Category Archives: Champagne

BBQ on a Summer Afternoon

I have never been good cooking on a bbq grill, but I do enjoy eating foods that have been grilled for me.  So I was  delighted  when friends  offered  to  prepare  a  bbq grilled  lunch.  What’s more, all of the meats and produce they would be cooking were sourced from local New Jersey farms.  Short of growing it myself, it would be hard to get anything fresher.

Suenen Champagne Oiry Blancs De Blancs Grand Cru Extra Brut made from 100% Chardonnay from the Grand Cru village of Cramant. The soil is chalk. The vins clairs (clear wines) are fermented partially in barrel and spend 9 months on the lees. The dosage is 2g/L. This is a delicate dry wine with floral aromatics, hints of green apple, a note of yellow plums and a touch of lemon with high acidity.

At the grill

Fresh zucchini on the grill

Corn on the grill

Shucking the corn

Super sweet corn grilled in the husk then shucked

Chorey-Les- Beaune 2016 “Les Beaumonts” Domaine Michel Mallard made from 100% Pinot Noir. The cuvee is produced at Les Beaumonts which faces southwest. The soil is heavy with a clayey limestone texture, with moderate stone content and good drainage. The vines are 50 and 55 years old. The grapes are sorted in the winery. Destemmed grapes and whole clusters are stacked in stainless steel vats or wooden casks. After about a week of maceration, fermentation begins. First the punching of the cap to gently extract liquids and later pumping over to adjust the tannin structure of the wine. The wine is then drawn off and some of the pressed grapes are added to the juice. The juice is then placed in French oak barrels. The wine is aged in 228 Burgundian oak turns 30% new from the forests of Allier and Vosges for 12 months. The wine has hints of cherry, raspberry, and blackberry. It was drinking well now but can last for many years.

Hot and sweet pork sausage, and herb marinated chicken on the grill

On the plate

Côtep Rotie 2001 Domaine Jamet made from 100% Syrah from 20 different parcels. Soil consists of various types of schist. Whole bunches are fermented and maceration lasts for about 3 weeks. The wine is aged for 22 months in barrels 15% are new. This is a wine that can age for 25 years. It is a medium bodied wine with hints of red fruit, black olive, kirsch, black pepper a touch of smoke, and a note of camphor. I was very impressed with this wine.

The burgers

Ready to eat

Sweet Cherry Tomato Salad with Basil and Pine Nuts


Dinner is served.  All  of  the  meats  were  from  River  Bend  Farm  in  Far  Hills,  NJ.

The meats were succulent and the vegetables fresh and sweet.

Gigondas 2016 “Confidentiel” La Domaine MonTiriua made from 80% Grenache and 20% Mourvedre from 10 hectares of 3 different parcels. Average age of vines is 75/85 years. The soil is Garrigues (plain soil) blue clayey sand and sandstone marl and yellow sand and sandstone. Pruning method is goblet or royat and cordon pruning with a maximum of 6 spurs and 2 buds. Harvest is manual. Traditional winemaking takes place, total destemming, light crushing, natural indigenous grape yeast. The wine is aged in cement vats for two winters then in bottle (no oak).  This is a big bold wine with hints of black fruit, violets and a touch of licorice. It is an impressive wine but needs another 5 years before it will be ready to drink.

We finished the wine with four excellent New Jersey cheeses  from  Valley  Shepherd Creamery.  There  was  a Crotin Goat, Smokey  Shepherd, Crema  di Blu and Valley Thunder.

It was quite a feast, but a slice of a lightly spiced and not too sweet zucchini bread was a welcome finale.

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Filed under Burgundy, Champagne, Cote-Rotie -Jamet, Gigondas, Uncategorized

Almost Provence

An old friend was about to celebrate an important birthday.  In years past, we have spent time together in Provence but since this year that is not possible Michele and I decided to create a Provencal menu at home.


We began with a thin slices of duck sausage, olives and breadsticks to accompany a Champagne toast.

