Champagne Friday: DOM RUINART Blanc de Blancs 2004

dom-ruinart-2004-bouteilleThe Forgotten Dom.
Dom Perignon everyone knows. Dom Ruinart – not so much. Which is a shame as Ruinart is the oldest Champagne house (established in 1729 by Nicolas Ruinart in Reims). While Ruinart makes an excellent Non-Vintage Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($44.64) it is the vintage-dated tete de cuvee Dom Ruinart Blanc de Blancs that stuns. A recent tasting of the 2004 showed a wine too good to ignore.

DOM RUINART Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, 2004 ($129.99)
A 12% alcohol, 100% Grand Cru, 100% Chardonnay (Blanc de Blancs) blend from the Côte des Blancs (69%) and the Montagne de Reims (31%).      Gold-straw in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-full-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and scant phenolics.  Fine, and quite elegant, but somehow juicy with citrus and tree fruit. Lovely feel and great flavors with fully integrated chalk-mineral and toasty yeast notes. Complete. Refreshing and delicious even as it satisfies. BearScore: 97.


I’m only a beer teetotaller, not a Champagne teetotaller. I don’t like beer. – George Bernard Shaw


Here are some of the things that caught my eye and/or tickled my palate this week (ending 10/25/14) in wine.

The Friday Fizz: BARONS de ROTHSCHILD Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, NV
The three wine-growing branches of the Rothschild family have joined together to start a new Champagne house. They wanted to work at a high level and so went to numerous grower/producers and bought up (at great expense) small lots of reserve wines with which to start so their three cuvees would have real depth and richness. The three wines are a Brut, a Blanc de Blancs, and a Rosé. (Read More)

The Daily Drinker: EXPRESSION 38° “Russian Camp” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 2012
Expression Wines are just that – expressions of the terroir found at different latitudes along the west coast of the US. Expression 44° is Eola-Amity Hills in Oregon. Expression 39° is Anderson Valley in Mendocino County. Expression 34° is Santa Rita Hills in California’s Central Coast. And Expression 38° is the Sonoma Coast (which includes the Russian River Valley). Bill Hill developed and for the most part has subsequently sold vineyards in all these area but he continues to buy fruit from his “grown children” with which to make these wines which he feels are the very Espression of the terroir found in these sites. (Read More)

Upcoming Events:
Please join Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton on Tuesday, October 28th, at 7pm for PARSING ZINFANDEL. It’s been a few years since we have dug into Zin and with the arrival of the 2012s in Texas, I think we’re due. We’ll look at and taste 12 wines from all over Sonoma County (the spiritual home of Zinfandel) and a couple from Napa as well, all from the 2012 vintage. We’ll talk about Zin and blends, the terrors and techniques used to make it, and the food we eat with it. The class will include bread and a selection of fine cheeses to accompany the tasting. (Read More)

Sixteen Wines – Four Chateaux – Four Verticals
d’Armailhac – Branaire Ducru – Calon Segur – Cantenac Brown
On Tuesday, November 4 at 7pm, please join me (Spec’s fine wine buyer Bear Dalton) at the Wine School at l’Alliance Française for a unique Bordeaux tasting featuring four verticals from four great Haut Medoc chateaux: Ch. d’Armailhac in Pauillac, Ch. Branaire Ducru in St. Julien, Ch. Calon Segur in St. Estephe, and Ch. Cantenac Brown in Margaux We will taste the 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 vintages from each of these properties. This is the second in a series of vertical tastings where we look at four vintages of four top wines. I think it will be fun and informative. (Read More)

A very good and very thorough if long article on aging Champagne before and after disgorging.
By Patrick Schmitt
… Champagne’s top tier, prestige cuvée, is increasingly promoting pricier expressions of the same products based on the complex concept of extended ageing on lees. The idea that something might cost more because the production is tiny, the packaging is pretty, and the object has been genuinely hand crafted is easily communicated. Furthermore, most consumers in wine and spirits are happy to incur an added expense for something older, especially if it is directly sourced from the producer. But telling consumers they are paying more for the interaction of a wine and its sediment, including the by-products of a secondary fermentation in bottle, is harder, and especially when the science of this relationship is little understood. (Read More)

