Monday, April 09, 2007

Some Sparklers

I have a bad habit with Champagne. I rarely buy it because it's expensive and because I don't really know much about it. But sometimes, for a special occasion I buy a bottle and stick it in the fridge - Champs can handle the cold of the fridge longer than still wine. My problem, though, is that I usually find an excuse to open the bottle before the special occasion comes. Since having a baby though, I find that the reverse is true - I cannot seem to open the bottles on the special occasion as planned.

I think I'm starting to agree with whoever it is that said "don't wait for a special occasion to open a bottle of Champagne, the special occasion is when you open a bottle of Champagne." It is so extravagant, such a luxurious feeling to drink Champagne. I know, it's cliche, but it's true. Here are my three recent Champagne experiences:

I wanted a nice bottle to drink with BrooklynLady when we came home from the hospital with BrooklynBabygirl. Any reasonable person might have told me that we would not feel like, nor would we have time to open Champagne with a 3 day old baby. Amy at Prospect Wine Shop recommended the NV Lallement Brut Grand Cru, $40 ($36 at Chambers Street) to me. The bottle sat in the fridge for almost 2 weeks until the in-laws came to town. Special occasion? Yes. The one I had in mind? No. The Champagne? Truly delicious - I would have to say it's my favorite Champagne, although the sample size is admittedly rather small.

Honeysuckle and other floral aromas, some chalk too. Vivid fruit palate, green apple, citrus, with a mineral chalk finish. This Champagne is mostly Pinot Noir - 80% I believe. And it's just delicious. I would definitely recommend it as a special bottle. I have not yet tried the Reserve bottle, but that is definitely in my future.

I bought a bottle of rose Champagne for Valentines day and hid it in the vegetable crisper in the fridge. BrooklynBabygirl was just a couple weeks old then and things were not so easy on the home front.Valentine's day was, to be diplomatic, not celebrated with the typical glee in our house this year. So it was a nondescript Thursday night later in February, a cold night if I remember correctly, and BrooklynLady and I were hanging out while baby slept, and were reminded that we do, in fact, adore each other. So out with the Champs!

NV Chartogne Taillet Brut Rose, $45 (Prospect Wines).
Very frothy, medium sized bead. Lovely salmon color. Strawberries, raspberries, and chalk on the nose. A red fruit palate, some cream too, and a pleasantly chalky finish. Food friendly and delicious, although I would prefer it if it were a bit drier. Probably not a great value, considering that there are "grower" Champagnes of similar, if not higher quality available at lower prices. $25-30 nowadays can buy a great bottle of "grower" Champagne...

We hosted a dinner party the other night, our first since the baby was born. Lots of fun - great company, the food was mostly successful, and I had fun vacillating back and forth on the wine pairings. Adam came with a lovely bottle of Champagne, and this helped me avoid my bad habit, as I was not able to open it while cooking, or to forget it in the fridge. He walked in, we popped it, that was it. And at about $25, the best value of the three to be sure.

NV Georges Gardet Cuvee Saint Flavy, about $25.
Fine bead, thick mousse. Floral aromas, some citrus too. Prominent minerals on the palate, very dry. A lingering floral finish. A very lovely bubbly that I couldn't stop sipping, although I was doing my best to go slow, considering we had about 6 bottles of wine to get through over the course of the evening. I would definitely buy this Champs - best $25 bottle I've tasted.

We happened to open a bottle of Prosecco next to the Gardet Champagne that night, and I will tell you that there was an entire world of difference between these wines. The Prosecco was clean and pleasant, but utterly simple next to the Champs. The balance of mineral, floral, and fruit, all in that elegant bubbly package...I could really get used to this. And that would be another bad habit entirely.


Anonymous said...

We discovered Lallement at a Terry Thiese tasting a few years ago. For me it was the star of that tasting. It was the first time I had really seen the light with "growers" Champagne. At the end of the tasting I went back an re-tried it. It was flat and it was still wine and very drinkable. We also had a Gaston Chicquet at that tasting which I remember was also very good but I preferred the Lallement mainly because it was mostly Pinot Noir and the Chicquet was mostly Chardonnay.

We too do not open Champange or sparkling often enough but now our "baby" is 4.5. The good news is we've managed to have 2 this week! Two Italians: a Giacosa and a Bellavista Rose. Cheers!

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Joanne,
How lovely to hear from you. Your response to my email about Clos Rougeard (way back when) was partly what inspired me to keep this online diary.

Anyway...fully agree on Lallement. Have you tried the Reserve? It's $10 more but I suspect it is fantastic. I haven't tasted the Chiquet yet but I will soon.

And the warm and flat test is the best for sparklers, I agree.

Take it easy, thanks for your comments.