Deutz Champagne “Amour de Deutz” Rosè 2008 Made from 64% Pinot Noir from Aÿ and Bouzy and 36% Chardonnay from Avize, Chouilly and Villers-Marmery. Traditional vinification in stainless steel takes place. The base wine is fermented at a low temperature and malolactic fermentation takes place. It is blended with a still Pinot Noir. Discreet fruit, floral notes, creamy strawberries, a touch of pastry.

Our first course was Poached Giant Shrimp with a basil, garlic and lemon mayonnaise sauce.

Saumur 2012 Parnay “Clos Romans” Domaine des Roches Neuves Thierry Germain made from 100% Chenin Blanc from 8-year-old vines on a 0.3-hectare vineyard that is a clos, surrounded by a wall built 300 years ago. The soil is sand, clay, and senonien limestone. Fermentation is in 400 liter barrels for 2 months. The wine is aged on the lees in 400 liter barrels for 9 months. The wine has hints of citrus fruit with a touch of apricot and honeydew and a touch apple. This is a very impressive wine and it went great with the shrimp.

Vegetable  Tian  — Michele  made  this  beautiful  vegetable  gratin,  called  a tian  in  Provence, with sliced potatoes, zucchini, and tomatoes baked on a bed of onions and topped with grated cheese.

Along with the tian, our main course was Breast of Duck with Fig  Sauce garnished  with  fresh  figs.

These are the fresh figs Michele used


Chinon “Les Picasses” 1989 (Loire) Olga Raffault” Made from 100% Cabernet Franc. The soil is limestone and clay. The mid slope vines are at least 50 years old and are worked organically and harvested by hand. The fruit is destemmed and whole uncrushed berries are fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation and maceration lasts for 25 to 30 days depending on the vintage. The wine is aged for 2 to 3 years in oak and chestnut foudres of 30 to 50 HL. There is more aging in tank and bottle before release for about four years. This is a full bodied, structured and complex wine with hints of cherry, red and dark berries, a hint of smoke and a touch of meatiness.


Dessert  was  Plum  Tart  with  Vanilla  Ice  Cream.  With  it  we  had  a dessert  wine.

Muscat Beaumes de Venise “Le Pèche d’ Emilie Alain Ignace Made from 100% Muscat petit grain rouge. The grapes come from 60 years old years old vines in lieux-dits Binquillon and La Tuillere and the soil is Miocene marine molasse. The bunches are destemmed and there is a cold pre fermentation. Fermentation lasts for 15 days and fortified with marc. It ages for 12 months in barrel. The wine has hints of cassis, strawberries and lychees. This is only the second time I had a Red Muscat Beumes de Venise.


Filed under Beaumes de Venise, Champagne, Chinon, Deutz Rose, Olga Chinon

Celebrating on the Fourth of July

Our second 50th Anniversary celebration took place at the home of a friend in New Jersey on July 4th.  We were so happy to be with friends once again.

Dinner began with

Dom Pérignon Brut 2009 Moet & Chandon made from equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The grapes come from five Grand Cru villages and one Premier Cru village. Ed Mc Carthy 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

Everyone pitched in for this menu.  Michele made me one of my favorite dishes, pasta alla Caprese, with fresh tomatoes, basil and mozzarella.  The recipe is from her book, 1,000 Italian Recipes.

Vaucluse Blanc IGP 2013 Domaine Gourt de Mautens Jerome Bressay, Rhone, France. Made from Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picardan, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, Picpoul Blanc and Picpoul Gris. The soil is chalk, clay gravel and marl. The vines are 30 to 50 years old and the vineyard is at 220 meters with a northwest exposure. The grapes are hand harvested. They are pressed in a pneumatic press and fermentation takes place with natural yeasts in tanks. The wine is aged for 10 to 18 months in tanks and French oak demi-muids. The vineyards are certified biodynamic. This is a full-bodied white wine with hints of peach, white flowers, a note of honey and a note of hay hops.

A friend brought two salads, one with green beans and the other a Sicilian style potato salad with red onions and capers.  They were perfect with the main dish

Rack of lamb with a mustard and crumb coating.

