Recap of the 2014 San Francisco #ChampagneTasting

I attended the Champagne region’s official annual United States tasting in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 21st.   The  tasting was held at the Westin St. Francis on Union Square.

The event celebrates Champagne: the sparkling wine produced in the French region of the same name. Only after strict appellation regulations are followed – from harvesting entirely by hand to how much juice may be extracted when grapes are pressed to minimum time in the wine spends aging in bottle on its lees before release– can a wine be labeled Champagne.

The event is part of an October full of festivities celebrating America’s love of Champagne, concluding with the fifth annual Champagne Day on Friday, October 24.

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The event was organized by the Comité Champagne (Comité interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne – “C.I.V.C.”), which represents all the grape growers and houses of Champagne. The C.I.V.C. promotes and supports the growers and producers through vineyard management and winemaking research and development, international protection of the Champagne name, and of course promoting Champagne

This was the fifth time the tasting was held in the United States, and the second time San Francisco was chosen to host the event.

Recap of the 2014 SF #ChampagneTasting

Now this is the way to start one’s sunny San Francisco afternoon…flute in hand and an embarrassment of Champagne riches ahead!

The Tasting

The event was held  in the Alexandra Ballroom on the 32nd floor of the Westin with breathtaking views of San Francisco and the Bay.  There were 37 brands represented and over 100 wines available for tasting.

It was a very well-organized event that included a comprehensive and accurate booklet of the wines being poured that had plenty of room for notes.

Each brand had a table around the perimeter of the ballroom. And each brand presented three wines – a Multi-vintage Brut, a Vintage, and a wine of their choice.

Additionally there was what I’d call “Champagne Island” in the middle of the room with a bunch of tables strung together to create what appeared to be two very long tables – One each for the multi-vintage wine and the vintage wine.

Perfect for the “power” tasters, and/or folks who wanted to avoid the marketing spiel.

Since I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t have a tasting plan…but that didn’t last long.

First, I decided to taste all the multi-vintage Brut wines on Champagne Island first because those are the most affordable, and the most widely available (multi-vintage wine represent about 80% of all Champagne sold).  Next, I tasted all the Rosé Champagne. Those were available at the tables of the producers who decided to show a Rosé. And finally, it was back to Champagne Island to taste as many of the Vintage wine as time and my, by then, tired palate would permit.

Recap of the 2014 San Francisco #ChampagneTasting

Champagne Island – where Champagne wishes do come true!

I used a simple scoring system – a scale of 1-5.

Okay, let’s keep it real.  It is Champagne after all – it was more like 3.75 – 5 because there wasn’t a dud in the bunch.

I ended up tasting 70 wines.  My favorites, which I scored at least 4 points are listed below by category:

Recap of the San Francisco #ChampagneTasting

A couple of my favorite multi-vintage blends

Multi-Vintage

  • Delamotte Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
  • J. Lassalle Champagne Brut Reserve Cachet d’Or
  • Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Premier
  • Michel Gonet Champagne Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
  • Moutard Père et Fils Champagne Brut Grande Cuvée
  • Nicolas Maillart Champagne 1er Cru Brut Platine
  • Philipponnat Champagne Royale Réserve Brut
  • Pol Roger Champagne Brut Réserve
  • Taittinger Champagne Brut Réserve / La Française
Recap of the San Francisco #ChampagneTasting

A few of my favorite vintage Champagne including a couple of Prestige Cuvee!

Vintage

  • 2002 Charles Ellner Champagne Brut “Seduction” Millésimé
  • 2002 Delamotte Champagne Blanc de Blancs Millésimé
  • 2006 Drappier Champagne Grande Sendrée
  • 2007 Louis Roederer Champagne Brut Vintage
  • 2002 Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne Brut Cuvée Palmes d’Or
  • 2004 Paul Goerg Champagne Cuvée Lady
  • 2002 Pol Roger Champagne Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill
  • 2006 Taittinger Champagne Brut Millésimé
Recap of the San Francisco #ChampagneTasting

A few of my favorite Rose Champagne

Rose

  • Ayala Champagne Cuvée Rosé Nature
  • Bruno Paillard Champagne Rosé Brut Première Cuvée
  • Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Rosé Reserve
  • Duval-Leroy Champagne Brut Rose Prestige
  • Gosset Champagne Grand Rosé Brut
  • 2008 Louis Roederer Champagne Rosé Brut
  • Michel Gonet Champagne Brut Réserve
  • Philipponnat Champagne Réserve Rosée
  • Pierre Paillard Champagne Brut Rosé Grand Cru
  • Taittinger Champagne Brut Prestige Rosé
  • Vollereaux Champagne Rosé de Saignée

Conclusion

This is the best time to a Champagne lover and consumer. There are more choices available then ever, and the quality of Champagne is the highest it’s ever been across the board.

