Category Archives: Krug

Celebrating with Champagne

Sometimes only Champagne will do. It was Michele’s birthday and friends invited us to their house to celebrate.

IMG_4943The Champagne was Dom Perignon 2010 made from equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The grapes come from five Grand Cru villages and one Premier Cru village. This is an elegant and complex Champagne with hints of melon, tropical fruit, and mandarin orange with a hint of jasmine and a touch of spice.

On other recent occasions with these same friends they also shared the 2008 and the 2009 Dom Perignon. The only difference was that the 2010 has not developed any of the “brioche” aromas but it was fresh and wonderful.

IMG_4940With the Champagne we had crostini with piquillo peppers and marinated white anchovies.

A few days later, Michele and I celebrated with:

IMG_4975Krug NV Grand Cuvée 168EEM Edition made from 45/55% Pinot Noir, 15/20 Pinot Meunier and 25/35 Chardonnay–the percentage 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 a Champagne with hints of dried citrus fruit, gingerbread, hazelnuts and almonds, a note of honey and a touch of brioche. It had a very long finish and a memorable aftertaste.

IMG_4968With it we had smoked salmon with creme fraiche.

IMG_4971Sauteed soft shell crab on the pan

IMG_4972on the plate

Michele was very happy as these were two of her favorite Champagnes.

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Twelve Champagnes

Most years in December, I would attend the Wine Media Guild’s holiday Champagne tasting with Ed “Champagne” McCarthy, the author of Champagne for Dummies, as the speaker. The theme varied from year to year.  It could be Prestige Cuvèes, Vintage, Blanc des Blancs, Rose, or a combination, but it was always a truly great sparkling event. Since that event won’t be happening this year, I am reporting on 12 wines that I have drunk over the last few months.  Hope Ed approves of all of them.

Laherte Fieres “Les Grandes Crayères” made from 100% Chardonnay. The vines are on a Chavot mid slope with campanian chalk soil. The exposure is west. The grapes are picked by hand when fully ripened. Traditional pressing. Alcoholic fermentation is in barrels and malolactic fermentation does not take place. There is aging on the lees for 6 months. Disgorgement is by hand and the dosage is 3 to 4 gr/l. This is an elegant Champagne with hints of citrus fruit, apples and a touch of brioche. This producer is becoming one of my favorites.

IMG_3734Veuve Clicquot Brut NV made from 56% Pinot Noir, 16% Pinot Meunier and 28% Chardonnay. This is easy drinking Champagne, toasty with black fruit aromas and flavors.

IMG_3638Gosset Champagne Brut Excellence made from 24% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay and 19% Pinot Meunier from Ay-Chapmpagne, Chigny-les-Roses, Courmas, Cumieres, Avize, Cuis and Trepail. There is 100% malolactic fermentation. The wine spends 30 months in the cellar before it is disgorged. Dosage for the Brut is11g/L. It has hints of apricots, peaches, dried fruit and a touch of brioche.

IMG_3278Champagne Boizel 2007 made from 40% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and 10% Pinot Meunier.  3% of the wines were aged in oak casks. The wines were aged for 7 years on the lees. This is elegant Champagne with hints of apricot, biscuits, flowers, almonds and a touch of licorice. 

IMG_3447 2Champagne Dom Pérignon 2008 made from equal amounts of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The grapes come from five Grand Cru villages and one Premier Cru village. This is a very impressive champagne with great balance, elegance and complex aromas and flavors.

IMG_3528Champagne Marguet “Shaman 14” Grand Cru NV made from 69% Pinot Noir and 31% Chardonnay. The wine was bottled July 2016, and the disgorgement date was March 2018. There are no added sulfites and the dosage is 0. It has flavors of honeysuckle, lemon, apple and a touch of stone fruit.

IMG_3575Selosse Substance Avize is the essence in a single vintage from two parcels without regard to vintage variation. Always made from the same Chardonnay vineyards in Avize. A south facing slope and an east hill base. Made from a solera started in 1987. Each year 22% is taken from the solera. Dosage 0-4g/l.  It has hints of apricots, pears, loads of wet stone minerality, white flowers, pumpkin pie spice, mulled cider and the signature oxidation. It may be the most unusual champagne I have ever tasted.

IMG_3092Alfred Gratien Brut Rosè NV made from 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Meunier and 15% . The Pinot Noir is 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 which is topped up 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 strawberries and touch of roses.

IMG_2892Suenen 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.

IMG_2581Larmandier-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.

Champagne Pierre Gimonnet & Fils “Fleuron” Brut 2009 made from 100% Chardonnay from premier cru Villages mostly in the Cöte de Blancs. Fermentation is in stainless steel and malolactic fermentation takes place. The wine remains on the lees for 84 months. The wine has hints of apple, floral notes, a touch of lemon, with good minerality and balanced acidity.

IMG_2322Champagne Krug Grande Cuvèe 167EME EDITION This is a blend of 191 wines from 13 different years, the youngest is from 2011 and the oldest goes 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, hints of hazelnuts, and brioche. It is Michele’s favorite Champagne.

Looking forward to a better 2021 and tasting again with Ed for the Wine Media Guild.

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Filed under Alfred Gratien, Boizel, Champagne, Dom Perignon, Gosset, Jacques Selosse - Susbstance, Krug, Laherte Fieres Champagne, Larmandier-Bernier Champagne, Pierre Gimonnet Champagne, Shaman 14 Marguet, Suenen Champagne, Uncategorized, Veuve Clicquot

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

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Osteria Laura

Osteria Laura

A new Italian restaurant is always interesting to me, especially when it involves someone like Rosanna De Michele, who is the chef of the newly opened Osteria Laura in Harlem.

