Tasting the Wines of Montefili in Magnum

 

I have tasted and drunk the wines of Vecchie Terre Di Montefilli both at I Trulli Restaurant and at the winery in Panzano,Tuscany. At I Trulli I tasted the wines with Nicola Marzovilla, owner of I Trulli, and a partner in the Montefili Winery. At the winery I tasted the wines with Serena Gusmeri, the winemaker. Last month Nicola invited me to taste the wines of Montefili again but this time from magnums. I thought it would be interesting to see how the wines were showing in magnum.

The Wines

Chanti Classico 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese from younger vines at 500 meters. The soil is galestro and alberese and the vineyard was planted in the late 1990’s. The training system is spurred cordon. Fermentation is in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts and the wine is aged for 18 months in 30HL Slavonian oak barrels. The wine remains in bottle for 6 months before release. The wine has hints of blackberry and cherry with a note of almond and a touch of violets.

Nicola said because 2015 was such a great vintage and needs many years to develop, they would hold back the 2015 vintage and release the 2016 which he said was more approachable. I tasted the 2016 at the winery and I agree with Nicola.

Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese from a careful selection of grapes from vineyards with the best exposure. The vineyards were planted in the late 1980’s. The training system is spurred cordon and guyot. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging is in Slavonian oak barrels of 3,000 and 2,000 liters for a minimum of 22 months and 6 months in bottle before release. This is a well-structured wine with hints of blackberry and cherry with a touch of violets and a note of almonds.

Vigna Vecchia “Grand Selezione” DOCG 2015 made from 100% Sangiovese from a single vineyard called Vigna Vecchia planted in 1981. The training system is spurred cordon and fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeasts. The wine is rotated between 30HL and 10HL oak barrels for 26 months and 8 months in bottle before release.  This is an elegant wine with red and black fruit aromas and hints of blueberries and cherries and a hint of violets.

Anfiteatro IGT 2012 made from 100% Sangiovese from the Anfiteatro vineyard planted in 1975. Nicola said this is their best vineyard. The training system is bilateral cordon. Fermentation is in stainless steel with indigenous yeast. The wine is aged for 28 months in 5HL barrels and 10 HL barrels and a minimum of 12 months in bottle before release. This is a very big wine that needs more time. In fact of all of the wines from the excellent 2015 vintage, this one will last the longest. Nicola said because of the position of the vineyards and because they are at 500 meters the microclimate is not like any other in Tuscany. The wine has hints of ripe red fruit, cherry, and cranberries with a note of violets and a touch of camphor. This wine was produced before Nicola and his partners bought the winery. This is a big wine and will need a lot of time to develop and the magnum will last for a very long time.

Bruno di Rocca IGT Colli Toscana 2004 made from 80% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Sangiovese from vineyards planted in the early 1980’s. The soil is galestro and the training system is spurred cordon. Vinification is in stainless steel tanks with indigenous yeast. Aging for a minimum of months 28 in tonneaux for the Sangiovese and for the Cabernet Sauvignon in barriques (350 liters).  Nicola said Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be aged in barriques. The wine spends a minimum of 12 months in bottle before release. It is difficult to make this type wine where the Cabernet Sauvignon does not dominate but this is a soft elegant wine. This wine was made before Nicola and his partners purchased the winery. It was showing no signs of age and was drinking very nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

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A Taste of Irpinia

I did not think it was possible to fit in so much into two and a half days in Irpinia in Campania but we did. This is third blog on my trip.  In addition the the wines, it was an opportunity to sample the foods of this region, which although close to Naples and the Amalfi Coast, is quite different due to the climate and high altitude.

Our host for the trip was Federico Basso from the Villa Raiana winery.

The first night over dinner at Villa Raiana, Federico and I began to talk about pasta. I mentioned pasta aglio, olio e peperoncino which I had not had in a long time.  My wife, Michele makes it at home, but it is rare to see it on menus.  Federico said it is a simple dish but there must be a perfect balance between the ingredients to make it work and this is the difficulty. He mentioned that it is a specialty of the restaurant we are going for lunch the next day.

