speak until he had tasted all 26 of the wines at least once. Ed said they are the standard of the house style and must be consistent from year to year. He also said that the Blanc de Blancs are lighter in style and more Champagne Houses are now producing them. Non Vintage Brut Champagnes are a good value for the money and priced between $35 and $60 a bottle.

The Wines:

Ayala Brut Majeur $40 made from 43% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Meunier. Bollinger owns this company. They only use up to 20% of their reserve wine in the NV. Complex and elegant with hints of apple, pear, bread crust and a touch of spice.IMG_9306

Marion-Bosser Premier Cru Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $56 This is one of the few biodynamic houses in Champagne. The winery is on the right bank of the Great Valley of the Marne, against the peaks of the Montagne de Reims. The vineyards are all Premier Cru. The soil is chalk. The wine spends three years on the lees. The dosage is 5g/l. It is an elegant Champagne with hints of apple and good minerality. Ed liked it.

Piper – Heidsieck Brut $38 this is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay. It is a well-structured wine, fruit forward with hints of pear, citrus and grapefruit.

Bruno Paillard Brut Premiere Cuvèe $45 Made from 22% Pinot Meunier, 33% Chardonnay and 45% Pinot Noir. The grapes are a selection from 32 villages vinified separately in stainless steel or in barrel. There is a systematic use of reserve wines from previous vintages from 25% to 48% when needed. The wine comes from the first pressing of the grapes. The wine is aged in bottle on the lees for 3 months. This is almost double the legally required minimum. In all of Bruno Paillard’s Champagne, the dosage is kept very low, 5 to 6 grams of sugar per liter, so as to produce an authentic and pure wine, a true Brut. This is the flagship of the house and must remain true to itself in the good and bad years. One very large tank is used for the assemblage so there will be consistency.  The wine has aromas of citrus fruit, especially lime and grapefruit, that is so typical of Chardonnay. There are also aromas of red fruits like cherry and raspberry, so typical of Pinot Noir. This in one of Ed’s favorites and also mine.IMG_9413

G.H. Munn Cordon Rouge Brut $38 made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The wine has hints of orange peel, almonds and a touch of smoke with a nice long finish.

Lanson Black Label Brut $44 made from 35% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier. It is aged for at least 3 years and the dosage is 8/10g/l. The wine has hints of citrus fruits and a gentle touch of toast.

Perrier-Jouēt Grand Brut $37 Made from 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. It is crisp with hints of citrus fruit and a touch of toast.

 

 

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Christina L. Jacobs, Champagne Specialist, Moet Hennessy USA

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV $68. Chardonnay is the very soul of the winery with grapes coming mainly from the Cote des Blancs, and Montagne de Reims terroirs. This is a Champagne with nice citrus aromas and flavors with hints of apple and apricot.IMG_9296

Henriot Blanc de Blancs NV $55. This is one of Ed’s favorite houses and one he feels does not get the attention it deserves. It is a blend of grapes from the Cote de Blancs and the villages of Mesnil- sur – Oger, Avize, Chouilly and others. The assembly consists of 30% reserve wine, the percentage can change depending on the vintage. This is wine with hints of orange blossom, honey, apricot and a touch of brioche.

A.R. Lenoble Blanc de Blanc Grand Cru NV $55. Ed said this was one of the few independent and family run houses in Champagne and arguably the best value in the tasting. The 18 hectares of vines are all situated on Grand Cru and Premier Cru lands. The cuvee contains 13% of reserve wine aged in oak barrels for 5 to 8 months. The wine spends 4 years on the lees. This is Champagne with hints of apple, pear, lemon and a touch of toast.

Champagne Brut Reserve Billecart-Salmon NV. Made from 40% Pinot Meunier, 30% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. It has tiny bubbles and a fruity delicate freshness.IMG_9294

Champagne Premier Brut NV Louis Roederer is made from 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Meunier from 50 different crus. It is aged for 3 years in the cellar and 6 more months after dègorgement.

Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut Zero Dosage $60 Made from 55% Chardonnay and 45 % Pinot Noir. It is aged for at least 4 years on the lees.

There is less than 3g of residual sugar per liter and no addition of sugar syrup after bottle fermentation. It is crisp with hints of citrus and honeysuckle with nice minerality and acidity. Because it is bone dry, it is an excellent Champagne with food.