By Khaleda Rahman
Champagne tastes better from a normal wine glass, say scientists. Normal white wine glass emphasises aroma and fizz in more complex wines, says Frederico Lleonart, global ambassador for Pernod Ricard But simple sparkling wines should still be served in flutes as it shows off bubbles better. Experts say champagne tastes better when served in an ordinary wine glass. When toasting a special occasion with a bottle of bubbly, classy champagne flutes are the obvious choice for many. And while it may go against tradition, experts are urging drinkers to ditch their crystal flutes in favour of an ordinary wine glass. (Read More)

by Elin McCoy
(Elin McCoy declares that she’s a terroirist when it comes to Champagne and that its winemakers are among the most avant-garde.)
My Champagne ideal is not just a glass of dependable, consistent bubbly to toast a promotion or celebrate an anniversary. Yes, I know the region is a place where concepts of brand, blend and house style reign supreme, but I think the most exciting development taking place now in Champagne is the antithesis of all that. The growing number of producers departing from tradition to make single-vineyard and single-village wines that reveal the region’s micro-identities are providing the thrills. (Read More)

Bordeaux fifth growth Pontet-Canet will have to sell the 2012 vintage of its second wine as Vin de France.

By Wink Lorch
Les Hauts de Pontet-Canet, the second wine of Château Pontet-Canet, will not bear the prestigious AOC Pauillac label for the 2012 vintage after the wine was rejected by the official tasting panel. Instead its legal definition will be Vin de France. When Alfred Tesseron, owner of Château Pontet-Canet learned about the decision, he told the regional newspaper Sud Ouest: “I do not understand. This has never happened in my 30 years of work here. Fortunately, my négociant customers have put their trust in me: almost none have cancelled their orders.” (Read More)

The Busy Wine Lover’s Guide to CLOS DES PAPES
Family-owned Domaine Paul Avril has roots almost as deep as the vines of Châteauneuf du Pape, and its wines have turned into an investment favorite.
By Jane Anson
One of the stalwarts of Châteauneuf du Pape, Clos des Papes is an intrinsic part of the history of the appellation – the plot of vines that gave the estate its name is located within the walls of the former Papal vineyard where the popes of Avignon had their summer palace; you can’t get much more authentic than that. The Avril family has been popping up as consuls, treasurers, councilors and mayors of the village of Châteauneuf since the 1700s, and the first ever Clos des Papes was produced way back in 1896. If all that’s not enough, the current owner’s great-grandfather, Paul Avril, was instrumental in setting up the first appellation rules here that were, incidentally, the first of their kind in France. Down the generations came Régis, then Paul and now Paul Vincent Avril (who – perhaps not surprisingly – goes by the name Vincent). The current Avril-in-residence has built on his father’s legacy to turn the estate from a local legend to a global star. (Read More)

And an interesting article on cocktails
By Pete Wells
All mixed drinks can be divided into two categories: good and not good. A cocktail that you finish involuntarily, that moves to your lips again and again without requiring you to decide to raise your arm, is a good one. A cocktail that you finish because you hate to waste alcohol, or one that you don’t finish at all, is not good. This is the binary theory of cocktail criticism. Lately, an awful lot of the cocktails I’ve had in restaurants have landed with a splat in the “not good” category. Some are rudely sour, or pointlessly bitter, or ickily sweet, or phonily complicated, or just too reminiscent of a spoonful of Robitussin with a hangnail of lemon peel floating on top. Others aren’t actively bad in any of those ways, but they don’t glide down the back of your throat, either; they’re simply not good. (Read More)

Champagne Friday: BOLLINGER La Grande Annee 2002

Grande Annee.
Barrel-fermented vintage Champagne.
Aged over 9 years on the yeasts.
The Champagne of James Bond.
The Champagne of Lily Bollinger (see quote below).

BOLLINGER La Grande Annee Brut, Champagne, 2002 ($126.99)

A 12.3% alcohol blend of 6% Pinot Noir and 34% Chardonnay from all Grand and Premier Cru vineyards. 100% underwent primary fermentation in small oak casks. Disgorged November of 2012 so over 9 years on the lees.
bollingerGrandeAnnee2002Gold-straw in color and fully-sparkling; dry, medium-full-bodied with fresh acidity and scant (but present) phenolics.  Lovely, rich, developed. Supple feel. Fine mix of toasty layered red fruit and citrus but the complete integration of the whole including the toasty-yeast and mineral terroir is the amazing thing here. Stunningly good Champagne that continues to develop in the glass for as long as you can keep some in your glass. BearScore: 98+.