Restaurant Riserva 24 in located in Serino (Avellino)

When we arrived at the restaurant, there was a bowl of roasted chestnuts on the table. I tried one and the whole shell came right off.  It was  delicious, probably the best I had ever eaten. I had to stop myself from eating too many.

Appetizers

Sausage and  greens  with  potatoes,  fried  croutons  and  a fried  sweet  pepper.

Chick pea soup

 

Sauteed mushrooms with polenta

Pizza with lardo and local cheese

Greco de Tufo 2017 “Ponte dei SantiVilla Raiano. Federico said Greco di Tufo is a small appellation but has numerous shades in terms of terroir. In the upper section of the district of Ponte dei Santi of Altavilla, Irpina (Avellino) is their small 1.3 hectare vineyard. The vineyard is at 550 meters. There are 4,500 vines per hectare; the soil is sandy-silty with dark clay incursions. Harvest is the first week of October. Fermentation and aging the same as above.

Pasta aglio, olio and peperoncino

Irpinia Campi Taurasi 2015 made from 100% Taurasi “Costa Baiano” Villa Raiano Taurasi from a single plot shaped like an amphitheater in the central part of a 9 hectare vineyard located in the municipality of Castelfranci (Avellino) at 500 meters. There are 4,500 plants per hectare, the soil is calcareous clay on yellow sandstone with organic elements and the training system is guyot. Harvest is the first 10 days of November. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with daily punching down and pumping over. Maceration on the skins is for 10 days. The wine matures 50% in cement tanks and 50% in terracotta amphorae. The wine is bottled in October following the harvest. This was the first time I have tasted Taurasi aged in cement and amphorae. It has all the characteristics of Taurasi but seemed to be a much lighter style and more approachable. The 2015 was drinking very well and I believe it will mature slower than the 2016 we had at the winery.

Handmade fusilli pasta with tomato sauce

Grilled lamb and chicken

Dessert consisted of cookies and sweets typical of the holiday season.

That night we went to Restaurant Zi Pasqualina in Atripalda (Avellino)

The waiter suggested a few appetizers including:

Mozzarella di bufala Campania, ricottina di buffalo.

a

Crostini with peppers

Local prosciutto

 

I had the ravioli di ricotta in salsa di noci e ricotta salata di Montella

Michelle Kwan had candele pasta al ragu antico con pecorino di Lioni

Second course I had salsiccia di maiale alla brace

Michelle had bistecca di maiale alla brace.

We also shared patate e peperoni ripassati in padella

The restaurant has an extensive list of wines from Campania including older wines. They are in the same town as the Mastroberardino Winery and have Taurasi wines from Mastroberardino going back to the legendary 1968.

Michelle Kwan wanted to drink an older white wine, so we ordered a 2003 Greco di Tufo made from 100% Greco di Tufo Pietracupa. This winery has 3 hectares of vineyards. The soil contains a thin layer of clay and sand over a core of  tufa, a rock formed from volcanic ash. The wine has hints of lemon, pear, honey, white peaches and a touch of almonds.

In addition to being introduced to some memorable wines, this trip  it a great lesson in the culinary riches of Irpinia.

 

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In Praise of Old Dolcetto

Recently on Facebook I posted pictures of a number of wines that are not supposed to age. They were all Dolcetto and all from the 1970’s.

There were many comments: “You must like geriatric wines,” “prove to me they are not corked,” and “you’re adventurous.”  Some expressed complete disbelief and a few actually agreed with me.  Here are the wines with my comments.

 

Dolcetto D’Alba 1971 Bruno Giacosa This was amazing — a Dolcetto almost 50 years old. It was in very good condition with subtle hints of red and black fruit. I had this wine for Thanksgiving-2019  and  these  comments  were  from  my  blog  post.

I had another bottle on January 2 and it was still amazing.

