|a selection of champagnes|
from left to right:
Launois Grand Cru, Le Mesnil Sur Oger, NV. I understand this wine to be highly coveted in France, I say, we're very lucky to have it stateside--buy it if you can find it. This blanc de blancs Champagne has all the crisp character of a fine chardonnay, is mineral-y and nutty somehow and a bargain at around $40.00 a bottle. Take a case.
Lamiable, Millesime, Brut Grand Cru, Tours-sur-Marne, 2004. This vintage blanc de noirs is quite unique--I love its yeasty headiness; the bubbles are on the larger size, it's intoxicating in all the right ways. About $60.00 a bottle. Take two, at least.
Pol Roger, Extra Cuvee de Reserve, Brut, Epernay, NV. This blended wine was a staple while working in NYC where the price was ridiculously around $30.00 a bottle--almost as cheap as water. I've found it again but now for about $45.00 a bottle, still affordable for keeping in the fridge ready to go. Its fine bubbles, light and dizzying, carry a floral and fruity palette to the finish. So glad to be re-acquainted. If you can't find the house's Winston Churchill, start with this selection instead.
Bollinger Special Cuvee, NV. If it's good enough for HM Queen Elizabeth II, then it's good enough for you and me. This was the first bottle of champagne I opened at my own parties this year, then moving on to another selection. I hope you arrived early. This beautiful blended champagne rewards with layers of almond, toasted bread and anise. It's a coupe, or two, of magic. In magnum bottles this sells for around $100.00.
Marguet Pere & Fils, Reserve Grand Cru and Rose Grand Cru, Ambonnay, NV. These champagnes come from the grower-producer Benoit Marguet and use the pinot noir and pinot meunier grapes predominantly. The body of each wine is fuller and rounded than those produced with the chardonnay grape (in general) and each is a reward to be discovered. They are difficult to find but worth seeking out. These wines are about $40.00 and $65.00 respectively.
Dom Perignon, Brut, Epernay, 1999. Confession up front: I drank this wine too soon. It was a gift from a client and I sat on it for two years but the temptation grew too great this past year. I recall that it was refined and graceful but it did not measure up to the 1988 I had about five years ago. Or was it more like 7? I needed to wait on this one. And you should snatch one up now if you can still find it and wait on it too.
Charles Heidsieck, Rose Reserve, Brut, Reims, NV. A rose champagne full of pear and currant tastes, with a bit of orange and cherry thrown in for sweetness. I loved this selection. It said 'old fashioned' is the best of ways. At $75.00 a bottle it's a nice special occasion champagne without breaking the bank.
Some other notable tastes from the past year:
Tattinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs--elegant, old fashioned, a dream. $200.00
Pommery Cuvee Louise, 1995--a stunning selection, a favorite splurge. $175.00
Pierre Gimmonet et Fils, Brut, 2005--I love this grower-producer and each wine they produce. A bargain at $50.00.
Gaston Chiquet, Brut, NV--now heralded by the NYTimes, so you won't be able to find it, but I've been serving this for two years now and it's great, especially at around $40.00 a bottle.
Mary Kay from Out and About in Paris sends this photo:
These single servings are VINTAGE 2004--that's classy. But give me a full bottle.
Best to you all, and Happy New Year!