Halpern Portfolio Wine Tasting October 27: Champagne Barons De Rothschild tasting with Frederic Mairesse, and Julian Hitner

Champagnes Tasted:

N/V Blanc de Blanc – 100% Chardonnay from Côte des Blancs; green/gold in color; white fruit aromas, with notes of exotic fruits typical of Chardonnay grapes; lively bubbles; persistent in the mouth; a well balanced with nice acidity with a fresh, long finish – 95/100

N/V Rose – Pale rose colour with some hints of salmon; delicate red fruit aromas; fine lively bubbles; Silky and smooth in the mouth surprising through its delicacy and refinement; good length on the finish 93/100

N/V Brut – Rich and classic complex style, showing abundant toasty reserve-wine complexity, grilled nuts, nougat, some red fruits and spice; fine to medium bubbles; Creamy texture and a good finish 92/100

Halpern Portfolio Wine Tasting October 27: Champagne Gosset tasting with Philippe Manfredini



Champagnes Tasted:

N/V Grand Blanc de Blanc – A golden yellow with delicate green tints; fine lively bubbles; mineral and floral notes on the nose with apricot and citrus; very fresh with great harmony on the palate – overall a crisp and well-structured champagne – 93/100

2000 Grand Millesime Champagne – A bright, sparkling radiant yellow gold; Lively and effervescent bubbles; the initial nose exhales rich, complex notes; there is an atmosphere of a delicate notes almond, dried herbs, butter-pastries, honey, then notes of boxwood and incense with a subtle final note of menthol; the palate is lovely and fresh, dominated by Chardonnay; The wine’s consistency and richness is a signature of its wonderful maturity, the sweetness is perfectly balanced – 91/100

N/V Grand Rose Brut Champagne – A strong, clear salmon-pink hue; The nose is reminiscent of fresh summer fruits and berries with some insistent fragrances of cinnamon and nutmeg; The mouthful is generous, opulent and ripe marrying roundness and concentration with minerals and strawberry flavors. Infinitely silky, its elegant perfume and velvet bubbles tantalize the taste buds and caress the palate. The finish is remarkable, delicate and refined – 93/100

TOMORROW IS #CHAMPAGNEDAY – HERE IS A CONDENSED GUIDE FOR YOUR CHAMPAGNE SIPPING

THE PRACTICAL PART
Not every wine that sparkles can be called Champagne. True Champagne comes from a special region in France located 90 miles northeast of Paris. Champagne has a legendary history, and has for many hundreds of years been part of many cultural events and historical traditions. This region has a combination of chalky sub-soils and cool climate, which produces the only grapes in the world that can yield the Champagne of legends!

Grape Varieties and Styles
The three primary grape varieties that that are used to make Champagne are pinot noir, pinot meunier and chardonnay. The dark-skinned pinot noir and pinot meunier give Champagne its length and backbone, while chardonnay gives it acidity notes and biscuit flavour. There are several other grape varieties that are permitted for historical reasons, and are used occasionally.

Non-vintage
A non-vintage Champagne includes a blend of grapes from several vintages. They also have a consistent style, and are made for immediate consumption. Most Champagne is non-vintage. Only a few non-vintage Champagnes will benefit from further aging.

Vintage
Champagne vintages are declared only for outstanding harvest years and are made from a single harvest year. The producers reserve their finest fruit for this style of Champagne, adding to its desirability. Not every year is declared a vintage year.

Presitge Cuvées
This is a proprietary blend, the top of the producer’s range, and is most suitable for cellaring. The trend is that these Champagnes come delivered in very expressive, distinctively-shaped, and labeled bottles. These Champagnes are usually made with grapes from Grand Cru vineyards.

Blanc de Blancs
Blanc de blanc is a French term that means “white of whites”, and is used to designate Champagnes made exclusively from chardonnay grapes. The blanc de blancs style is popular as an apértif due to their light, dry taste.

Blanc de Noirs
Blanc de Noirs is another French term that means “white of black”. This sounds like a contradiction, but it is not. What it tells you is that the Champagne has been made only using black grapes. Champagne made from black grapes are typically full bodied with intense richness.

Rosé
Rosé Champagnes are produced either by leaving the clear juice of black grapes to macerate on its skins for a short time or, the common method, by adding a small amount of still pinot noir red wine to the sparkling wine.

Sweetness (Brut to Doux)
In addition to classifying Champagne styles, classifications are also used to refer to sweetness. The amount of sugar added after the second fermentation and aging varies and will dictate the sweetness level of the Champagne.

