Category Archives: Champagne

Champagne and Pizza at La Pizza Fresca

Every month a group of Champagne and Italian wine lover’s meet, usually at La Pizza Fresca.
The group is called the G6. The organizer for the events is Ed “Champagne” Mc Carthy, author of “Champagne for Dummies.” Only 3 members of the G6 attended the last get together: Mary Ewing Mulligan, MW, Ed Mc Carthy, and me. Ed invited three guests, David E. Cohen, US Brand Ambassador for Dom Perignon, Nicole Burke, US Brand Ambassador for Krug, and Lacey Burke, US Brand Ambassador for Dom Ruinart. There were 4 Champagnes and two Italian reds but the Champagnes really stole the spotlight.

Champagne Blanc Blancs Extra Brut NV Valentin Le Feflaive created in 2015 by Olivier Feflaive from Burgundy and Erick de Sousa from Champagne. Made of 100% Chardonnay from the Cotes des Blancs. Harvest is by hand and the soil is chalk. The wine is vinified in used Burgundy barrels. This was the first time I have had this Champagne and I was very impressed. It has fresh citrus aromas and flavors, with a touch of brioche.

Moet & Chandon Champagne Dom Pérignon Plenitude Deuxieme P2 1998 made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir.
This Champagne spent 16 years in the cellars. After 7 years the P2 Bottles are turned upside down, sur pointe, to slow down the oxidation process. The wine is regularly tasted by the Dom Pérignon oenologist to determine the perfect time for release. Each bottle is disgorged by hand prior to release.
This is elegant, intense and complex Champagne with notes of honey, orange fruit, ginger and a touch of almond. It was not showing any signs of age and would be the perfect with caviar.

Champagne Krug Brut 1995 made from 48% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 17% Pinot. All of the wine is fermented in small oak barrels. Ed Mc Carthy in Champagne for Dummies wrote, “Krug Champagnes, which really resemble mature, full bodied white Burgundies in their structure, should be enjoyed with food, preferably with dinner. They are just too full and flavorful to sip as an aperitifs.” This is a very complex full-bodied Champagne with aromas of baked gingerbread, candied fruits, ripe melon and a hints of almonds and honey on the palate. It has a remarkable finish and an aftertaste that goes on and on.

Moët & Chandon Champagne Dom Ruinart Rosé 2004 The blend was made by using 81% Grand Cru Chardonnay, 69% of which comes from the Cötes des Blancs (Avize, Cramant, Le Mesnil-sur-Oger) and 31% from the Montagne de Rheims (Puisieulx, Sillery), with the addition of 19% Pinot Noir made into red wine, coming only from the Sillery cru. Manual harvest. Alcholic fermentation takes place in temperature controlled stainless steel vats (18 to 20C). Malolactic fermentation takes place. Dosage 4.5g/l
Ruinart was founded in 1729 in Rheims making it the oldest Champagne House.
This is an elegant rosé with a light pink color. It is slightly aromatic with hints of raspberry, currants, strawberry and a note of red roses. It is a rosé that goes with many different foods.

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Filed under Champagne, Champagne Valentin Leflaive, Dom Perignon, DP 1998 P2, Krug Champagne, Uncategorized

Three Pre- Birthday Celebrations with Wine and Food

The first celebration took place at the Oriental Gardens restaurant in New York Cities China Town

Soft Shell Crabs and they were fantastic!

We started with the Champagne Krug 1990  from the Krug Collection.

Then a fried sole with scallions.

Chablis Grand Cru just great

Puligny- Montrachet needs more time

1979 Chinon excellent

There was more food and wine but I got caught up in the eating and drinking.

 

Next on to La Pizza Fresca

We started with Krug NV

Then Chianti Classico 1971 Riserva Ducale from Ruffino

Pizza Margarita

Chateaueuf-du-Papes 1990 right on the money

Amarone 1967 Bertani

Pizza with Prosciutto

A young man waiting for his pizza

 

Next was Gastronomia Siciliana Norma

Buratta with arugula

Spaghetti with sea urchin (ricci di Mare) was fantastic

Chianti Classico 1996

Pizza with porchetta

Barolo 1989 – barolo at its best 1989 was a great vintage!