It was a beautiful summer meal

Chateau Margaux 1983 (Medoc) made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Vinification takes place in wood and stainless steel vats. There are almost 100 vats made from oak and steel fused or the vinification. The vats range in size from 5H for experiments to 180 HL used for blending.The wine is aged for 18/20 months in new oak depending on the vintage. This is a rich concentrated full-bodied wine with hints of cassis, tobacco, cedar, herbs and floral notes. It was the perfect combination with the lamb.

Dessert was a simple one, old fashioned lemon ice paired with lime butter cookies, both made by Michele.  The ices had us all reminiscing about the Italian ices in a paper cup that we all loved to buy when were kids.

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Filed under Champagne, Chateau MARGAUX 1983, Dom Perignon

Dinner in a Garden

Living as I do in a NYC apartment, it is nice to spend a few days in the “country” even if it is less than 45 minutes away. As I sat beside the pool at our friend’s house in New Jersey, I could watch various birds in the waterfall.  

This bright red Cardinal  really  enjoyed  his  bath.

The Table was set for dinner.

We started with Champagne

Larmandier-Bernier “Latitude” Extra Brut Blanc De Blancs NV. Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes which come from the same Latitude in the southern part of Vertus. There is 40% reserve wine in the blend and the dosage is 4g/l. The wine has hints of peach, white flowers, toast and a touch of almonds.

The first course was anchovies  on  burrata  cheese  on  homemade  toasts.

Champagne Marguet Grand Cru “Shaman 15” Dosage 0 g/liter. Bottled May 2015 made from 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay. The soil is chalk. The wine is fermented spontaneously. Fermentation and aging in new oak. The wine is unfined, no added sulphites and no temperature control. The wine is filtered. The winery is Organic/Biodynamic. Horses plough the soil. This is a full-bodied, complex Champagne with hints of yellow fruit and brioche.

Sancerre 2014 Clos de Beaujeu Gérard Boulay made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The vines are over 45 years old and the soil is Kimmeridgian Clay terre blanche similar to the soils of Chablis. The soil is worked manually, grapes are picked by hand and organic farming methods are used. Fermentation is in the barrel with natural yeasts. The wine is aged on the lees in a combination of barrel and tank then bottled unfiltered in July.  The wine has citrus aromas and flavors with a hints of grapefruit, herbs and nice minerality. There is a touch of sweetness on the palate.



Spicy shrimp in a Cajun butter sauce was prepared by a friend of our host.

The shrimp were served with baguette slices to soak up the sauce.

A spectacular Neapolitan style Rum Baba with fresh berries from a favorite local bakery was the dessert.

Marc De Bourgogne De Chambolle Musigny is fantastic!  A glass of this marc brought a perfect day to an end for me.







Filed under Champagne, Sancerre

Celebrating a Special Friends Birthday

To celebrate a friend’s birthday, and aware that he had been as diligent in social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing as we have been, Michele and I decided to prepare a special lunch for him.  The wine was provided by our friend

We started  with  a glass  of  Champagne  on  our  terrace,  which  is  currently under  construction  but  accessible.  

Champagne 2013 Pinot Meunier Grand Cru La Grande Vigne Vielles Vignes Extra Brut Suenen made from 100% Pinot Meunier from 50 year old ungrafted vines in Montigny-sur-Vesle The exposure is north west and the soil is sand and limestone. Oak barrels and turns are used for the wine making process. Also the use of an ovoid (egg shaped) concrete tun. There is spontaneous fermentation and natural malolactic fermentation and no filtration. The wine remains on the lees from 6 to 8 months. This is a very impressive bold Champagne, with hints of red fruit, brioche and honey.

Then we had pasta with lamb ragu. Michele  made  the  ragu  with  trimmings  from  a leg  of  lamb,  red  wine,  rosemary  and  the  usual  seasoning  vegetables.  The  pasta  was  mezze  maniche  by  Campofilone.