(A rerun of maybe the best Champagne quote ever)
I only drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not in a hurry and drink it when I am, otherwise I never touch the stuff unless I am thirsty. – Madame Lily Bollinger

CHAMPAGNE FRIDAY: DELAMOTTE Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, NV

DelamotteBdBAt last Tuesday’s 2011 Bordeaux dinner we started with Delamotte Blanc de Blancs. Why? Why not? The elegant 100% Chardonnay Champagne was a delicate but satisfying prelude to the symphony of flavor that followed. I think everyone quite enjoyed it and I know I wish I had had a bit more, even with all the fine Bordeaux that followed.

DELAMOTTE Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, NV ($58.89)
Tech: A 12% alcohol, 100% Chardonnay Cote de Blancs (from the area around les Mesnil) Champagne made from base wines fermented in stainless steel tanks including the 10% of reserve wines that are utilized. It develops on the lees for 5 years prior to disgorgement, while the legal minimum is 15 months. Finished truly brut with a minimal dosage.   Sensory: Straw in color and fully sparkling. Dry, medium-light-bodied with crisp acidity and scant phenolics. Fine, focused, supple. Citrus and mineral with yeast and real power. Lovely; elegant but engaging Champagne. Catches you with its elegance and vividity. Great tension. Vibrant in the mouth but ultimately satisfying. Perfect aperitif. BS: 94+.

Champagne Quote:
Champagne is one of the elegant extras in life. – Charles Dickens

(Not Quite) Champagne Friday: LUCIEN ALBRECHT Cremant d’ Alsace Rosé

I love bubbly Rosé but I can’t always afford to drink my preferred pink Champagne. So when pink fizz is the required tipple and my finances aren’t cooperating, I look to Tasmania (Jansz Brut Rosé), Burgundy (François Labet Cremant de Bourgogne Rosé), and Alsace (Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’ Alsace Brut Rosé). I’ve already written about the Jansz and I’ll get to the Labet (I need a more current note) so here’s my recent note on the Albrecht from Alsace.lucien-albrecht-cremant-d-alsace-rose

LUCIEN ALBRECHT Cremant d’ Alsace Brut Rosé, Alsace, NV ($19.94)
A 12% alcohol, 100% Pinot Noir sparkling Rosé made using rapid cuvaison and methode champenoise and aged nine-months on-the-lees before remuage and disgorgment.     Sensory: Salmon in color and fully sparkling. Dry and medium-bodied with refreshing acidity and a scant hint of phenolics. A richer-style bubbly with some red fruit and a nice bit of balancing citrus along with notes of earth and toast. Lovely feel in the mouth with enough weight to work with a wide range of foods (Maybe seared scallops over pasta?). YUM. BS: 91.

Champagne Quote:
Tiny bubbles in the wine…make me feel happy, make me feel fine.Don Ho

Champagne Friday: BONNAIRE Brut Variance Blanc de Blancs, NV

BONNAIRE is and long has been a favorite estate-bottler of fine Champagne from the Cotes de Blancs, With their production facility in Cramant and most of their vineyards in Cramant Grand Cru, they also have vineyards in Bergeres-les-Vertus (Premier Cru). I think of Bonnaire as a great source for fresh lively elegant Blanc de Blancs Champagnes. But then there is this Variance. Bonnaire Variance is a blanc de blancs but (unlike any of Bonnaire’s other cuvees) it is barrel-fermented and aged and goes through malo-lactic fermentation in barrels before the champenization process. Barrel fermentation and full malo-lactic are very unusual in Champagne and this is an unusual wine in that it has the elegance of chardonnay with the additional richness and depth that comes with the oak barrels as well as some roundness from the malo-lactic fermentation with all of that being enhanced by 68 months spent en tirage (on the lees) before disgorgement and another six months in the cellar before release.

bonnaire-bottle-variance-smallBONNAIRE Brut “Variance” Blanc de Blancs, Champagne, NV ($41.79)
A 100% Chardonnay Champagne with 70% of the grapes coming from Cramant (Grand Cru) and 30% from Bergères-Les-Vertus (Premier Cru), fermented and aged in oak barrels with full malo-lactic fermentation prior to methode champenoise. 68 months on the lees before disgorgement. Finished with a dosage to bring it to a dry brut level of 6 grams of sugar per liter. Sensory: Seems almost a combination of fine bubbly and fine White Burgundy. The fruit is more in the lemony citrus range (typical of Blanc de blancs) but the mineral and oak are there as well. The mineral is Champagne’s chalk (The Cote de Blanc is the heart of Champagne’s chalk) rather than the Cote d’Or’s limestone. The oak is not new but the character of the barrels is there as a complement. The whole is a delicious, fresh but satisfying Champagne with a unique appeal. Delicious. BS: 94+.
Note: Due to its depth and richness, this is a blanc de blancs that transends aperitif status and can be used with food at the dinner table. Recommended serving temperature is 50-53°F.