 

 

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Filed under Amarone, Barolo, Benanti, Chablis, Champagne, Chateaneuf du Pape, Chianti Classico, Krug, Krug Champagne, La Pizza Fresca, Olga Chinon, Pizza, Pizza and Wine, Principe Corsini, Uncategorized

Champagne made from 100% Pinot Meunier

Champagne made from 100% red grapes, especially Pinot Meunier, has always been my favorite, though they have always seemed difficult to find. I was delighted when I was invited to a tasting of Champagnes that included several made from the Meunier grape.

The invitation said: “An association of 9 Champagne producers has joined together not to create a specific blend in common but to underline the value of Pinot Meunier, an under-appreciated grape, by clearly articling its sensory and flavor profile and linking its authenticity to the Marne Valley.”

I do not know of any of the big Champagne Houses that makes 100% Pinot Meuner


 Eight of the producers were present at the tasting.

At the tasting all the wines contained Pinot Meunier.  Some were 100% Pinot Meunier, others a blend of Meunier and Pinot Noir, and some a blend of Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  I decided to concentrate on the wines made from 100% Pinot Meunier.  Meunier is named for the downy white underside of its leaves that seem to have been sprinkled with flour. Meunier means “miller” in French, and is a term used for some things that involve flour, an example is the classic “Sole Meunier.”

The Pinot Meunier vine has medium sized roundish shaped leaves with five lobes (five parts of the leaf), and a lyre-shaped petiolar sinu (lower part of the stem).  The berries tend to be smaller than Pinot Noir (8 to 12 millimeters and grow in relatively small, tight bunches).  Meunier does well in poor, limestone-laden soils, but does best in the richer, clay-heavy soils of the Marne Valley.  It is the second most planted grape (32%) in the Champagne Region. Pinot Noir is first.

The Champagnes listed below are all made from 100% Meunier.

Champagne André Hecq Gault Millau Extra Brut 100% Meunier (Blanc de Noirs) from reserve wine: 40% 2009 and 60% 2010.  Dosage 4g/l. Fermentation is in stainless steel. Malolactic fermentation takes place. The wine remains on the lees for four years. This is Champagne with good structure, minerality and hints of apple and pear.

Rosé De Saignée 2012 100% Meunier. Vinification  saignée maceration (bleeding).  I believe this is the only winery that makes a Rosè using this method.  Grapes from a single parcel L’Etau 50 year old vines. Malolactic fermentation takes place. This is Champagne with hints of red fruit, raspberries and strawberries.

Champagne Eric Taillet “Bansionnensi Extra Brut 100% Pinot Meunier-Blanc de Meunier. Grapes are from the Marne Valley, Binsonnois lot and the average age of the vines is 25 years. The soil is clay and limestone. Sustainable viniculture, with grass growing between the rows, no chemical weed killer is used. Application on foliage is of pure algae and certified organic oligo elements.

Traditional Dollat type wood press is used. There is an extraction and fractioning of press juices and natural must settling. Thermoregulation fermentation is at 65F. Malolactic fermentation does not take place. The wine matures on the fine lees. The wine is aged for 36 months. Dosage 4g/l, 2004 vintage base wine and cane sugar.

Champagne Serveaux Fils 100% Pinot Meunier, 50% from 2013 and from 2014 50% Grapes for the Cuvée Meunier d’ Antan from Passy sur Marne and Barzy sur Marne. Average age of the vines is 40 years. The soil is limestone. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks and the reserve wines are aged in barrel for 7 months.  Malolactic fermentation does not take place. Dosage 0g/l (Brut Natural) The wine is aged for 30 months.

Champagne Roger Barnier-Cuvée Meunier composed of 100% Meunier from the 2012 harvest. It is a blend of 5 old plots- 1910 to 1956.  Hand harvested, grapes are pressed in small batches and vinification is by plots. Only the first press is used, “The Cuvêe.” Blended and matured in oak casks and bottled in March of 2010 with corks. Second fermentation is done at a low temperature.  This is a well structured, complex and elegant champagne with full fruit aromas and flavors.