To follow we had butterflied leg of lamb seasoned with garlic and rosemary.  It was perfectly cooked, rare and juicy.

Leg of lamb with fresh  spinach  from  the  Greenmarket  and  alubia  blanca  beans from  Rancho  Gordo.

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 1982 Emidio Pepe 100% Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. The winery is organic and Bio-Dynamic. They belong to the Triple “A” Agriculture Artisans Artists. Both the tendonne method and the cordon spur method are used for training the vines. In vintages when the weather is very hot the tendone method is better because the leaves form a canopy to protect the grapes from the sun.  When the weather is not too hot, the cordon spur is better because it allows more sun and air to reach the grapes. 1 hectare of tendone has 900 vines and produces 90 quintals of grapes.  That means that each vine produces from 6 to 9 kilos of grapes. In one hectare of cordon spur trained grapes, there are 3,300 vines and each vine produces 5 to 6 kilos of grapes. The grapes are crushed by hand and the juice placed in glass lined cement tanks of 20/25 liters. Only natural yeasts are used, there is no filtration or fining. The wine is transferred to the bottle by hand and the corks are placed in the bottles by hand. The wine has deep red fruit aromas and flavors with hints of cherry, spice and leather. It is one of my favorite red wines and was just wonderful. It was the perfect wine  to go with the pasta and the lamb.

Dessert was a Ricotta Raspberry Cake with fresh berries and creme fraiche whipped cream.





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Filed under Abruzzo, Champagne, Emidio Pepe, Montepulciano d' Abruzzo, Suenen Champagne

Special Weekend of Food and Wine

For a special weekend, we had a two day celebration. Here are some of the dishes we enjoyed, though not at the same meal.


Mortadella chunks which went very well with cornichon pickles, olives and Tarallli


Pasta with sausage,  tomato  and  cauliflower.


Steak with duck fat roasted potatoes- on the platter

In the dish with fresh, locally grown spinach.


The Wine

Carema Riserva 1983 Cantina Produttori Nebbiolo di Carema made from 100% Nebbiolo from hillside vineyards up to 600 meters. The village of Carema is in a valley north west of Piedmonte and makes the boundary between Piedmont and the Aosta Valley.

The vines are planted on steep stone terraces that reflect the sun and maintain the heat of the day during the night. The vines are trained on pergola-like crossbeams locally named “topie,” onto which the vines are tied down firmly to keep them from being broken by the strong winds. These topie also allow for maximum exposure to the sun, helping to draw out the harvest for as long as possible, thereby taming the grapes’ high acids that would otherwise overwhelm the palate. The wines are 100% Nebbiolo from the local clones nebbiolo spanna, picutener, meaning “tender stem,” and pugnet, meaning “fist-like,” a reference to the compact shape of the bunches.

The wine is aged for a minimum of 3 years of which 18 months is in large oak or chestnut barrels. This is a well structured wine with hints of red fruit , spice, licorice, a hint of dried flowers and notes of cinnamon.

Dessert was almond cake with strawberries and cream, plus a little chocolate.

 The next day we had smoked salmon and Champagne

Champagne Krug Cuvèe 167EME it is a blend of 191 wines from 13 different years, the youngest is from 2011 and the oldes goest back to 1995. The final blend is 47% Pinot Noir 36 % Chardonnay and17% Meunier. It is aged for about 7 years before it is released. The Champagne has hints of dried and citrus fruit a touch of gingerbread, with hints of hazelnuts, and brioche. It is Michele’s favorite Champagne..


Filed under Carema, Champagne, Krug Champagne, Uncategorized

Prestige Cuvées: Special Champagne for the New Year

Last Monday I wrote about the first 10 Champagnes Ed Mc Carthy (Champagne for Dummies) spoke about for the Wine Media Guild’s tasting and lunch at Il Gattopardo in NYC. The next ten Champagnes were all Prestige Cuvees and it was a very impressive collection.

Prestige Cuvees

Champagne Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 2007 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 “tallies.” 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. This has always been a favorite of mine and at $150 it is still a good buy.