Rosanna

Rosanna is from Abruzzo and I have enjoyed her food when she was the chef at another restaurant and at a friend’s home. A visit to the restaurant seemed like the perfect opportunity to get together with old friends Mary Ewing Mulligan and Ed Mc Carthy, co-authors of the Wine for Dummies Series, who live nearby.

We decided to share a number of appetizers including meatballs, fried calamari, grilled sausages with broccoli rabe, and fresh burrata imported from Puglia. This is real Italian food, at a very good price.

To drink, we began with:

Henriot Cuvee “Des Enchanteleurs” Brut 1989 made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from six of the most prestigious Grand Cru vineyards.  Ed was surprised that it was so ready to drink for a Champagne from the 1989 vintage. It is rich with citrus aromas and flavors and hints of peach, hazelnut, and a touch of honey. Aromatic with a great finish and aftertaste, it was wonderful.

Champagne Krug Grand Cuvée Brut NV made from 45/55% Pinot Noir, 15/20 Pinot Meunier and 25/35% Chardonnay–the percent depends upon the vintage. About 120 wines from 10 or more different vintages are blended and it is aged for at least 6 years in the cellars. All of the Krug 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.

Schiava 2018 DOC Elena Walch made from 100% Schiava grapes from high side vineyards above Lake Caldaro at 1,312 ft. The soil is limestone and clay. There is temperature-controlled fermentation at 27°C in stainless steel tanks for 7 days of skin contact. Malolactic fermentation and maturation take place in traditional 8,000 liter Slovenian oak casks. This is a fruity red wine with hints of cherry and a nice bitter almond touch on the finish.

For the main courses we had:

Pasta with Burrata and Artichokes – The day’s special, the chef used imported Burrata and top quality Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta.

Tagliatelle with Ragu Abruzzese – A classic ragu made as do in Abruzzo.

Chicken Rollatini with Mushrooms – Chicken breast cutlets rolled and stuffed with imported prosciutto, served with sauteed mushrooms.

With our main courses, we drank:

Dolcetto 1971 “Cru Nassone La Morra” Marcarini/Cogno made from 100% Dolcetto. I do not believe this label is used anymore. Back in 1971 the wine would have been aged in concrete or large oak barrels (botte) they did not have stainless steel tanks or barriques back then. For me this was a delightful surprise. The wine had hints of red fruit, black cherry with a touch of violets and almonds. It was showing no signs of age. Fantastic!

 

Recioto Valpolicella Amarone 1967 Bertani 70% Corvina Veronese, 30% Rondinella-this is the present blend.
Carefully selected grape bunches are hand-harvested in Bertani’s best Valpolicella vineyards in Fumane, Marano and the Novare Valley. Vines are cultivated using the “spalliera” method while pruning is done using the Guyot method with 5.000 vines/ha.
Unlike most leading Amarone producers, who buy grapes from outside growers, Bertani’s harvest originates entirely in the firm’s own vineyards. With marly-calcareous soil sheltered by surrounding woodland, these vineyards offer the ideal terroir for Amarone.
Harvest begins in early October and extends over a two-week period. After harvest, ripe, unblemished grapes from the uppermost portions of each cluster — those grapes richest in sugar and extracts — are painstakingly detached and laid out to dry on cane mats. The mats are stored on raised platforms in airy lofts, sheltered by a roof but otherwise exposed to drying breezes on all sides. By the time they are ready to undergo maceration and fermentation in February, they will have lost up to 60% of their water content (appassimento). A lengthy maceration period ensues, a factor responsible for Amarone’s tremendous body and structure. After a controlled fermentation, the wine was transferred into oak casks for a period of 5-8 years (the 1961, I believe, spent a longer time in wood) during which it was racked twice annually prior to bottling.
Dry, full-bodied, and amply structured with hints of cherries, red berries and spice and a rich aftertaste and long finish, a wonderful wine.

For dessert:

Affogato al Café – vanilla ice cream topped with hot espresso express over vanilla ice cream,

Osteria Laura is located at 1890 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd, NY, NY. The phone is 917- 261-6575.

The Owner is Laura Testa.

 

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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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Drinking Krug on a Very Cold Night

It seemed like one of those beer commercials that you see on television.  A freezing cold winter’s night, a man walking alone (in this case me), he approaches a door of an apartment and he hears music, laughter and the sounds of people having a good time. He opens the door and is handed a glass of beer? NO, he is handed a glass of Krug Grand Cuveè Champagne!

IMG_4743

As I stood in the well-appointed apartment in Greenwich Village owned by the makers of Krug sipping my Champagne, I said to myself, for Krug I would come out on the coldest of nights.  Krug was introducing its 2003 vintage and they were doing it with a lot of style and a lot of Krug.

The Grand Cuvee is made from a blend of 120 wines from 10 different years, the youngest dating from 2003 and the oldest from 1988.  After a few glasses of the Grand Cuvee, it was time for the 2003. This was a difficult vintage in many respects, and it was pointed out that the harvest began on August 23, the earliest since 1822. Difficult vintage or not, they made great champagne I and was more than happy to have a glass or two before my walk home.

Krug just may be my favorite Champagne

 

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