• Brut: dry, less than 1.5% sugar (most common)
• Extra Sec: extra dry, 1.2 to 2% sugar
• Sec: medium sweet, 1.7 to 3.5% sugar
• Demi-Sec: sweet, 3.3 to 5% sugar (dessert Champagne)
• Doux: very sweet, over 5% sugar (dessert Champagne)

THE FUN PART – TASTING
What can you see? What can you smell? What can you Taste? Champagne deserves your undivided attention. You need time to appreciate its colour, effervescence, savour its aromas and define its dominant impressions.

Before you pop the cork, there are a few basic tips:

• Flutes should be clean and free of any traces of detergent or rinsing agent [could cause Champagne to flatten]
• Avoid all forms of perfume, i.e., personal or room fragrance [these will interfere with the appreciation of the aromas]
• Ideal drinking temperature is [8° – 10° C] – chill the bottle for 20 minutes in an ice bucket filled with ice
• When pouring, fill the glass only two-thirds [this allows the aromas to circulate]
• Once the Champagne is poured, allow some time for it to open up

Colour and Appearance
Once the Champagne is poured, place a sheet of white paper behind the glass try to identify the shade.

Colours can range from: pale gold; green gold; grey gold; straw yellow; yellow gold to antique gold. For rosé Champagnes colours range from coral pink, salmon pink to deep pink.

How does the Champagne look to you? Is it limpid, sparkling or silky?

And what about the bubbles, are they: light; fine; lively; plentiful or slow?

Nose
Once the initial effervescence has subsided, bring the flute to your nose and inhale slowly, at length and then inhale again.

How do you describe the aromas? Are they floral, fruity, vegetal, or does the aroma remind you of dried fruits or some other indulgent delicacy?

Floral aromas can range from rose, lime blossom, orange blossom or violet.

Fruity smells will range from grapefruit, apple, pear, quince, peach, apricot, nectarine, mango, banana, lychee, coconut, cherry or currant.

Vegetal bouquets range from almond, grass, fern, to truffle.
Dried Fruit odours range from hazelnut, raisin to dried fig.
Other indulgent delicacy aromas include butter, brioche, toast, honey, candied fruit, vanilla and various spices.

Mouth
Champagne reveals its complex personality best on the palate.

Try rolling the Champagne around your mouth – there is bound to be a dominant impression.

How does the Champagne feel?

Does it feel powerful, solid, comforting, smooth, light, mature, or opulent?

Now how would you describe the impression?
Is it creamy, delicate or complex?

Go ahead and enjoy what is hiding inside your flute!

To participate in tomorrow’s festivities, follow the #ChampagneDay hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and on other social media sites. For more information about #ChampagneDay or the worldwide effort to protect wine place names and origins, please visit http://bit.ly/rhBcbh or www.champagne.us.

Liz Palmer
coHost for #ChampagneDay
@champagneHouses
http://about.me/lizpalmer

iPad2 WINNER ANNOUNCED: ERIC MUELLER IS THE OFFICIAL WINNER OF #CHAMPAGNEDAY LABEL CONTEST

The Champagne Bureau recently hosted a contest as part of the #ChampagneDay celebrations. To promote appreciation for and protection of true Champagne, the Champagne Bureau asked participants to send and post pictures of authentic Champagne labels.

Over 300 submissions were received, and can be viewed on their Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/pGmv1F.

Congratulations to Eric Mueller, he is the lucky winner of an iPad2!

Did you know that October 28th is the second annual Champagne Day?

To participate in tomorrow’s festivities, follow the #ChampagneDay hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and on other social media sites. For more information about #ChampagneDay or the worldwide effort to protect wine place names and origins, please visit http://bit.ly/rhBcbh or www.champagne.us.

Liz Palmer
coHost for #ChampagneDay
@champagneHouses

Champagne Bar Launch: “Bubble in Paris” at Hilton Arc de Triomphe exclusive with Taittinger Champagne

Hilton Arc de Triomphe Paris has partnered with Taittinger Champagne to create “Bubble in Paris” a Champagne bar that resembles a life-size snow globe – what fun!

The translucent bar was designed by Jean-Hugues de Chatillon, who drew inspiration from the mythical realm of Narnia, to bottle a miniature winter wonderland.

The 16-foot tall dome will house an all-white, central, circular bar, a lounge that can accommodate 35, and is open now through New Year’s Eve.

WHAT TO ORDER: the signature special €25 for a glass of Taittinger Champagne.

Liz Palmer
@champagnehouses