CHAMPAGNE QUOTE: In success you deserve it and in defeat you need it. – Sir Winston Churchill

(Not Quite) Champagne Friday: YARRABANK Sparkling Cuvee, Victoria, 2004

Yarrabank2004YARRABANK is a joint venture begun in 1993 between Yarra Valley’s (Victoria, Australia) Yering Station and Champagne’s Devaux. The wine is made from grapes grown in both the Yarra Valley and on the Mornington Peninsula.The first wines were based on the 1996 vintage. this 2004 is the current release. Along with the Jansz wines from Tasmania, these are the best sparklers I have had from Australia and some of the best from the new world.

YARRABANK Sparkling Cuvee, Victoria (Australia), 2004 ($19.39)
A 12.5% alcohol methode champenoise blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay along with 13% reserve wines aged in large oak, all from Mornington Peninsula and Yarra Valley aged 48 months en tirage before disgorgement and dosage to 0.34% sugar (very dry). Pale-gold-straw in color and fully sparkling; quite dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity and scant phenolics. Offers fresh lemony citrus and apple fruit with plenty of toast and enough mineral to keep it focused. The reserve wines supply some richness and more texture in the mouth. Refreshing and quite delicious. Could be mistaken for Champagne and pretty good Champagne at that. More in the aperitif style with real elegance. BS: 92+.

“But Champagne is not drinking.”
said actor David Niven, when asked why he was drinking

A Passion for Pink Champagne

It used to be a cliché in the wine business that Valentine’s Day was the time of year to promote Rosé Champagne. More often than not, the “champagne” (little “c” intended) promoted was André or Paul Masson or Taylor New York or (maybe) Korbel. It was fizzy and pink but it wasn’t Champagne. Back then, there was some real Rosé Champagne in the market but no one (trade or consumer) much knew what to do with it. My, how times have changed.

VCPVR2004Today, Rosé Champagne is riding a more than decade long wave of increasing popularity all over the world and especially in the US. Rosé is recognized for its extra weight and richness and for its ability to accompany a wider range of foods to go deep into – or even all the way through – a meal. Who is driving the Rosé bus? Well, mostly women. And that is also who drives the Valentine’s Bus. The men may be doing most of the spending but the shopping list (check list?) comes from the ladies. Reservations? Card(s)? Gift? Chocolate? Rosé Champagne? See what I mean?

In my case, the reservations have given way to prime tenderloin (served with a great red wine) at home but the evening still starts with Rosé Champagne and ends with chocolate. (There are three reasons for this change: amateur night with too many drinkers out on the road, crowded, over-loaded, often over-priced restaurants with restricted menus and seatings, and the fact that we can drink better wine for less money at home (and still have a simple but elegant meal at our own pace).

Here’s a list of some of the best Rosé in the market and a bit about each. Some are richer and some are more elegant. There is a Rosé for every style, purpose, and budget. Ok, I’ll admit that even the least expensive of these can be a bit of a splurge but it is Valentines Day (which only comes around once a year) and you don’t want to miss checking that box on the check (shopping) list, now do you?

TAITTINGER Cuvee Prestige Rosé, Champagne, NV ($64.39)
A 12% alcohol blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with 15% Red from Ambonnay and Bouzy to give it its Rosé color.   Orange-salmon in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-plus-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and very light phenolics.  Lots of earthy red fruit with softer style but has the citrus to keep it fresh. Much more on the food Champagne side of things. BS: 91.

MOET & CHANDON Brut Rosé NV, Champagne, NV ($51.89)
A 12% alcohol blend of 40% – 50% Pinot Noir (10% red wine), 30% – 40% Pinot Meunier: (10% red wine), 10% – 20% Chardonnay (don’t you hate it when they won’t tell you what the actual blend is?)   aged 21 months en tirage and dosed to 0.9% residual sugar.      Salmon in color and fully sparkling dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity and scant phenolics.  Cleaner and fresher style Rosé but more fine and elegant than most. Classic Chamapgne Rose medium red fruit with enough citrus. Manages to be both fresh and satisfying. Splits the difference between white Champagne and the richer Rosés. BS: 92.