Dolcetto Cru Nassone La Morra 1971 made from 100% Dolcetto Marcarini/ Cogno  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 and black cherry with a touch of violets and almonds. It was showing no signs of age. Fantastic! From a blog dated September, 30 2019.

Dolcetto delle Langhe “Vigneto Sinaglio” 1979 Ceretto- This I had between Christmas and New Years and It was showing very well.

Dlocetto d’Alba 1970 Riccardo Ceretto –  light pink in color, it had fallen apart and was undrinkable and tasted like vinegar.

The most common problem with old wines is that they are oxidized, damaged by heat (maderized), cooked or fall apart and taste like vinegar. These problems are often caused by poor storage.  A corked wine is corked from the time the cork is put into the bottle at the  winery so if that is the case age does not matter.

Even wines made from grapes that are supposed to age well have this problem of storage. The conditions under which a wine is stored is very important. Old wines being held longer in storage and sometimes moved from place to place and even from owner to owner have a much better change of of spoilage.

When you buy old wines even from grapes that are supposed to age well, you are taking a chance.  Make sure when buying older wines that your retailer has a return or exchange policy if the wines are bad.  It’s worth taking a chance, however, and I had an opportunity to drink three wonderful wines, one twice.

 

 

 

 

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Tasting Wine and Olive Oil at Villa Raiano

After enjoying some of the wines of Villa Raiano at dinner in their restaurant I was looking forward to tasting more of them the  next  morning at the winery.

Once again Federico Basso and his cousin Brunella Basso were there to welcome us. Federico showed us around the winery and then he conducted a very interesting and informative tasting of the wines.

There was one white from the 2018 vintage, 4 whites from the 2017 vintage, and a red aged in concrete and amphora.

Fiano di Avellino 2018 made from 100% Fiano DOCG-DOP from vineyards located at I Candida (450 meters), Lapio (500 meters), San Michele di Serino (500 meters) and Montefredane (450 meters). The training system is guyot and there are 4,500 vines per hectare. The soil is calcareous- clay, marly clay and sandy silty. Harvest is by hand the first week of October. After a gentle crushing of whole bunches to get free run juice, fermentation takes place with inoculated selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks and aging is in stainless steel tanks. The wine is bottled the second week of February following the harvest.

Federico explained that this was one of the wines in the Classics Line. They are a tribute to the land and the term “Classic” is used because according to the production tradition here in Irpinia, it was common to produce wines with grapes coming from vines located in different municipalities of the different production areas. They look for the most suitable balance, combining grapes from vineyard positions in different areas. The wine has hints of citrus fruit, apple, white flowers and a nice finish and long aftertaste.

Michele Kwan, a member of the Wine Media was on the trip with me and asked if the Classsic line was their “entry level wines”. While Federico was thinking I said these wines were too good to be called “entry level wines” and Federico agreed.

The following white wines Federico called “the vines” made from single vineyards or plots.

Federico showed us the different soils that the white wines come from and spoke about the importance of terroir.

Fiano di Avellino 2017 “Alimata” made from 100% Fiano–the night before with dinner we tasted the 2013 and it was excellent.

Fiano di Avellino 2017 “Ventidue” made from 100% Fiano. Federico said this wine is called Ventidue because 22 Km is the distance between the vineyard in Lapio and the winery. The vineyard is at 540 meters, the soil is calcareous-clay, rich in tallow sandstone. The training system is guyot and there are 4,500 vines per hectare. There is a gentle crushing of whole bunches and fermentation with selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks. The wine remains on the lees for 12 months in stainless steel and in bottle for 12 months before release in October of the year following the harvest.

Federico said in 2017 the weather was very hot though not as hot as 2003 but drier, and there was very little rain. Production was down 38%.

Fiano di Avellino 2017 “Bosco Satrano” made from 100% Fiano from vineyards that over look the winery in the municipality of San Michele di Serino in the province of Avellino in Contrada Bosco Satrano. The 4,400 vines were planted in 2009 and cultivated with the principles of organic farming, guyot trained, with calcareous soils at 510 meters. The vineyard faces northwest, facing Monte Partenio. Fermentation and aging same as above.