Tattinger Brut “La Francaise” $40. This is a blend of 40% Chardonnay and 60% Pinot Noir from 30 different vineyards. It has hints of apple and lemon with a touch of peach and almonds.

Deutz Brut Classic Champagne $45 made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in equal proportions. It has hints of apples and brioche with a touch of pear and lemon.

Duval-Leroy Premier Cru Brut $50 Mostly Chardonnay from premier cru vineyards in the Cote des Blanc in Vertus where the winery is located. It is aged of at least 3 years and has hints of pear, pastry dough and almonds.

Bethany Burke with Andre Jacquart

Bethany Burke with Andre Jacquart

Andrè Jacquart Brut Experience Premier Cru $50 Ed said they only make Blanc de Blancs. The Chardonnay grapes are from Premier Cru Vertus (vinified in stainless steel) and from the Grand Cru village of Mesnil-sur- Oger (Vinified in older Burgundy oak barrels). No malolactic fermentation and the Champagne is aged for 5 years on the lees before disgorgement. It has hints of pear and toasted brioche with nice minerality

Leclerc Briant Les Chevres Pierreuses Premier Cru Brut $60. Made from 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier from the Les Chèves Pierruses vineyards in Cumieres. It has 4.5 g/l sugar. Ed said only 3,000 bottles were made and he really liked it. The Champagne has hints of lemon and lime with a touch of cherry, peach and almonds.

Cathleen Burke Visscher with Pascal Doquet and Lamiable

Cathleen Burke Visscher with Pascal Doquet and Lamiable

Pascal Doquet Les Mesnil Blanc de Blancs Brut Le Mesnil -Sur- Oger $54. The winery is in Vertus near Avize. The vines average around 36 years old, the soil is chalky in the Le Mesnil sur Oger. Harvest is by hand. They farm organically and the yields are 20% to 30% less than appellation standards. Indigenous yeast is used. A minimum of 3 vintages makes up the cuvee. The wine usually goes through malolactic fermentation. An average of 50% of the blend is vinified in small, old oak barrels to oxgenate the wine. It is aged on the lees in bottle for over 8 years. Production is only about 6,000 cases. The wine has hints of yeast, marzipan and apple with a touch of lemon.

J P Lamiable Brut Grand Cru Blanc De Noix $50 made from 100% .They farm 6 hectares where the Montage de Reims, Cōte de Blances and Vallèe all converge. Primary fermentation takes place in stainless and enamel tanks to preserve freshness. Maturation is in enamel tanks for 6 months. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and is aged on the lees for 5 years. It has hints of pear, peach and almond with good acidity and minerality. It is Champagne that can age and goes very well with food.IMG_9292

Charles Heidsieck Brut Reserve $60 Made from 75% Pinot Noir / Pinot Meunier and 25% Chardonnay. This is full-bodied Champagne with hints of brioche and almonds.

Moēt and Chandon Brut Imperial $40 made from 50% Pinot Noir 40% Pinot Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. It is medium dry with black fruit flavors and aromas with a touch of toast.IMG_9295

Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut $45 made from 56% Pinot Noir, 16% Pinot Meunier and 28% Chardonnay. Ed said it is very easy drinking Champagne with dark fruit aromas but improves with a year or two of aging.

Paul Roger Brut White Label $42 Made from equal parts of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay from the first pressing. Each final blend contains a minimum of two vintages with the youngest components being a minimum of three years old. Average dosage is 12 g per liter. This is a complex creamy Champagne with aromas of fruit and toast.IMG_9291

 Gosset Grand Reserve Brut $60 made from 46% Meunier, 38% Pinot Noir and 16% Chardonnay from Grand Cru and Premier grapes. It is a well full-bodied Champagne, complex in aromas and flavors that will age very well. Ed said that this house founded in 1584 is the oldest continuing wine firm in Champagne. The Gosset family no longer owns it but Ed said it is a Champagne house that should be better known.

Bollinger Special Cuvèe Brut $60 made from 60% Pinot Noir 15% Pinot Meunier and 25% Chardonnay. Reserve wines of up to 15 years in age are added to the base wine and it is aged 3 to 4 years before release. This is a dry, full bodied champagne with rich, complex flavors that become more toasty with age.

