CHAMPAGNE UPDATE: Bordeaux, Rodeo, and Laetitia Rosé (and a quote)

By now you’ve figured out that I love Champagne. And other Champagne-like sparkling wines. You might say that I am an aficionado of fizz. And so you know that my blogging hiatus did not correspond to a break in the bubbly. At work at Spec’s, I’m always tasting and some of those tastings include bubbles. My time at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, offered numerous opportunities to sip fizz while both patronizing and teaching at the Champion Wine Garden. And Champagne is the only wine other than Bordeaux regularly served in Bordeaux.

Champagne in Bordeaux

Heading for the barn after a day of plowing at Ch. Pontet Canet.

It started at lunch on my first Monday in Bordeaux. After tasting a spectacular barrel sample of Ch. Pontet Canet 2011 (once again a star of the vintage) and getting a meet-and-greet with the five equine stars of Pontet Canet (the gorgeous Brittany Poste horses that plow and otherwise work the vineyards), owner Alfred Tesseron poured Taittinger Comtes des Champagne Blanc de Blancs before a lovely lunch. On the Tuesday arrival of my Spec’s colleagues, we sipped some Charles de Cazanove Brut at our lodgings at Ch. Magnol. Thursday lunch at Lyon d’Or started with Laurent Perrier Brut NV. Before Thursday dinner at Ch. Pichon Baron, we sipped Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle. After a tour and tasting and before lunch at Ch. Canon La Gafelliere, owner Stephan Neipperg poured Bollinger Special Cuvee – which he says they buy by the pallet and age an extra three years before serving. (I believe it; this was the best Special Cuvee I have ever tasted.) On Sunday, we had a Billecart Salmon Rose on the front terrace of the Grand Hotel. The second Monday brought Dom Perignon 2000 before at lunch with Bruno Borie at Ch. Ducru Beaucaillou and Tuesday brought Bollinger Vintage at lunch in Jean Charles Cazes home at Ch. Lynch Bages. Thursday Lunch at Ch. Haut Bailly started with Pol Roger (which I love in France but usually find to be off condition in the US). Somewhere in the midst of all that, we also drank some Henriot Brut NV. Our Saturday dinner at Ch. Trocard offered not Champagne but Trocard’s fine Cremant de Bordeaux which filled in admirably.

As good and lovely and even extravagant as all this was, the wine of the hiatus I most want about is the one I drank the most of at this year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo: Laetitia Brut Rosé 2007. Laetitia’s Rosé won the Top Sparkling Wine Award in the 2012 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition and so was on the list at the Show’s Champion Wine Garden. I think I had a glass every time I walked through or even passed the wine Garden.

LAETITIA Brut Rosé, Arroyo Grande Valley, 2007
Tech: 12.5% Alcohol. An unspecified blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with some oak-aged red Pinot added for color made using Methode Champenoise and left en tirage (on the yeasts) for 24 months. Sensory: Pink-salmon-orange in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity and very light phenolics. Offers red fruit essence (cherry, raspberry and stawberry) with balancing citrus, some mineral-earth, and plenty of toasty yeast. Fresh and refreshing while satisfying with a richer feel in the mouth. Completely delicious. Fine food fizz. At the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, I drank some with the earthy-greasy, still hot, fresh-fried potato chips from the food court vendors. Magnificent. BS: 92+. ($26)

Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right. – Mark Twain

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