When we had the Fiano with dinner the night before, Federico said his Fiano has the aroma of an apple the grows on Mount Tubenna. I was able to smell the apple in a restaurant and all of the Fiano I tasted here really does have that  aroma.

Greco di Tufo 2017 “Ponte Dei Santi” 100% Greco. Federico said Greco di Tufo is a small appellation but has numerous shades in terms of terroir. In the upper section of the district of Ponte dei Santi of Altavilla Irpina (Avellino) is their small 1.3 hectare vineyard. The vineyard is at 550 meters. There are 4,500 vines per hectare, the soil is sandy-silty with dark clay incursions. Harvest is the first week of October. Fermentation and aging same as above.

Both Fiano and Greco can age for 15 years or more. I gave the slight edge to Greco but Federico said it was Fiano that he believed could age longer.

The main difference between Fiano and Greco is the Fiano has an apple aroma and hints of hazelnuts. Greco has more body, takes on a slightly honey quality with age and has hints of hazelnuts.

Costa Biano Irpinia Campi Taurasi DOC 2016 100% Taurasi from a single plot shaped like an amphitheater in the central part of a 9 hectare vineyard located in the municipality of Castelfranci (Avellino) at 500 meters. There are 4,500 plants per hectare, the soil is calcareous clay on yellow sandstone with organic elements and the training system is guyot. Harvest is the first 10 days of November. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with daily punching down and pumping over. Maceration on the skins is for 10 days.

The wine matures 50% in cement tanks and 50% in terracotta amphorae. The wine is bottled in October following the harvest. This was the first time I have tasted Taurasi aged in cement and amphorae. It has all the characteristics of Taurasi but seemed to be a much lighter style and more approachable. I liked it.

Olive Oil Tasting tasting with Federico.

  Olio Extra Vergine di Oliva “Sabino Basso” Monocultivar Ravece made mostly from Ravece olives grown almost exclusively in the province of Avellino.  It has a green color and a more or less intense olive aroma with hints of herbs, bitter spice, green tomato leaves and artichokes.

Olio Extra Vergine Di Oliva “Sabino Basso” DOP Penisola Sorrentino” mostly made from Minucciola olives. The oil is a straw yellow color with a delicate fruit flavor, hints of rosemary, mint, and aromatic herbs, with a touch of bitter spice, and a note of lemons typical of the Sorrentino Peninsula.

Federico at the Temple of Neptune

On the last day we went to the ancient Greek Temples at Paestum.

There are three temples on the site: Temple of Hera, Temple of Neptune and the Temple of Athena. The guide at the site said that the temples are also known by different names.  We also visited the National Museum at the site. I really enjoyed the visit to the site and to the museum as it helps you the understand the culture and history of the region.

After visiting the temples we went to Caseificio Vannulo, a farm that has 600 water buffaloes that produce milk for mozzarella, yogurt, ice cream ricotta, etc., which are all for sale.  There is a restaurant, museum and leather shop. I first visited Vannulo 12 years ago and it was not so “modern.”  Even through it was only a two and a half day trip I had a wonderful time thanks to the people at Villa Raiano

 

 

 

 

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Exploring Irpinia with Villa Raiano Winery

Villa Raiano, a winery in Campania, invited me to visit,  taste their wines, enjoy some local restaurants and see the sites.  Though it was only a two and a half day trip, I accepted eagerly.

We arrived in Avellino after a three-hour ride from Rome in the rain. Michelle Kwan, a fellow wine writer and member of the Wine Media Guild was the only other person on the trip.

That night we had dinner in the Villa Raiano winery and restaurant. Federico Basso, welcomed us at the winery.

Federico is the Direttore Commerciale of this family run winery. He is a young man passionate about his wines and the Irpinia area in general and he is very knowledgeable, informative and interesting.

Villa Raiano was established in 1996 by Sabino Basso, with his brother Simone and his brother-in-law Paolo Sibillo. The winery is in Serino, a short drive from Avellino and about one hour from Naples.