Météyer Pere & Fils Exclusif (Blanc De Meunier) 100% Pinot Meunier from the vineyards Tré sur Marne- Vallé de la Marne. Age of the vines is 65 years and the soil is clay and limestone. Harvest is by hand with sorting on the vine. Automatic press is used. Vinification is classic and traditional and malolactic fermentation does not take place. There is a minimum aging of eight years on wooden laths.  It is a Brut Natural- Dosage Zero.  It is fruity, complex, full bodied and intense with hints of citrus fruit, honey and almonds.

 

Champagne Demiére Egreg’Or “Brut 100% Meunier. Fleury La Riviére, subsoil chalky sand with different levels of shells.  Harvest 2010 by hand with a selection of the best grapes. Traditional vertical press: Coquard. Téte de Cuvée. Malolactic fermentation does not take place.   Dosage 9g/l with the addition of their homemade liqueur.  This is champagne with fine bubbles, a delicate form and a complex bouquet with hints of apricots, peaches and a touch of honey.

Solera 23 100% Fleury la Riviére and Damery. The soil is clay limestone with deep marl and the average age of the vineyards is 35 years. It is a Cuvée. Traditional wine making, without malolactic fermentation taking place in order to preserve the grape’s natural acids.  Solera Method which has been implemented over the last 20 years, is usually used as a blend base. Dosage 7g/l.  This is a full-bodied champagne with hints of ripe pears and figs with a touch of toasted almonds.

Champagne Moutardier Cuvée Pure MeunierBrut Natural NV made from 100% Pinot Meunier.  It has hints of green apple, peach and pineapple with a touch of almond.

Champagne Roger-Constant Lemaire Select Réserve Blanc de Noirs, 100% Pinot Meunier from the Marne Valley. The soil is a mixture of limestone and clay and the age of the vines is 35 years. The grapes are harvested by hand with a strict selection of the grapes. Treated with Norwegian kelp within the context of environmentally responsible wine production.  There is a long fermentation at 16C in temperature controlled stainless tanks. Only the juice from the first pressing is used. A late racking takes place in February. Malolactic fermentation does not take place and there is no filtration or fining. The wine is aged for four years.Dosage Brut- Extra Brut(4 to 8g/l) Dosage liqueur is 100% estate produced using pure cane sugar, aged in oak barrels.

In my experience,  Champagne  made from 100% Meunier can go with a wider ranger of food then those made from blends.

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Champagne, Old Wine, and Lamb for Easter

With temperatures expected to be in the 80’s on Easter Sunday, we invited friends to come for lunch at 2:00 PM so we could sit on the terrace and enjoy our Champagne and appetizers al fresco. It was windy but we managed by holding on to the Champagne glasses. Just as we finished, it started to rain so we had to go inside to enjoy the rest of the meal. 

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1993 Millesime Rose is made from 100% Grand Cru grapes and produced only in exceptional years. The Chardonnay grapes come from the most renowned vineyards of the prestigious Côte des Blancs, and the Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims. Only juice from the first pressing is used in order to ensure the structure and long aging potential that is essential to this exceptional Champagne. 12% of the Pinot Noir is blended in as still red wine. It was showing its age but still with some red fruit and brioche in the finish and aftertaste. It was very drinkable.

Bourgogne Aligoté 2005 Domaine Bachelet 100% Chardonnay This is an elegant wine with citrus fruit aromas and flavors, livery and fresh with nice minerality and showing no signs of age.

Mazoyères-Chambertin 1945 100% Pinot Noir  Chanut Frères. It was drinking very well for a wine this old.

With this wine we had risotto with porcini mushrooms and sausage

Gevrey-Chambertin “En Pallud” Domaine Maume 100% Pinot Noir. The vines are 70 years old and the soil is clay and limestone. There is separate vinification of individual parcels. Clusters are 100% destemmed. The wine is aged for 18 to 20 months in mostly older barrels and is bottled without fining or filtration. This is classic Burgundy at its best.

With it we ate lamb chops in a crisp breadcrumb and Parmesan crust with sauteed green beans and carrots.