As I tasted through the wines, I couldn’t help but wonder how individual wines would pair with food.  Champagne is one of the most food friendly wines you can drink. Don’t limit your consumption of Champagne to a cocktail or aperitif.  Given a bit of thought you can pair it throughout a meal. While in Champagne last month (check out the links below ), I enjoyed several Champagne wine pairing meals. What a treat!

Happy #ChampagneDay!

Related posts you might enjoy:

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Martin Redmond is a San Francisco Bay Area based Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2010 Kenneth Volk Touriga Nacional Pomar Junction Vineyard

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2010 Kenneth Volk Touriga Nacional Pomar Junction Vineyard.

The Winery

 From Kenneth Volk Vineyards (“KVV”)…“Proprietor Ken Volk has been making Santa Barbara and Central Coast wines for more than a quarter century. Perhaps best known as the founder of Wild Horse Winery, Ken has earned a reputation for crafting world-class wines, particularly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Santa Maria Valley.

Kenneth Volk has mentored many winemakers including Neil Collins of Tablas Creek, Terry Culton of Adelaida Cellars, Jon Priest of Etude, Larry Gomez of Lockwood Vineyards, Scott Welcher of Opolo Vineyards, and Karl Wicka of Turley Wine Cellars and The Missing Leg. He is an active supporter of the viticulture, enology and wine marketing programs being developed at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Volk has a keen interest in alternative or “heirloom” grape cultivars such as Malvasia and Cabernet Pferrer. He describes himself as an “innovating traditionalist” who likes to create multifaceted wines”.

KVV has tasting rooms in both Santa Maria and Paso Robles

My wife and I have been to KVV in Paso Robles a few times.  It’s always an interesting  and tasty visit.  We love that we get to try wine made from lesser know grape varieties like Aglianico, and Negrette.  Ken is a wonderful winemaker whose style we appreciate.

The Wine

Touriga Nacional is a red grape traditionally grown in Portugal’s Douro and Dao wine-growing regions. It traditionally plays a big part in the blends used for Port,  but is increasingly being used for table wine in the Douro and Dão

In many ways, Touriga Nacional is Portugal’s answer to France’s Cabernet Sauvignon. Both varieties display bold dark-fruit flavors, often with hints of spice, leather and violet – winesearcher.com

The grapes for this wine were source from the Pomar Junction Vineyard, which is located in the newly delineated El Pomar District of the Paso Robles viticultural appellation.

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My tasting notes follow:

Violet color with plum, blueberry, violet and lavender aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with prominent acidity and a soft texture with soft well-integrated tannins. It shows plum, ripe mixed black and red currant, vanilla and sweet spice flavors. Med long finish. 13.6% alcohol; Retail – $36;  Drink now

Rating: A-;  I love trying lesser know grape varieties, and this wine is a winner! Touriga Nacional FTW!

Pair with: Paella Valenciana, or a grilled rib-eye steak!

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
_________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Budget Friendly Wines for Budget Friendly #SundaySupper

The theme for this week’s #SundaySupper is all about budget friendly dishes.  The thing about the best budget friendly foods is that one doesn’t feel doesn’t feel cheated.  You still can still get a delicious healthy meal if you invest a bit of time into achieving satisfying results.

It’s the same with wine.  Just like it’s not hard to find satisfaction is a steak and lobster dinner from a pricy restaurant, I don’t think it’s difficult to find a great $50 dollar bottle of wine if you know what you like.

Ah, but if I can find a $10 or 15 dollar bottle of wine that’s satisfying, that over-delivers, on some level that a more satisfying experience for me because…well who doesn’t love a good deal?