He said the symbol of the winery is the wolf because for many years wolves roamed this area.

The new winery was built in 2009 and it is a very impressive structure both inside and outside. Federico said it is a building perfectly integrated into the neighboring environment surrounded by vineyards and oak woods. From the roof of the winery we could see the valley bellow and the Sabato River that descends from Mount Terminio.

Federico said Irpinia is a fertile land of water and wine. It is a cold land, different from the rest of southern Italy. However the intertwine of mountains and hills crossed by rivers and creeks make this piece of the southern Apennines a unique and inimitable place to grow vines.

Federico showed us a large wall map of the wine growing areas of Iripinia. He said viticulture in Irpinia has an ancient history. It developed along two rivers that are both from the Tuoro-Terminio massif of the Southern Apennines, but run in two different directions. Along the banks of the river Sabato which flows on the east side, there are two municipalities with two grape appellations of the province of Avellino: Fiano di Avellino and Greco di Tufo. While along the banks of the river Calore, which flows on the west side, there are the red grape appellations all linked to the Aglianico grape, especially Taurasi.  Villa Raiano owns vineyards is each of the appellations of the province of Avellino which are very different from each other.  They have 27 hectares of vines divided between Fiano di Avellino DOCG, Greco di Tufo DOCG and Taurtasi DOCG

The wines of Villa Raiano with Dinner and commentary by Federico:

Ripabassi Spumante Brut Methodo Classico NV made from 50% Fiano and 50% Greco from vineyards located in San Michele di Serino at 250 meters and Altavilla Irpina 550 meters (Avellino). The training system is guyot and there are 4,000 to 5,000 vines/hectare. The soil is sandy silty, calcareous with volcanic ashes for the Fiano and sandy silty with dark clay incursions for the Greco. Harvest takes place the last week of August. Federico said that the exact proportion of Fiano to Greco depends on the vintage. After a gentle crushing of whole bunches, fermentation takes place with selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks, the second fermentation takes place in bottle. The wine is bottled the last of the month of November or December following the harvest. The wine remains on the lees for at least 24 months before it is disgorged. This is a Spumante with good bubbles, hints of citrus fruit, pears, apple and a hint of hazelnuts.

With the Spumante we had little fried pizza Montanara, anchovies and butter on toast and a crisp dough puffs filled with boffalo mozzarella  and  prosuitto

Greco di Tufo DOCG 2018 made from 100% Greco di Tufo from 3 different towns of the province of Avellino: Montefusco, Tufo, 500 meters and Altavilla Irpina 550 meters. The soil is calcareous-clay, loose with skeleton fossils and there are 4,500 vines per hectare. Harvest takes place the first week of October. After the gentle crushing of whole bunches to get the free run juice inoculation with selected yeast takes place. Fermentation and aging is in stainless steel on the lees for at least 4 months. The wine is bottled the second week of February following the harvest. The wine has hints of citrus, apricot, peach and floral notes with s hint of almonds.

Hand made pasta with chickpeas, codfish tartare and provola cheese

Fiano dinAvellino “Alimata” 2013 made from 100% Fiano di Avellino. Alimata is the name of a district of the town of Monteferdane, Avellino, on the eastern slope of the hill at 350 meters. The vineyard is two hectares and the soil is hard clay based on marly layers. Harvest is the first week of October. Federico said the winemaking is simple but based on a long processing time. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks and the wine ages in stainless steel on the lees for 12 months and 12 months in bottle before release. This is an exceptional Fiano with hints of honey, pears, peaches, apple floral notes and a touch of hazelnuts. I was very impressed with this wine.

Federico said the  apple aromas come from the Annurca apple grown at the foot of the Tubenna Mountain, they are sweet a little bitter and aromatic. This apple variety does not ripen on the tree. It is picked unripened in autumn, laid on straw mats and left to ripen in the sun without getting rotten. Federico said that his Fiano as the aromas of this apple. In a restaurant we were given an apple to smell and he was right.