Còte-Ròtie “Còtes Brune et Blonde” 1981 E. Guigal 96% Syrah and 4% Viognier. The average age of the vines is 35 years. Fermentation in closed stainless steel tanks, temperature controlled for about 3 weeks with automatic punching down. The wine is aged for 36 months, 50% in new oak. This is for the more current vintages. I do not know how they made it back in 1981! This is a wine with hints of raspberry and blackberry with a touch of spice. It is a complex wine with a lot of red and dark fruit aromas that are striking for a wine this old–the fruit still comes right at you.

We had this with two cheeses: Parmigiano Reggiano and Fontina Val D’Aosta.

For dessert, Michele made a flourless chocolate cake topped with whipped cream and raspberries.

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A Dinner Party in Rome

Daniele Cernilli, aka “Doctor Wine,” and his wife,  Marina Thompson invited us to dinner at their lovely apartment in one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in Rome.

There were 3 other guests, including a professor from John Cabot University in Rome.

Daniele greeted us with glasses of Champagne Clos des Goisses Brut 2002 made from 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay. The grapes are grown on a pure chalk hillside with a 45 degree slope facing due south in Mareuil- sur-Ay. Goisse, in the old Champagne dialect, means steep slope. It has a very low dosage. Vinification is mainly in wooden casks and malolactic fermentation does not take place. This is a full-bodied wine with hints of pears and apricots, floral notes, a touch of toast and an exceptional long finish. Daniele said 2002 was a great vintage in Champagne.

With the Champagne we had caviar. You can’t go wrong with Champagne and caviar, and Marina enhanced the combination by serving it with burrata, a tender, fresh cheese from Puglia. Slightly firm like mozzarella on the outside, it is sweet and creamy within. Though it might seem like a strange combination, not only did it work, it was wonderful.

Daniele also served another wine with the caviar and burrata that he believed was a better combination than with the champagne. Pinot Bianco Colli Orientali del Friuli “Zuc di Volpe 2008 Volpe Pasini made from 100% Pinot Bianco from the Togliano “Zuc” Vineyard. Fermentation is in stainless steel and the wine spends some time in bottle before release. This is a full-bodied white wine with hints of white peaches, citrus and almonds. It was showing very little sign of age.

Though I liked the Pinot Bianco, I preferred the combination of the Champagne with the caviar and burrata.

Grignolino of the Monferrato Casalese “ Bricco del BoscoVigne Vecchie2011 Giulio Accornero & Figli made from 100% Grignolino from the Bricco del Bosco vineyard. Maceration is on the skins for 20 days. The wine is aged for 30 months in oak barrels (tonneau) and 24 months in bottle before release.

Daniele Cernilli

Every other Grignolino I have tasted was meant to be drunk young. By the time this one is released all the others would be too old to drink. Here is how Daniele describes this wine in his book The Ultimate Guide to Italian Wine 2017  Intense and lively red. One of the best versions of the last years. Complex smokey and spicy notes, raspberries, pomegranate and rhubarb. Strong, intense, warm, enveloping flavor with tannic hints and extraordinary persistence.” We discussed this wine for some time.

With this wine we had pasta prepared by Daniele. He told Michele that the recipe had been given to him by the late Paola di Mauro, a great winemaker and legendary cook. Daniele roasted sweet cherry tomatoes with olive oil, capers and breadcrumbs then tossed them mezze maniche, a short wide tubular pasta, before serving. It’s a great way to make the most of out of season fresh tomatoes.

Brunello di Montalcino 1995 100% Sangiovese Donatella Cinelli Colombini. I looked at the label and told Daniele that I have the 1995 at home but the label is different. He said this was a special bottling made in honor of a wedding that took place in 1995. I am not sure how this wine was made or aged and I know they have changed their production methods over the years. This wine is a classic Brunello.

We had the Brunello with braised veal.

Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 2005 Rocco di Montegrossi made from 95% Malvasia Bianco di Toscana and 5% Canaiolo Nero. The soil is calcareous loamy. The harvest is the first week of October. During the drying phase the bunches of grapes are hung one by one on nets in a well– ventilated area under the rafters. All of the nets are hung from rails and are affected by noble rot–botrytis. The rails allow the nets to be shifted so that deteriorated grapes can be removed. Pressing takes place in January. The must goes into small casks of 50 and 100 liters of cherry, oak and mulberry wood. The wine ferments and ages for 6 to 7 years, only indigenous yeast is used. This is a complex intense velvety dessert wine with hints of apricot, dried fig, toasted almond and caramel.The grapes are pressed between the 13 and 20th of December. Only organic farming methods are used and there is no filtering or fining. The wine spends 6 years and 4 months in small barrels called caratelli made of cherry, mulberry and oak wood, then one year in bottle before release.

With the Vin Santo we had cheese then finished with coffee and artisan chocolates.

 

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Filed under Accornero Winery, Brunello, Champagne, Clos des Goisses, Clos des Goisses Brut, Daniele Cernilli Doctor Wine, Donatella Cinelli Colombibi, Grignolino, Pinot Bianco, Rocca di Montegrossi, Vin Santo, Volpe Pasini winery

Nine Affordable Sparking Wines for the New Year

Everyone can celebrate a sparkling New Year with one of these great choices priced between $16 and $36.

My choices range from Brut to dessert sparklers, plus one over-the-top Champagne.img_1133-rustico

Prosecco “Rustico” Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG Nino Franco. 100% Glera (traditionally called Prosecco) from classic production area hillside vineyards situated at medium to high altitude. Pressing, destemming, cooling of the must and fermentation takes place in steel tanks at controlled temperature. Second fermentation is in “cuvee close” (Charmat method). $18

Chevalier de Grenele, Saumur MousseuxNV in magnum. Caves Louis de Grenelle.  Made from Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc with 9 months aging on the lees.grenelle

Under the streets of the Loire Valley town of Saumur, miles and miles of chalk caves meander. Carved centuries ago, many were dug with prison labor under the direction of the king of France. There are so many streets underground that they actually outnumber the streets above ground. Two and a half kilometers of underground caves belong to the Cave of Louis de Grenelle, the last remaining family-owned property of the major Saumur sparkling producers. All of the bottles produced by the cave are stocked here, under the city, and left to age for several years. Louis de Grenelle has been producing wines in this location since 1859. It has hints of hazelnuts, mint and a touch of licorice. At $40 for the magnum, it is a great buy.img_8540-lars

Cuvee Aurora Rose Alta Lange 2012 DOC 100% Pinot Noir Banfi, Piemonte. The grapes are grown in the hilltop vineyards of the Alta Langa, south of Alba in Piemonte, in a mix of clay and calcareous soil. There is one hour of skin contact and cold maceration, which prepares the grapes for soft crushing. The must is clarified and fermentation is at a controlled temperature. The final cuvee consists of 90% clear wine and 10% of the previous vintage wine. The wine is aged in French oak barriques. Fermentation takes place in the bottle (Classic Method). Yeast contact is extended for at least 24 months followed by a traditional hand riddling (remuage) on pupitres and degorgement a la glace. A period of brief aging follows. The wine is pink in color, with small bubbles and hints of strawberry and apple.

Ferrari Perlé 200 Trento DOC Method Classico Vintage Blanc de Blancs 100% Chardonnay. The grapes are harvested by hand in the middle of September from a hillside owned by the Lunelli family, owners of Ferrari, around the Trento vineyards. The vineyards are 300 to 700 meters above sea level with a southeasterly or southwesterly exposure. The wine remains for about 5 years on the lees. It is a crisp dry wine with hints of apple, almonds and a touch of toast. $36img_6018-lambruscao

Lambrusco di Modena Spumante Brute Metodo Classico DOC 100% Lambrusco di Sorbara- Cantina Della Volta (Emilia Romagna). This red wine is obtained by a selection of the best Sorbara grapes entirely gathered in small cases (max. 37 lbs.) by manual harvesting. The grapes are carefully handled in order to prevent them from being crushed during transportation to the winery. The clarification of the must is followed by fermentation at controlled temperature in stainless steel tanks. After resting for at least 6 months the wine receives selected yeasts prior of being bottled. The bottles are then stored horizontally in piles for the re-fermentation process in a constant ambient temperature of 53°F. The last steps are the remuage, disgorgement and the addition of liqueur d ’expedition. This is a dark red wine with wild strawberry aromas and flavors and hints of other red fruits and berries. $29img_2652-grangano