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Filed under Ayala, Billecart- Salmon, Blanc de Blancs Champagne, Bollinger Champagne, Bruno Paillard, Champagne, Henriot, Lanson, Non- Vintage Brut Champagnes

Welcoming In The New Year!

We have never had a New Year’s Eve Party. The most we ever did was invite another couple over for dinner.  Since 1981 we have been going on and off– mostly on–to a friend’s party where we always have a great time. This year, however, another friend called Michele and invited himself to our house for New Year’s Eve.  We were going to be with him at Bern’s Steak House in Tampa the night before and I guess he figured why not make the party last longer.  Not only was it New Year’s Eve, but it was also his birthday.  Michele could not turn him down so she invited the whole group of friends who would be with us in Tampa to come for dinner.  It turned out to be a perfect New Year’s Eve with great food, wine and dear friends.

Since we were welcoming in the New Year we had four Champagnes.IMG_2595

The Champagne

Delamotte Brut NV Made from 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir and 20% Pinot Meunier. It was light and fresh with citrus aromas and flavors and good acidity. This Champagne works well as an aperitif and was a nice way to begin this festive evening. It is a good value at $35IMG_2615

Bollinger Vieilles Vignes Françaises Blanc de Noirs Recolte Brut 2002 100% Pinot Noir. The grapes come from plots owned by Bollinger that were not attacked by phylloxera in the Grand Crus of Chaudes Temes and Clos St. Jacques in Ay and Croix Rough in Bouzy. These three plots are maintained traditionally following the provignace method (burying a branch which is separated from the parent vine once it has taken root) and worked by hand with the help sometimes of a horse cart. This is a great Champagne – one that gets your attention and you drink very slowly.
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Krug Brut Grande Cuvée Made from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay– the percent depends upon the vintage. They blend about 120 wines from 10 or more different vintages and it is aged for at least 6 years in the cellars. All of their Champagnes are aged in used small oak barrels. They are all prestige cuvees- -made from Grand Cru and Premier Cru villages and are aged longer before release. The overall rating for the vineyards is 98% with Krug’s own vineyards rating 100%. This is the wine we drank at midnight to ring in the New Year.IMG_2599Krug Brut 1988 It is aged 10 years before release.
What can I say about Krug but that it is Krug! IMG_2601

The Red Wine
Burgundy
Corton-Bressandes 1990 Joseph Drouhin 100% Pinot Noir. There are 10,000 to 12,500 plants/h
Harvesting is by hand, sorting in the vineyard and again in the winery if necessary. Maceration and vinification take 2 to 3 weeks with the use of indigenous yeast and temperature controlled fermentation. Pigeage-pumping down of the must during fermentation tales place once a day until one half of the fermentation is complete. Then remontage- pumping over takes place until fermentation is complete. The wine is aged in French oak, mostly Troncay, 20% new barrels between 14 to 18 months. The barrels are weathered for 3 years before they are used. A fining collage is done to clarify the wine after a careful tasting. This could not have been showing better -great Burgundy.IMG_2602

Nuits-Saint- Georges Les Vaucrains (infertile land) 1980 Robert Chevillon The vineyard exposure is East by Northeast and the altitude is 206/280 meters with a grade of 15%. They are old vines, the vineyard is 1.6h and the harvest is by hand. The soil is regularly plowed and the vines are only treated when necessary. Once the grapes have been harvested, destemmed and vatted, they remain in the vat 5 to 6 days during the cold maceration process, fermentation starts naturally. There is a long slow fermentation. Primary fermentation is in stainless steel cuvees and then the wine is racked into the barrel. It is aged in oak barrels of which 20% are new for about 16 months. The wine is bottled by gravity. This was a very interesting wine with nice fruit and a hint of blackberry. This is a producer that I have very little experience with but after tasting this wine I will try to correct this in the New Year.