With that in mind, I offer the following tips for finding wines that offer big bang for the buck:

  1. Shop the world – The first place I look for value is Spain, but you can find great value in the lesser know regions of France (Languedoc-Roussillion), Italy (Umbria, Sicily, and Puglia come to mind) along with countries like Chile, Australia and South Africa.
  2. Domestically – Look for lesser known regions.  In California for example look for wines from Amador, Lodi, or Lake County.
  3. Find website/blogger who specializes in value.  My favorite is the Reverse Wine Snob.
  4. Shop for Trader Joe’s and Costco for wine.  Both have lots of wines that offer great value.
  5. Take a look a box wines or a quality jug wine like Gallo Hearty Burgundy.
  6. Get to know high quality value produces like Barefoot Cellars, Chateau Ste Michelle, and Cline.
  7. Get cozy with a wine shop with a diverse selection of wines.  Most will have a nice selection of “everyday” wines in the $10-$20 range.
Wine Food Group

Image courtesy of somecards.com

Check out this week’s magnificent menu of budget friendly satisfying dishes prepared by the #SundaySupper food bloggers and budget friendly wine pairings recommendations that all under $15 (most are $10 or less)!

If you’ve been following my #SundaySupper wine pairing recommendations, then you KNOW I’m a  big proponent of pairing foods with sparkling wines, which pair well with such a wide variety of foods.  Pair these wine with Kirkland Prosecco ($8). It’s a terrific value with a delightful  fresh apple, mandarin orange, and honey character. 

Pair these dishes with Riesling, the white version of a “goes with virtually anything” wine. Look for the 2012 Pacific Rim Dry Riesling ($10).  It’s from the Columbia Valley in Washington State and has a delightful yellow apple, white peach, citrus and mineral character. 

Pair these dishes with Chardonnay.  Look for the 2013 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Charnay ($14) from Burgundy, France.  Our wine club did a blind tasting of Chardonnay from around the world last year, and this wine did well.  It’s an un-oaked Chardonnay with a classic zesty apple, citrus and mineral character. 

Pair these dishes with a Sauvignon Blanc.  Look for the 2013 Patient Cottat “Le Grand Caillou” Sauvignon Blanc ($10).  It has a lovely tropical fruit, citrus, spice and mineral character with a tangy acidity. 

Pair these dishes with Pinot Noir, the red wine version a “goes with virtually anything”. Pinot Noir is probably the most challenging the wine you can find that offers value for the price.  I recommend the 2013 Shoofly Wines Pinot Noir ($10) from Australia.  It’s show aromatic red berry, Asian spice aromas with bright cherry, raspberry and spice flavors underscored with an appealing minerality. 

Pair these dishes with a Grenache from Spain.  One of my perennial favorites is the Altovinum Evodia Old Vines Garnacha ($10). It’s produced from high-altitude 100-year old vines in the Calatayud region.  The combination of mountain fruit and old vines produces an elegant,zesty wine with strawberry, cherry character.  

Pair these dishes with a Cabernet Sauvignon. I like the 2012 Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($10).  It’s a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Mourvedre.  It’s easy drinking  with a plum, dark cherry, and vanilla character. 

Pair these dishes with an old Italian favorite of mine, the 2013 Maritma “The 4 Old Guys” Sangiovese ($8).  It’s from the South Tuscan coast and has an easy drinking cherry, plum and earth character.

Pair these dishes with red blend.  One of my favorite is the Sherman & Hooker’s Shebang! “Seventh Cuvée” Red Blend ($12).  It’s second label by one of California’s hottest young winemakers – Morgan Twain-Peterson that’s a blend of Zinfandel, Grenache, Alicante, Petite Sirah and Sangiovese that was aged in 50% new French oak.  It has a fruity, but not jammy brambly, ripe cherry, cassis, dark chocolate character.

Try these desserts with Moscatel de Setúbel, a sweet fortified wine form the southern portion of Portugal, made from the local variety of Moscatel (Muscat).  Look for the Moscatel de Setúbal is sweet, fortified wine made from the local variety of Moscatel(Muscat).  Look for the 2011 Bacalhoa Moscatel de Setúbal ($10).  It’s rich with fragrant orange blossom, orange peel, honeyed fruit, and raisin character. 