Cantina Federiciane Montelone di Napoli Gragnano DOC Sorrento Peninsula 2010, made from Piedirossa and Sciascinoso. Fermentation with selected yeast takes place in temperature controlled autoclaves.  This is a fizzy red wine that when poured has a lot of foam that quickly disappears in the glass. It is fruity with red fruit aromas and flavors, hints of raspberries and strawberries, and easy to drink. In Naples they often drink sparkling beverages with pizza and Gragnano goes very well with pizza margarita. $16

The next 3 are from Piedmont and all have a certain degree of sweetness.

Fontanafredda Asti Spumante DOCG is made from the Moscato Bianco grape, also known as Moscato Canelli.  It is a sparkling wine produced by using the Charmat method. It is low in alcohol, about 7%, and has aromas and flavors of peach, honey and tropical fruits. It should be drunk young because the wine is at its best when it is fresh. $1602_vietti_moscato_dasti

Vietti Moscato D’Asti “Cascinetta” DOCG 2014 is made from the same grape as Asti and has many of the same flavors and aromas. It is also low in alcohol around 6%. The difference is that this wine is only slightly sparkling (frizzante) and it is vintage dated while Asti is not. It should be drunk as close to the vintage date as possible. The two wines share the same DOCG $16

Banfi Vigna Regali “Rosa Regale” Spumante Brachetto d’Acqui DOCG 2014 is a sweet wine and it is most famous as a red sparkling wine. Made by the Charmat method. It is made from the Brachetto grape. It has intense berry flavors and aromas, especially strawberry, and goes very well with chocolate and all kinds of chocolate desserts. $20

I have written 3 articles this month on Champagne:

https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2016/12/26/vintage-champagne-for-the-new-year/

https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2016/12/15/champagne-ed-mc-carthy-on-vintage-blanc-de-blancs-champagnes/

https://charlesscicolone.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/blanc-de-blancs-champagne-with-champagne-ed-mc-carthy/

but I just have to mention one more, Dom Perignon Rosè.

At the Wine Media Guild Champagne tasting and lunch the topic was Blanc de Blancs Champagne. Toward the end of the lunch Christina Jacobs asked me if I wanted to taste another Champagne, it was Dom Perignon Rose 2004. Made from 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay more or less. She only had one bottle.img_2014

It may be the best Rosè Champagne that I have ever tasted. This is powerful, complex and elegant Champagne. There are hints of raspberry, cranberry, apricot, spice and so much more. It has a very long finish and an aftertaste the just goes on and on. Christian is the Champagne specialist for Moet-Hennessy, producers of Dom Perignon. It is expensive around $345 but worth the money if you are so inclined.

Happy New Year!

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Filed under Champagne, Dom Perignon, Sparkling wine, Uncategorized

Champagne Ed Mc Carthy on Vintage Blanc de Blancs Champagnes

Ed McCarthy then spoke about Vintage Blanc de Blancs. They are made from the best  grapes from the choicest vineyards. The aromas  and flavors are more concentrated and  are more full bodied.

Ed

Ed McCarthy and friend at the WMG Champagne Tasting and Lunch.

They are aged longer which adds more complexity and the grapes are from one vintage which is always an above average year or an excellent one. He said that for him vintage Champagne was the better buy conceding the quality but added not every occasion calls for vintage Champagne. He likes vintage Champagne with dinner and non vintage Champagne as an apéritifs.