Hermitage 1990 E. Guigal 100% Syrah old vines. The soil is limestone gravel and sand. At the time Guigal did not own vineyards but purchased wine that had been vinified by growers according to the Guigal method. Robert M. Parker Jr in his book The Wines of the Rhone Valley and Provence states: “Guigal does not fine the wine and will not filter it.”  The wine is aged 3 to 3 1|2 in wooden barrels and large foundres. Parker goes on to say “He (Guigal) is a great believer in long wood aging and is always the last to bottle his Hermitage. On the Guigal 1980 Hermitage Parker says “ Giugal bottled two separate lots of the red Hermitage in 1980. One is good- deep in color, spice and rich in fruit though somewhat short finish. The other lot is more austere, tart, and surprising lean. There is no way of telling the difference between them before pulling the cork”.  Parker’s rating for this wine is a” ?”.
I guess we were lucky because the bottle we drank had good fruit with a hint of spice, long finish, and nice aftertaste and was not showing its age.IMG_2605
Barsac Chateau Suau 2 Cru 1947 – I believe the grapes are 80% Sêmillon, 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Muscadelle. It was still drinking but really showing its age.IMG_2603

Madeira Sercial 1910 Leacock Made from the Sercial grape. Sercial Maderia is the driest of the four classic varieties of Madeira. It is also the lightest and most acidic and delicate expression of Madeira and takes the longest to mature. Maderia Sercial is a white fortified wine made on the volcanic island of Madeira, which belongs to Portugal. I just sat there and drank this wine into the New Year.

We are back on I-Italy|TV:   This Saturday at 11:00 PM repeated Sunday at 1:00 PM.

Michele’s new book  The Mediterranean Slow Cooker comes out this week

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Filed under Barsac Chateau Suau, Bollinger Blanc de Noirs Recolte, Bollinger Champagne, Champagne, Delamotte NV, Drouhin, Guigal, Hermitage, Krug Champagne, Robert Chevillon, Vintage Madeira

Everything is Coming Up Rosé

The only thing Ed Mc Carthy likes better than talking about Champagne is drinking Champagne.  At a tasting he organized for the Wine Media Guild at Felidia Restaurant, he was able to do both. This annual event is the Wine Media Guild’s most popular and it is always overbooked.  Ed assembled 15 Rose Champagnes, 10 NV and 5 Vintage.  Fortunato Nicotra, the chef at Felidia, organized a complementary menu.  The highlight was an enormous salmon that the chef sliced and served in the dining room.  It was a perfect match with the Champagne.
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Ed said that Rosè Champagne is “in” right now even though it is more expensive.  A few years ago some Champagne houses did not make Rosé Champagne and it was only 4% of the total Champagne production.  It is now 8% of total production and has not slumped in the last 10 years.

He said that Rosé is a little more full bodied because of the addition of Pinot Noir and that it goes well with food.  He added that rose champagnes are usually the best Champagnes to have with dinner, even with meat. These are dry wines and should not be drunk with dessert.

Ed loves all types of Champagne but when asked which style was his favorite his answer was Blanc de Blancs because he believes the best chardonnay grapes in the world come from Champagne.  He said the greatest vintages are 1964,1988.1996 and 2002

When asked what were his most memorable champagnes his answer was Krug 1928 and 1975.IMG_2528

Ed explained there are two ways to make Rosè Champagne.  For the traditional method, a small amount, about 10 to 15%, of still or regular Pinot Noir is added to the cuvée before the second fermentation.  The other method involves skin contact (maceration). The skins of black grapes are pressed slightly and left in contact with the juice to soak or steep until the desired color is archived.  This method is more difficult because the same color must be achieved year after year.

Ed and his wife, Mary Ewing-Mulligan, are the authors of the popular Wine for Dummies series and Ed is the author of Champagne for Dummies.

The 10 NV Champagnes:IMG_2460
Bruno Paillard Brut Rosè Premier Cuvèe NV  this Rosé is produced from first pressing only. Pinot Noir about 85% and 15% Chardonnay. The Pinot Noir is pressed rapidly to obtain a clear white wine, which is then blended with the juice of some Pinot Noir vinified as a light red by leaving the skins on the juice. The dosage is very low to produce an authentic brut wine.  Rosé Première Cuvée is in a clear bottle. $70

Ed said it was an extra Brut. The wine was very fruity with strawberry and raspberry flavors and aromas and a hint of citrus. Ed liked this wine better than I did and said it was subtle and delicate and needed more time to develop. Later I tasted it with food and liked it much better. IMG_2462
Ayala Brut Rosè NV Made from 53% Chardonnay and 47% Pinot Noir and 8% of the Pinot Noir is still wine from old vines. It is a blend of premier and grand crus with a 98% rating on the “echelle des crus” scale. There is no dosage. Ed liked this wine because it was very dry and considered it a very good buy at $50. I agree with Ed and it is also a very good food wine. He also said that Bollinger now owns Ayala but the style is completely different. $52IMG_2463

