Many of our readers know from our blog post Champagne-Why I love this area, that we never tire of Champagne! Bill focuses on non-vintage Champagne for this post, and allows the armchair traveler a tour of the Champagne Wine Region.
Bollinger Champagne, the James Bond favorite, was founded in Ay in 1829. The house style is centered around the Pinot Noir grape, and therefore is a fuller champagne, as Chardonnay in the Champagne region tends to have a lighter style than in neighboring Burgundy. It selects 80% of its grapes from grand cru and premier cru vineyards, which are themselves only 20% of the Champagne appellation. The Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée ($50) only uses juice from the first pressing of the grapes, although legally, they would be entitled to use the fruits of the second pressing as well. Double 0-7 would be reassured by their devotion to high quality.Deutz Champagne, now owned by Louis Roederer, was founded in 1838. Their Deutz Brut NV ($35), equal portions Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier, is fermented not in oak, but in stainless steel. That probably accounts for the lighter taste, and crisp citrus notes. I found it distinctive, and a bit spicy. Their Blanc de Blanc 2004, 100% Chardonnay ($65), had wonderful floral notes. The Deutz Rosé Brut 2006 ($70) also featured floral aromas, and was mouth filling, with hints of cassis and pomegranate. This Deutz Rosé was a much fuller rosé champagne than one usually finds. It is elegant and effervescent, a rosé wine for family celebrations if there ever was one!The A. Jacquart Cuvée Special Blanc de Blancs ($40), was lively in the mouth, flavorful, with a lingering finish. Their A. Jacquart 1er Cru Brut Expérience Blanc de Blancs ($40), was crisp and somewhat lemony, and would go nicely with seafoods or oysters. We were lucky to taste this bottling, as only 500 cases were made. The A. Jacquart Blanc de Blancs 2002 ($50) was pale golden yellow, a concentrated champagne with a longer finish. I found it of high quality, auguring well for the 2002 vintage.
When should you drink your holiday champagnes? Nobody has improved on the advice of the legendary Lilly Bollinger. “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I am alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry, and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch it – unless I’ m thirsty!” Of course you could always explore this lovely region, our most popular Champagne Sojourn is a great way to do so.
What’s your favorite champagne? Let us know below?