Vintage Blanc de Blancs

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Champagne Ayala 2008 Grapes are from 5 villages on the Cote des Blancs: Oger, Avize, Cramant. Vertus and Cuis. The wine rests in the cellars for 6 years after disgorgement, in order to develop complexity, intensity and roundness on the palate. It has hints of grapefruit, pastry dough and a hint of spice. Ed likes this house a lot but did not think the bottle he tasted was drinking that well. $85img_1993

Philippe Gonet, Belemnita, Grand Cru, 2005 this is the flagship cuvee of the house.  Single site in Le Mesnil sur Oger, planted in 1929.  9 years on the lees, 3 grams dosage, only 300 cases produced. Very complex wine with honey and truffle notes and secondary aromas.   Belemnita is the name of this cuvee which is their top as DP is to Moet or Comtes is to Taittinger. This champagne has an extra-brut dosage and is only made in exceptional years. It has tiny bubbles with hints of dried fruits, honey, grapefruit and a touch of hazelnuts and cashews $300

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Domaine Dehours, Brisefer, lieu-dit, 2005, 1.3 ha site specific plot in Mareuil le Port in the Marne normally planted to Meunier. This site was planted to chardonnay. Aged on the lees for 7 years. 3 grams dosage. Neutral barrel fermented. This is a wine with citrus flavors and aromas, with hints a grapefruit and apple and a touch of vanilla.  $95. 

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Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Nature 2009 The wine matures on the lees for five years and left for a minimum of 6 months after dégorgment to attain maturity. Ed said there is no dosage and no malolatic fermentation. The wine has floral notes and hints of white fruit, almonds and mint. $85img_1999

Champagne A. R. Lenoble 2008 Chardonnay from the Grand Cru village of Chouilly. The dosage is 4g/l. Only 10% of the wine is vinified in wood and there is a very light dosage. The wine has hints of pear, apple and a touch of lemon. $64img_2001

Champagne Bruno Paillard 2006 Chardonnay grapes from the Còte des Blancs, all with a 100% classification. The fermentation method they use was established generations ago for Champagne “Demi Mousse”. When the still wine is decanted for the second fermentation in the bottle, less sugar and yeast is added than for traditional Champagne. This results in a less powerful bottle fermentation, producing a pressure of 4.5 kg instead of the normal 5 or 6. The dosage is 5 grams residual sugar. Ed said this is perfect for Blanc de Blancs because it enhances the finesse of the Chardonnay and adds freshness and elegance. This is a complex, elegant Champagne with an array of aromas and flavors with hints of citrus, white fruit, a touch of brioche, toasted almonds and good minerality. It has a long finish and very pleasant aftertaste. $90img_2003

Champagne Pol Roger 2008 made from grapes from the Grand Crus of the Cõte des Blancs: Oiry, Chouillu, Cramant, Avize and Oger. There are two débourbages (settlings) one at the press house immediately after pressing , the second “a froid” in stainless steel tanks at 6C for 24 hours. A slow fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks with each variety and each village kept separate. There is full malolactic fermentation prior to the final blending. The secondary fermentation takes place in bottle at 9C in cellars 33 meters below street level. It remains here until it undergoes remuage (riddling) by hand a rarity in Champagne today. The wine has hints of grapefruit, apricot and a touch of apple. Produced in limited quantities, this cuvee has been aged for 7 years in the cellars before release. $115. This Champagne was showing very well. img_2004

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2006 Ed said this is one of the few remaining family owned and operated Champagne houses. They age their wines for a long period before release. It is located in Reims, France. This is a complex Champagne with hints of citrus fruit, lime blossom and a touch of grapefruit. Ed is a big fan of this Champagne house and of this wine. It was one on my favorites. $130img_2006

Champagne Perrier Jouët Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs 2002. This was by far the most expensive Champagne at the tasting. The grapes come from the best vineyards and Ed had mixed emotions as to whether it was worth the money. He added it may be one of the best Blanc de Blancs made but it needed more time especially in an exceptional vintage like 2002. There was some controversy about this wine, Ed really liked it but I felt the bottle I tasted was off. $325img_2007

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Blanc de Millénaires 1995 Chardonnay from the Cotes des Blanc, 4 Grand Cru and 1 Premier Cru. The wine remains in the cellar for 15 years before release. Ed said that they were one of the few houses in Reims that have a magnificent, 2,000 year old Gallo-Roman cellar to age their wines. This is complex Champagne with aromas and flavors of dried and candied fruits, dates, and notes of hazelnuts and almonds.  $195

 

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