The State of Champagne 2016

Sometimes I get a little bit crazy about some aspect of wine. Right now that aspect is Champagne. ‘Tis the season so I’ve but together a 40 page overview of the State of Champagne today with a particular focus on Grower Champagnes.

Please click below for a .pdf  which you can read on screen or print to read later.

The STATE of CHAMPAGNE 2016

champagne

Champagne Friday: DELAMOTTE Brut Champagne NV

So I really tasted this Delamotte (actually drank two bottles) at dinner at Vietnam on 19th Street in the Heights with a group of friends on Thursday. And I know today isn’t Friday. It’s still (barely) Monday but a lot has happened in the mean time, such as the whole Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition which I worked all day Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes life gets in the way but I am trying to post on a more regular basis. Any any case, this bubbly is worth the wait.

DELAMOTTE Brut, Champagne, NV
Tech Note: 12% Alcohol. A blend of 50% Chardonnay, 30% Pinot Noir, and 20% Pinot Meunier with all of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes coming from Grand Cru vineyards. The Chardonnay comes primarily from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Avize, and Oger. The Pinot Noir is from vineyards along side the Marne river in Bouzy, Tours-sur-Marne and Ambonnay. The Pinot Meunier comes from the Vallée de la Marne.  Delamotte uses no oak, allows three years on the lees, uses no particular yeast selection, and uses only a little reserve wine to guide the wine.      Sensory Note: pale straw in color. Dry, medium-plus-bodied with fresh acidity. Toasty, earthy, rich. Lots of feel and flavor in the mouth. Ripe citrus and some red fruit. Lovely Texture. Enough mineral but not over the top.     Bear Note: Really Delicious in a lovely, fresh but satisfying, more aperitif style. I can’t get enough of it. BS: 94. ($39.00)

Do yourself a favor and let it warm up and flatten out a bit in the glass for more richness and depth. Or even decant it into a large carafe before serving into wine (as opposed to Champagne) glasses.

A Champagne Quote:

Gentlemen, in the little moment that remains to us between the crisis and the catastrophe, we may as well drink a glass of Champagne. – Paul Claudel

CHAMPAGNE FRIDAY – J.P. MARNIQUET Brut Tradition, Champagne, NV

IT HAS BEEN a busy week. I had 25 Bordeaux winery reps (owners, directors, winemakers, etc.) in town for a 2009 cru classé tasting (more on which later) and all the attendant busy-ness that goes with that as well as a lot of other STUFF. So this is the very first chance I have had to post since last Champagne Friday. I was due, even over-due, for some Champagne but, as last week, had no late Friday appointment so I have had to soldier on alone. Now, you know I love Champagne but you may not know of my particular fondness for that toasty-biscuity note that come from Pinot Meunier. I don’t want it all the time but when I want it, nothing else will do. It is the Champagne equivalent of comfort food. So many people think of Pinot Meunier as an inferior grape but I think of it as a sort of guilty pleasure. And of course it is essential for lower-priced Champagnes intended to be drunk young. But I digress. This Friday’s Champagne is J.P. MARNIQUET Brut Tradition. Located in the Vallee de la Marne, J.P. Marniquet is a grower and estate bottler of Champagne I have been working with over the last four years. Spec’s carries three of the cuvées but the basic (and least expensive) cuvée – Brut Tradition – is a personal favorite for that particular Pinot Meunier-biscuit note. It was just what I needed.

J.P. MARNIQUET Brut Tradition, Champagne, NV
Tech Note: 12% Alcohol. A blend of a shocking 50% Pinot Meunier, 35% Chardonnay, and 15% Pinot Noir from an RM (recoltant manipulant) producer.      Sensory Note:  Straw in color,  fully sparkling. Dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity.  Toasty-yeasty-biscuity with lively lemony citrus and some red fruit with limestone mineral and a hint of spice. Really very long finish.      Bear Note: Delicious,  focused, fresh, alive-in-the-mouth. Really hit the spot. Yum. BS: 92.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that this is not one of Miss Carol’s favorites (but she will drink it in a pinch).

To paraphrase from “I love Paris”:
   I love Champagne in the summer.
   I love Champagne in the fall.
   I love Champagne in the spring and winter.
   But I love Champagne Friday best of all!

CHAMPAGNE FRIDAY – GODME Pere et Fils Brut Reserve 1er Cru, Champagne, NV

This Friday finds me sipping GODME Brut Reserve 1er Cru with David “Big Bottle Dave” Gundelach of Favorite Brands. Godme Pere et Fils is a small Recoltant Manipulant (estate bottler of Champagne) or “RM” located in the cru of Verzenay in Champagne’s Montagne de Reims. RM producer’s grow their own grapes and complete the whole winemaking and champenizationincluding bottling and disgorgement on their own premises. Godme owns vineyards in the grand cru villages of Verzenay, Verzy, and Beaumont sur Vesle and in the premier cru villages of Villers-Marmery and Villedommange.

GODME Pere et Fils Brut Reserve 1er Cru, Champagne, NV
Tech Note: 12% Alcohol. A blend of 55% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot Noir, and 35% Pinot Meunier blended with 50% reserve wines already aged at least three years to make the cuvée. The cuvée is kept en tirage (on the lees) for 3 years.     Sensory Note: Yellow in color, bright, clear,  and fully sparkling; dry, medium-bodied with fresh acidity.    Very toasty and rich with lots of yeast character. Dark fruit and citrus in a fine balance with earth and mineral notes.     Bear Note: Refreshing but has enough weight and richness to satisfy and to go well with richer foods (Salmon, caviar, oysters,etc.) Quite delicious. If only there were some salmon, caviar, or oysters about. BS: 93.     ($38.00)