Champagne Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs 2004 made from 100% Chardonnay-63% from Cote des Blancs and 37% from Montagne de Reims. This is the 23rd vintage of the Blanc de Blancs. It has been aged on the lees for nine years; its slight sweetness comes from a low dosage. This is an elegant Champagne with citrus flavors and aromas, a touch of brioche and a hint of hazelnuts. In magnum $150

Champagne Moet & Chandon Dom Pérignon Rose 2006 made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Harvest began on September 11 and continued for nearly three weeks. The wine is released 10 years after the vintage. May be the best Rose it has been my pleasure to drink. $335

Champagne Laurent-Perrier Grand Siecle #24 NV made from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir from 3 different vintages 2007, 2006 & 2004). 12 of the most prestigious villages supply the grapes and only the best plots are selected, as are the finest musts from the pressings. The blended wine is aged during the second fermentation on the yeast for about five years. It has tiny bubbles and complex aromas and flavors that make it go very well with food. $150

Champagne Charles Heidsieck Blanc des Millénaires 2004 made from 100% Chardonnay. First vintage was 1983; only four vintages have been made since then 1985,1990,1995 and 2004. The grapes come from 5 major Crus from the Cöte des Blancs: Oger, Mesnil-su Oger, Avize, Cramant and Vertus. This is an elegant wine with hints of lemon, almonds, citrus, toast and a touch of salted butter. Ed said that it was an excellent champagne with surprising weight and power for a Blanc de Blancs $185

Champagne Louis Roederer Brut Cristal 2008 made from  55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay with grapes from Roederer’s own vineyards, almost all of which are Grand Cru. Ed said it needs 15 years from the vintage date before it is really ready to drink and I agree with him $250

Champagne Veuve Clicquot “La Grande Dame” 2008 made from 62% Pinot Noir and 38% Chardonnay. Verzenay/Avize are the two dominant crus in the blend of eight grand crus from Clicquot’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. $150

Champagne Pol Roger Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill 2006 Chardonnay from their Grand Cru vineyards. The remuage (riddling) is done by hand, a rarity in Champagne today. Ed felt it still needs at least 4 or 5 more years to be ready. He described it as being rich, firm and austere but also with finesse and complexity. Ed said that it was created in homage to Sir Winston Churchill mindful of the qualities he sought in his Champagne: robustness, a full-bodied character and relative maturity. $200

Champagne Bollinger Grande Annee 2008 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..$140

Champagne Krug Grand Cuvée 168th ed  NV made from 45/55% Pinot Noir, 15/20 Pinot Meunier and 25/35 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%. As Ed said, obviously this is not just another NV Champagne. It is Michele’s favorite Champagne. $175

The following were at the event with the Champagnes they represent

Bethany Burke: Senior Vice President Public Relations & Corporate Communications, Taub Family Companies



 Améile Derrieux -Sable, Director of Marketing for Maisons & Domaines Henriot


Pamela Wittman: Founder of Millissime


All prices are approximate

To go with the Champagne we had: Fagottini Pasta filled with eggplant and butter ricotta in a Piennolo Tomato sauce for the Appetizer

and for the Entrée Hailbut in a “Guazzetto” broth with fresh water vegetables and sented with wild “Finocchiella”




Filed under Champagne, Prestige Cuvees-12/4/2019

Champagne for the Holidays with Ed “Champagne” Mc Carthy

Ed McCarthy, author of Champagne for Dummies, is an old friend.  For many years, I have had the pleasure of drinking a variety of wonderful Champagnes with him. Ed has become the Champagne expert for the Wine Media Guild and this year Ed reached new heights in his selection of Prestige Cuvees for the Wine Media Guild Champagne Lunch at Il Gattopardo Restaurant in NYC.

There were 20 Champagnes and after tasting them, Ed said he liked them all. I had to agree with him.  He added that most of them were too young to drink though some went back to the 2000 vintage.  Here are my notes on the first 10 and will do 10 more in another blog.