Hand made Fusilli pasta with typical sausage and tomato sauce

Taurasi DOCG 2012 made from 100% Aglianico from vineyards located in Castelfranco at 500 meters. The training systems are guyot, cordon spur and pergola avellinese (traditional in Avellino). The soil is calcareous clay on a base of yellow marns with a good level of organic elements. There are 4,500 plants per hectare and the manual harvest takes the first 10 days of November. Fermentation is in stainless steel tanks with daily punching down and pumping over. Maceration lasts for 10 to 20 days depending on the vintage. Aging takes place in oak barrels of different size for about 12 months, stainless steel for 12 months and 12 months in bottle before release. The wine was bottled in September of the second year following the vintage. The wine has hints of blackberry palm, licorice, tobacco, smoke and a touch of cured meat. This was the must approachable but it will age.

Beef cheeks  braised  in  red  wine  with mashed potatoesandvegetables

Taurasi DOCG 2013 This is a big tannic youthful wine that will age for a very long time

Taurasi DOCG 2014 This will also age but I give the edge to the 2013.

Millefoglie with almond cream

Grappa Greco di Tufo to finish a very delightful dinner.

Federico said the restaurant is open to the public.  They do catering and and over 200 wedding were celebrated there last year.

 

 

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Another Wonderful Christmas Dinner with Tom & Diane

It has become a tradition  now  for a number of years that Michele and I trade holiday meals with Tom Maresca and Diane Darrow.  Tom is a wine and food writer and Diane is a food writer and they both have excellent blogs.  We do Thanksgiving and they do Christmas.

As always we started with Champagne. Champagne Aubry Brut Premier Cru NV Aubry Fils made from 55% Pinot Meunier, 25% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir, 5% Arbanne and Petit Meslier ad Fromenteau. The assemblage is 50% base with 50% perpetual reserve dating back to 1998. The vineyard/ village: Jouy-les-Reims and Villadommange 1er Cru. It has hints of white flowers, green apple, lemon and a hint of toast.

With the Champagne we had  two little pastries, gougeres  flavored  with  prosciutto  and  cheese  and  pastry  pinwheels  filled  with  liver  pate.

Coullee de Serrant 2003 Nicolas Joly made from 100% Chenin Blanc from a seven hectare vineyard from old vines located on very steep slopes dominating the Loire Valley. Cultivation is by horse or hand. The grape harvest is done 5 times over a 3 to 4 week period to obtain the most colored, mature and the most grapes marked by botrytis. The wine is aged in 500 liter barrels, with never more than 5% new wood. The winery is biodynamic. The wine is bottled with a light filtration, no fining and a low amount of sulfur. The wine was showing its age but very drinkable with hints of passion fruit and honey.

With the white wine we had  baked crepes  filled  with bechamel,  gruyere  and  ham.  

Domaine Henri Georges Nuits St Georges 2003 made from 100% Pinot Noir. This is a complex wine with hints of dark red fruit, plum and blueberries, it was drinking very well and showing no signs of decline.

With this wine we had  a prime  rib roast which  was  perfectly  cooked.

The  beef  was  accompanied  by  green  beans  with  onions  and  a shiitake  and  potato  gratin.

Barolo 1989 “ Cannubi” Prunotto made from 100% Nebbiolo. !989 was a exceptional vintage for Barolo. The legendary Beppe Cola made this wine before he sold the winery to Antinori. This is classic Barolo at its best with hints of cherry, blueberry, licorice, and a touch of spice. A great wine in a great year!

A variety of cheeses to finish the wine.

 

The Chocolate Grappa Cake Michele brought for our dessert was a recipe that she had developed for an article in Gourmet Magazine some years ago.  Diane supplied the delicious cookies, peanut butter, chocolate chip and nut snowballs.

It was another wonderful holiday meal.  I hope you all ate and drank as well as we did.  Happy New Year!

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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”

HAPPY NEW YEAR

 

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