NICOLAS FEUILLATTE Brut Rose NV, Champagne, NV ($43.99)
A 12% alcohol blend of 10% Chardonnay, 60% Pinot noir, 30% Pinot Meunier with 18% of the Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier being the red wine in the blend. 25% reserve wines. Aged 3 years en tirage.   Sensory: Salmon Rosé in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-bodied with balanced acidity and scant phenolics.  Supple, earthy, toasty, rich, ripe, red fruit rosé offering real depth. Fine food fizz. BS: 92+.

CHARLES HEIDSIECK Rosé Reserve, Champagne, NV ($69.29)
A 12% alcohol Pinot Noir 30-40%, Chardonnay 25-30%, Pinot Meunier 30-40% from vineyards all over Champagne with over 35% composed of reserve wines with the cuvee aged en tirage for 36 months.    Pale-orange-onion skin in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity.  Very pale style of Rose offering more citrus and a bit of red fruit. Smooth and rounded with lots of freshness. Fine feel with just enough richnesss. Lovely. If you didn’t know it was Rosé, you probably wouldn’t know it was Rosé. BS: 93.

BOLLINGER Rosé, Champagne, NV ($94.39)
A 12% alcohol blend of 62% Pinot Noir, 24% Chardonnnay, and 14% Pinot Meunier (all but the Pinot Meunier is 1er cru or grand cru) initially fermented in a mix of small Stainless Steel Tanks and Oak Barrels with only 6% red wines added and aged over 36 months en tirage and finished brut with a 0.75 residual sugar dosage.   Pale-copper-salmon in color and fully sparkling; , medium-bodied with fresh acidity and scant phenolics and a very long finish. Earthy rich dusty red fruit. Juicy, toasty, dusty. Rich satisfying food Champagne. Absolutely lovely. Delicious.. Excellent. BS: 93+.

VEUVE CLICQUOT PONSARDIN Brut Rosé, Champagne, NV ($55.39)
A 12% alcohol blend of mostly Pinot Noir with some Pinot Meunier and a bit more Chardonnay with 12% red Pinot Noir added before the second fermentation.    The wine is salmon-orange in color and fully sparkling dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and scant phenolics.  Tasted with several other Rosés, this is a richer and “foodier” Champagne Rosé with lots of red fruit (along with enough citrus) and a supple toasty richness from lots of reserve wines. Still plenty fresh with a lovely feel. Deeply satisfying. This is Champagne to go with steak tartar or carpaccio or even simple pasta dishes (but hold the red sauce). BS: 93+.

BARONS de ROTHSCHILD Brut Rosé, Champagne, NV ($118.74)
A 12.5% alcohol blend of 85% Chardonnay with 15% still red Pinot. Noir.  The Chardonnay is from the Cote du Blanc (Avize, Cramant, Mesnil-Sur-Oger, Oger and Vertus – all Grand crus), The Pinot Noir is from the Montagne de Reims. (40% of the total comes from reserve wines). Aged on the lees for 9 months.      Sensory: salmon-orange in color; dry, medium-bodied with balanced acidity and very light phenolics.  Richer with more red fruit. Lots of fruit and lots of toasty richness with enough chalky minerality to keep it elegant. Long and again, quite food friendly. This is Champagne to keep. BS: 94.

RUINART Rose, Champagne, NV ($80.74)
A 12.5% alcohol blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay all from premiers crus vineyards including the estate vineyards in Sillery and Brimont selected vineyards in the Côte de Blancs and the Montagne de Reims.     Pink-orange-salmon in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-plus-bodied with  fresh acidity, light phenolics.    Earthy, lovely rich with red fruit. Great length and super feel. Despite the Chardonnay content, this is almost red wine masquerading as Champagne. BS: 95.

PERRIER-JOUET Blason Rose, Champagne, NV ($75.99)
A 12% alcohol blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay.  Grapes are pressed in the Grand Cru village of Cramant (in the Cote de Blancs) in Perrier-Jouët’s traditional wooden presses. After it is racked, the clear juice is transported to Épernay for primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks. After Champenization and 6 years of age, the wine is disgorges and dosed to 11 grams of sugar per liter (about 1.1%).   Sensory: Salmon-pink in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-full-bodied with softly balanced (for a bubbly) acidity and light phenolics.  Richer and fresher with fine freshness. Riper red fruit with just a touch of citrus. Darker floral and subtle toast.     Bear Note: This is much more vinous tasting than most Rosé Champagnes. Delicious. This is a GREAT food rose. Excellent. BS: 95.