The Champagne

Champagne Pol Roger “Valentin Leflaive NV Blanc de Blancs (Extra Brut; 4.5 dosage. Made from 100% Chardonnay from the Cote des Blancs. Grapes from each plot of vines are vinified separately, and then the wine is delicately blended with reserve wines before being bottled and placed in the cellars in Avize to mature. The base wine is from 2010 vintage and is aged for 10 months in stainless steel (70%) and oak barrels (30%). This is an elegant wine with hints of apple, pears, brioche and citrus. Ed said this is the first release of the wine in the USA. It is a bargain at $57

Champagne G.H. Mumm RS NV Blanc de Blancs There are almost 218 hectares of vineyards rated 98%, which are mainly on the eight most renowned Grand Crus: Aÿ, Biuzy, Ambonnay, Verzy, Cramant, and Mailly-Champagne. 25% of the production comes from here, 75% is from independent growers. The grapes are picked between the end of September and mid October about 100 days after the vines have flowered. As required by champagne appellation rules, picking is by hand. After pressing, the must is stored in vats for two weeks between 18°C and 20°C before alcoholic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation always takes place but is not required by the appellation rules. In the cellars, the liqueur de triage triggers a second alcoholic fermentation and the bubbles gradually form. As the bubbles form, the pressure inside the bottle increases, reaching as much as 6 bars. Ed said that in this wine there was less pressure so the bubbles were not as forceful.  It is fresh, crisp, dry, and light-bodied with nice fruit aromas and flavors and a touch of white peach. $55 This one was ready to drink.

Champagne Collet “Collection Privée” 2006 made from 75% Chardonnay from Premiers and Grands Crus villages, 20% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier. Over 60% of the wine is aged in oak barrels from Champagne for 8 years in century old limestone cellars in Ay. 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. This is an elegant Champagne with hints of walnuts, brioche and citrus fruit. $65

Champagne Perrier- Joulët Belle Epoque 2012 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. $175

Champagne Alfred Gratien Cuvée Paradis 2009 Produced from 65% Chardonnay, 18% Pinot Noir and 17% Pinot Meunier. This is a small house and their wines are very difficult to find in this country. The wine is fermented in 228 liter oak barrels for 6 months and spends 6 years in bottle. This is a non-vintage prestige cuvée and Ed found it to be elegant and more sophisticated and classier than some of the very good, but heavier Vintage Bruts. It has aromas and flavors of white fruit, honey and nuts. Ed described it as elegant and having intensely concentrated and complex flavors with hints of white fruit, toast and gingerbread, and a long aftertaste.$125 Ed said it was ready to drink.

Champagne Delamotte Blanc de Blancs NV made from Grand Cru Chardonnay from Cramant, Le Mesnil-su-Oger, Avize and Oger all in the Côtes des Blancs grown in pure chalk soil. Vinification is in stainless steel. Maturation is on the lees longer than the 15 months required by law before it is disgorged. It has hints of toast, pear and honey, citrus with nice minerality. $65 Ed said this was the second label of Salon and ready to drink.

Champagne Piper-Heidsieck “Rare” 2006 made from 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay from twelve 100% rated Grand Cru Villages. This needs at least 15 years from the vintage date to develop fully. It was interesting because I found aromas and flavors of spice and ginger with citrus fruit and good acidity. $165. Ed said this was  a special Champagne.

Champagne Boizel Joyau de France 2000 Made from 65% Pinot Noir 35% Chardonnay from Grands and Pemiers Cru Grapes. The wine is aged 8 months in small 3-to 8-year old barrels after primary fermentation. Aged for 15 years on its lees, this mature Champagne is toasty, with hints of yellow peach, pastry, almonds and hazelnuts. $130 Even though the wine was almost 20 yeas old Ed said it was too young.

