No wine is better known through the world as the epitome of joy and festivity more than Champagne. We decided it would be fun to pop some corks and sample sparkling wines from several regions as well as the famous area in France, both on their own and accompanied with comestibles. Our casual start came with a glass of Sancerre and appetizers including shrimp cocktail and crostini with different toppings. We then turned to our bubbly excursion with three wines.
“A Festive Introduction” – Bortolotti Prosecco began our tour in the Veneto with a lighthearted sparkler giving a note of sweetness and easygoing finesse showing effervescent acidity to complement many foods.
“Surprise From Home” – Gruet hails from Albuquerque and its French heritage showed in their Brut by a quality befitting a much pricier sparkler. A rich fruity nose and full body were well represented by the classic blend of two parts Chardonnay to one of Pinot Noir.
“Humble But Savored” – Many fizzy wines can be found from regions of France other than Champagne, and we had good representation with a Tissot Crémant bottling that has been the house wine for Jean-Robert at Pigall’s, a favorite restaurant of the Chaîne as well as the entire area. Starting with a bright fruity nose and a hint of yeast, this went very dry on the palate to stand well with a wide spectrum of foods.
For an intermezzo our chef brought forth a trio of savories. A delightful homey fried green tomato was partnered with herbed foccacia and fried goat cheese cake to settle our burgeoning appetites. Next were the Champagnes!
“Small Is Beautiful” – My favorites have long been from the petite producers and Gosset-Brabant has done terrific bottlings at down to earth prices. Our Premier Cru Brut Blanc de Noirs had full fruit with a touch of hazelnut to give aromatic elegance while a slight sherry bite in mid-palate segued into a yummy finish.
“Distinguished In Youth” – Egly-Ouriet provided a spectacular bottling of Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs that, while still young, had the profile of an aged Champagne. Aromas of spicy yeast, caramel and nuts aroused our interest to taste a clean graceful style that had a lightness belying a strong backbone. To further enjoy our Champagnes we had a buffet with contrasting choices of foods to experiment and research different combinations.
“The Majic Revealed” – La Spinetta is better known for Barolos and the logo of a stubborn rhino, but also makes a Moscato d’Asti that is transcendent. A marvelous nose of tangerine, perfume and roses previewed a delicacy and light balance of sweetness and acidity without any cloying notes. We finished this with a sparkling Chardonnay ice cream and a blissful acknowledgment to the world’s most celebratory style of wines. Salut!
J.T. Mayer, Vice Chargé de Presse