PERRIER JOUET Belle Epoque Rose, Champagne, 2004 ($282.79)
A blend of 45% Pinot Noir from the Montagne de Reims and 55% Chardonnay from Cramant and Avize in the Cote de Blancs aged 6 years en tirage (on the yeasts) and finished with a 0.9% dosage    Sensory: Copper-salmon in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium light-bodied with freshl acidity and scant phenolics.  Rich with notes of red fruit and citrus to go with mineral earth and subtle toast. Lovely, integrated, complete. Delicious food friendly Rosé. BS: 96.

VEUVE CLICQUOT PONSARDIN Vintage Rosé, Champagne, 2004 ($77.69)
A 12.5% alcohol blend of  62% Pinot Noir, 8% Pinot Meunier, and 30% Chardonnay (The same base blend as the 2004 Vintage) with 15% red Pinot Noir from Bouzy made using straight forward methode champenoise.   Sensory: pale salmon in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and scant phenolics.  On the initial taste, this is the best wine of the night. The others may wake up and pass it in a bit but this is showing the best fresh from the bottle. Mixed red cherry-berry and citrus fruits beautifully integrated with earth and toast and richness. A delight in the mouth. Satisfying, long, delicious, and complete. GREAT food Champagne.  BS: 97.

Champagne Friday: VCP Brut Rosé, NV

Here it is Friday evening and I have fallen down on the job. Time to pick up the slack and get a Champagne Friday posted. Luckily, I have just tasted – or rather drunk – a bit of Clicquot Rosé which was the cream of a nice tasting of Rosé bubbly I did today for an upcoming article on pink fizz (coming next week in time for Valentine’s day). Special thanks to Robert Gilroy (perhaps Houston’s most eligible bachelor) and the ladies in the office who helped me dispose of the evidence.

VCPPinkVEUVE CLICQUOT PONSARDIN Brut Rosé, Champagne, NV ($55.39)
A 12% alcohol blend of mostly Pinot Noir with some Pinot Meunier and a bit more Chardonnay with 12% red Pinot Noir added before the second fermentation. The wine is salmon-orange in color and fully sparkling dry, medium-bodied with freshly balanced acidity and scant phenolics. Tasted with several other Rosé bubblies, this is a richer and “foodier” Champagne Rosé with lots of rich red fruit (along with enough citrus) and a supple toasty richness (from lots of reserve wines). Still plenty fresh with a lovely feel in the mouth. Deeply satisfying. This is not aperitif Champagne; rather it is to go with salmon or steak tartar or carpaccio or even simple pasta dishes (but hold the red sauce).  YUM! BS: 93+.

After all, what is your host’s purpose in having a party? Surely not for you to enjoy yourself; if that were their sole purpose, they’d have simply sent Champagne and women over to your place by taxi. – PJ O’Rourke

Champagne Friday: PJ Pink

blason-rosePolar vortex, rain, ice, and not knowing how to drive on ice seem to be the topics of the day. My solution is to go home and drink some Champagne. My choice is Perrier Jouet’s quite excellent Blason Rosé. With some truffle popcorn. And a favorite old movie. Or two.

PERRIER-JOUET Blason Rose, Champagne, NV ($75.99)
A 12% alcohol blend of 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay.  The grapes are pressed in the grand cru village of Cramant (in the Cote de Blancs) in Perrier-Jouët’s traditional wooden presses. After it’s racked, the clear juice is transported to Épernay for primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks. After Champenization and 6 years of age en triage, the wine is disgorged and dosed to 11 grams of sugar per liter (about 1.1%).   Sensory: Salmon-pink in color and fully sparkling; dry, medium-full-bodied with softly balanced (for a bubbly) acidity and light phenolics.  Offers riper red fruit with just a touch of citrus along with a darker floral note, some earthy richness, and subtle toast. This is much more vinous (with a bit of red wine character) tasting than most Rosé Champagnes. Delicious; GREAT food Rosé. BS: 94.

Champagne offers a minimum of alcohol and a maximum of companionship.” – David Niven