Champagne Henriot Cuvée Hemera 2005 made only in exceptional years from a blend of Grands Crus Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in equal parts. The Chardonnay from the Côte des Blancs, from Chouilly, Avize and Mesnil-su-Oger. The Pinot Noir from the north of the Montagne de Reims, from Mailly Champagne, Verzy and Verzenay. The wine is aged on the lees for a minimum of 12 years. The Dosage is 5g/l. This is a full flavored wine with hints of apricot and citrus fruit. There are toasted notes and a touch of honey. Ed said it was drinking well now. $185

Champagne Palmer & Co Grands Terroirs 2003 (magnum)  Made from 54% tPino Noir: Grands Crus 63% from Mailly and Verzenay, Premies Crus 37% from Ludes, Rilly and Chigny. 46% Chardonnay Premiers Crus 100% Trépail, Villers and Marmery. Aged on the lees for 12 years. Dosage 7.5. Disgorgement Nov 2017. This is an elegant and balanced Champagne with hints of citrus, pear, apricot, a note of hazelnut and a touch of brioche. $180 for the magnum.

With the Champagne we had:

Fagottini pasta filled with eggplant and buffalo ricotta in a Piennolo Tomato sauce

Halibut in a “Guazzetto” broth with fresh winter vegetables and scented with wild “Finocchiella”

All Champagne prices are approximate. Next time Prestige Cuvees for the New Year


Filed under Alfred Gratien, Blanc Blancs, Boizel, Bollinger Champagne, Champagne, Cristal, Cristol, Delamotte NV, Dom Perignon Rose, Grand Siecle, Henriot, Krug, Krug Champagne, La Grand e Dame, Palmer & Co., Piper-Heidsieck, Pol Roger, Uncategorized

Another Celebration

My birthday this year fell on a Saturday and to celebrate I spent a long weekend in Montclair, NJ at the home of a good friend. It was a wonderful time of eating and drinking including a 1942 “Chianti.”

For my birthday dinner, Michele made Anchovy Twists for an appetizer, sticks of tender cream cheese pastry filled with anchovies.

With this we had

Champagne “Chardonnay” Brut 1982 Pol Roger & Co. 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 6°C 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 9°C 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 a touch of apple and a note of hazelnut. Produced in limited quantities, this cuvee has been aged for 7 years in the cellars before release. It was showing very well.

Melon Soup – A refreshing chilled soup made with cantaloupe, orange juice, honey and yogurt.

Trebbiano d’Abruzzo 2002 Eduardo Valentini made from 100% Trebbiano d’Abruzzo. The winery is organic and biodynamic. The wine is aged in large botti of Slavonia oak for 24 months. This is a very complex, full-bodied wine with hints of citrus fruit, apple, mineral undertones, good acidity, a great finish and aftertaste, and that extra something that is difficult to describe. One of the guests called it the wine of the afternoon.

Puligny-Montrachet “Les Folatieres” 1982 Joseph Drouhin made from 100% Chardonnay in the central part of the Cotes de Beaune. There are 10,000 vines per hectare and the pruning system is guyot. There is a very slow pressing and the juice from the last pressing is not retained. No yeasts or enzymes are added. The wine goes directly into the barrel after decanting. It is aged in French oak barrels, 25% new. This is a complex, rich, velvety wine with hints of honey, honeysuckle, almond with dried fruit notes, with a very long aftertaste. It was wonderful.

Grilled Skewers  on the BBQ of Lamb, Bacon and Bread

served with Green Beans in Salsa Verde and a Tomato Salad was our main course.

Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru “Lavaux Saint-Jacques” 1982 Domaine Maume made from 100% Pinot Noir grown in a 28 hectare vineyard of clay and limestone soil. The vineyard is worked by horse and plow and is certified organic. The grapes are hand harvested and destemmed prior to fermentation on indigenous yeast. The wine is aged in 70% new French oak for a period of 18 months and then the wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered. The wine has hints of black and red cherries with notes of violets and rose petals.

Barbaresco “Camp Gros Martinenga” 1982 Tenuta Cisa Asinari Dei Marchese Di Gresy made from 100% Nebbiolo (Magnum). This is a wine of elegance and structure with hints of tobacco and cherries, a touch of balsamic, well balanced and a long finish. There was almost half a bottle left and we drank it two days later and it was even better.