Henriot Brut Rosé NV  $60 The majority of the wine is Pinot Noir the Montagne dr Reims and Chardonnay from the Cotes de Blances and some Pinot Meuniuer, 15 crus are blended together and 25% is reserve wine. Vinified Pinot Noir as a red wine is added to the assemblage. Ed said it was light and elegant but it is not a well known house.IMG_2470

G.H. Mumm Brut Rosè NV $70 A selection 12% to 14% of red wines from the villages famed for their Pinot Noir such as Bouzy, Verzenay or Riceys on the Cote des Bar.  Once the balance is achieved by the addition of reserve wines, the final blend is determined by the addition of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with the addition of Pinot Meunier. Ed said he was very impressed by this wine.IMG_2478

Laurent-Perrier Cuvèe Brut Rosé NV 100% Pinot Noir It is a blend of ten different crus (villages) situated mainly in the south and north areas of the Montagne de Reims, including Cote Bouze, from the finest crus of Ambonnay, Bouzy, Louvis and Tours Sur-Maine. The grapes are sorted and destemmed before going in the vats. Controlled maceration lasts from 48 to 72 hours depending on the vintage. It is aged in the cellars for at least 4 years before release. The first vintage was 1968.

Ed said they use the skin contact method and that they specialize in Rosé Champagne. Subtle and fresh with nice red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of strawberries, raspberries and cherry. $75 IMG_2464

Taittinger Brut Prestige Rosè NV The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir come from the Montagne and Les Ricyes.  Most of the grapes are pressed in vineyard press houses. In the winery the must undergoes cool temperature fermentation. 85% of the blend is vinified as white wine and the remainder as red. A small portion of still Pinot Noir from Ambonnay, Bouzy and Riceys is added. The final cuvee is blended from an extensive range of at least 15 diverse crus. After the second fermentation in the bottle, the wine spends three years on the lees also in the bottle. It is a crisp; complex full bodied fruity wine with hints of strawberry, raspberry and cherry. Ed said he was very impressed with this wine and so was I. It is a good buy at $60

Alfred Gratien Brut Rosè NV  made from 45% Chardonnay 40% Pinot Meunier  and 15% Pinot Noir added as a still wine. After 6 months of cellaring in 228 liter oak casks, the must is transformed into wine. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The cuvee is bottled with sugar and yeast to allow for a secondary fermentation in the bottle and it remains in the cellar for 36 months. Then the disgorging takes place where the lees and sediment are removed from the bottle. The bottle is then topped up again with more wine and some sugar and left to rest for a few more months in the cellar.  It has good red fruit with hints of raspberry and I enjoyed it with lunch.   $70 IMG_2477
Gosset Brut Rosé NV 58% Chardonnay 35% Pinot Noir and 7% red wine from Ambonnay and Bouzy. The grapes come from Grand Cru and Premier Cru vineyards.  It is a blend of 3 different harvests, including 10% reserve wine. The wine spends an average of four years resting on the lees before release.  $75IMG_2466
Charles Heidsieck Brut Rosé Reserve NV made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.  They purchase grapes from about 120 of the 323 crus which make up the Champagne appelation each year to blend their Champagne. The wine is aged for a minimum of three years. They have only been making Rosé for a few years.    $65IMG_2465Bollinger Brut Rosè NV 62% Pinot Noir, 24% Chardonnay, 4% Pinot Meunier. There is an addition of 5% red wine and 85% of the grapes come from Grand Cru and Premiers Cru vineyards. The wine is aged for more than twice the time required by the appellation.  This wine had more body, Ed said, because of the percentage of Pinot Noir. It has aromas and flavors and strawberries, raspberries, cherries and a hint of sweet spice. I like their slogan “Fresh as a Rose, Balanced as a Bollinger”. $85

Here are three books on wine that I recommend as gifts this Holiday Season: How to Love Wine: A Memoir and Manifesto-Eric Asimov

Wine for Dummies-5th Edition -Ed Mc Carthy and Mary Ewing- Mulligan

The New York Times Book of Wine: More than 30 Years of Vintage Writing- Howard G. Goldberg

 

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Filed under Bollinger Champagne, Champagne, Rose Champagne