Cote-Rotie 1999 (Magnum) Jean Francois et Carmen Garon made from 100% Syrah. The Domaine is located in the municipality of Ampuis and it extends over 7 hectares in the extreme north of the Rhone Valley. This is a terroir- driven wine. It is a big, structured wine with flavors of red and black fruit and hints of cherry and blueberry. The wine needs more time and was drinking marketdly better two days later.

Brolio Rosso “Chianti Superiore” Castello di Brolio in Chianti, Siena, Casa Vinicola Barone Ricascoli Firenze 1942. The wine was made mostly of Sangiovese with the addition of Canaiolo, Malvasia and Colorino. I do not know if there was any Trebbiano in the blend or if the governo method was used. The wine was showing its age but still drinkable.

The dessert was a perfectly seasonal fresh peach cake which we ate with ice cream.


Filed under Barbaresco, Birthday 2019, Brolio Chianti Classico, Burgundy, Champagne, Cote Rote, Joseph Drouhin, Uncategorized

Chateau Latour 1942 with Lunch

Michele and are going to Italy in November with friends and we invited them for lunch so we could make our plans. They knew my birthday was later in the week so they surprised me by bringing a Grand Vin Chateau La Tour 1942.

Michele made one of my favorite appetizers, which I always order when I am in Rome: deep fried zucchini flowers filled with mozzarella and anchovies.

I went to the Union Square Greenmarket early in the morning to make sure that they would have them and I bought an extra boxful just in case.

With the zucchini flowers we had Champagne:

J.L. Vergnon Grand Cru Blanc De Blancs Brute NV made from 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay from plots in le Mesnil-sur-Oger and Avize. There is 20% reserve wine aged for 3 months in oak barrels and 80% of the single year in steel tanks. The Champagne ages for 3 years in the cellars before disgorging. Dosage Brut 5g/L. The bubbles filed the glass of the fresh, complex and classic Champagne with hints of pear grapefruit and a touch of biscuit.

Louis Roederer Blanc De Blancs Brut 1997 made from 100% Chardonnay grown in calcareous soil in the heart of the Cote des Blancs in the Grand Crus of Mesnil-sur-Oger and Avize. The wine is matured on the lees for five years and left for a minimum of 6 months after disgorging to obtain perfect maturity. The Champagne has notes of white fruit and dried fruit with a creamy undertone and a touch of honeysuckle. For a wine over 20 years old it had a continuous train of bubbles and was very complex and elegant.

The main course was steak,

with green beans flavored with anchovies and pecorino,

a fresh, creamy corn pudding

and an heirloom tomato salad which we had with the red wine.

Grand Vin Chateau Latour 1942. Made from mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Merlot. Its color and flavors made it seem like a much younger wine. It was perfect with the steak.

Barbera d’Alba 1978 Poderi Aldo Conterno “Conca Tre Pile” DOC Made from 100% Barbera from the Conca Tre Pile Vineyard in Bussia (Monforte d’Alba). Hand harvest the first week of October. There is skin contact inside stainless steel vats. The must stays in contact with the skins for about 8 to 10 days. The wine remains in stainless steel vats for a few months and then is put into oak casks where it remains for another few months. The wine was showing a little age but it still had hints of red fruit and a touch of hazelnuts.

With the cheese we had:

Recioto Valpolicella Valpantena Vino Spumante Naturale 1978 Bertaini made from Corvina and Rondinella and the grapes selected are those which have the most exposure to the sun. The grapes are dried for 3 months on bamboo racks. The wine is aged in cherry wood. This is a dense and velvety sparkling but not cloying wine which leaves the palate clean. It has concentrated cherry aromas and flavors. On the palate it has an aftertaste of walnuts. I do not believe Bertani makes this Spumante version any more.



Filed under Barbera, Birthday 20019, Champagne, Gran Vin Chateau Latour 1942, Louis Roederer Brut, Recioto