Pair these desserts & snacks with a Moscato d’Asti.  Look for the 2013 Saracco Moscato d’Asti ($10). It shows a sweet, fragrant, delicate, floral, tropical fruit, and a hint of honey character.  It’s “frizzante”, which means it’s not as effervescent as most sparkling wines. 

Bon Appétit and Cheers!

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtagand remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board.

Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Champagne Chronicles – Day 4

This is the fourth in what will be a series of five posts about my visit to Champagne

  • Day 1 - Guided tour of Reims Cathedral and Champagne dinner
  • Day 2 - C.I.V.C., Roger Coulon, and Veuve Clicquot
  • Day 3 - Louis Roederer, Rene Geoffroy, and Jacquesson

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Last month, I had the privilege of traveling to the Champagne region in France as a guest of the U.S. Champagne Bureau for the 2014 Champagne Harvest Media Trip. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about what makes the Champagne region special via visits to 10 producers including large houses, growers and cooperatives. Our visit included exquisite meals too – all paired with Champagne!

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The Subé Fountain in the Place Drouet-d’Erlon.

Our itinerary for Day 4 included:

Bérêche & Fils

Bérêche & Fils, located in the village of Ludes, is a family run grower Champagne. It was founded by “Leon and Albert Bereche in 1847 with only 2.5 hectares of vineyard land in Ludes, Champagne.  The family mostly produced grapes to sell to larger houses.  Beginning in the 1950s, successive generations expanded the property and aquired land in the Vallee de la Marne.  Today, the estate has 9.5 hectares spread over 21 parcels in three areas of the Montagne de Reims and the Vallee de la Marne.

Although the family has been producing their own wines since the 1970s, it was the fifth generation of winemakers and the current owners, brothers Raphael and Vincent Bereche, that refocused the estate on production of their own wines and brought international fame and recognition for the impressive results.  The brothers studied vineyard management and oenology and practiced their craft in various traineeships. They joined the estate in the early 2000s and quickly established a reputation as talented grower-producers.  Through their leadership, the estate has shifted toward naturalistic growing methods that respect the land on which the wines are born”. (Source).  They have not used chemicals on their vineyards in 15 years.

In addition to their own Bérêche & Fils label, they have a new second label – Raphaël & Vincent Bérêche, which is their négociant business, where they produced Champagne from purchased grapes. They chose to run their second label under a different name in order to not have to change their status of their entire business grower to négociant.  It’s not unusual for successful small growers to supplement their production with purchased grapes.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Raphaël, who gave us a tour of their production facilities.  It’s a small operation, and there was a lot of activity as they were preparing for harvest.  The day we visited they were racking their reserve wine, and cleaning bottles.

We tasted the following wines:

  • NV Bereche et Fils Champagne Brut Réserve
  • NV Bereche et Fils Chardonnay Champagne Les Beaux Regards
  • NV Bereche et Fils Champagne Campania Remensis (rose)
  • 2011 Bereche et Fils Coteaux Champenois Ormes Rouge Les Montées
  • NV Bereche et Fils Champagne Reflet d’Antan
  • NV Bereche et Fils Champagne Cuvée Côte Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs
  • 2002 Bereche et Fils Champagne Vallée de la Marne Brut Millésime

My favorite was the Les Beaux Regards” bottling.  It’s made with 100% Chardonnay from 100 year-old vines in an eponymous parcel that been in the family for three generations. It is dosed as “Extra Brut”(3g/L).  It’s a gorgeous, energetic Champagne with a creamy, stone fruit, tart apple, lemon peel, honey and wet stone character.  

I came away very impressed all their wines (the 2002 Vallée de la Marne Brut Millésime was also outstanding). While it maybe challenging to find this wine, this is definitely a Grower Champagne to seek out!

See below for gallery of visit to Bereche & Fils 

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Billecart-Salmon

Billecart-Salmon, situated in the village of Mareuil-sur-Ay is an independent and family-owned Champagne House founded in 1818.

It all began in 1818 when Nicolas François Billecart and Elisabeth Salmon founded a Champagne House that was above all conscious of the excellence of its wines. 

Since then, every member of the Billecart family has been committed to perpetuate the family tradition through standing by the immutable oath: ‘Give priority to quality, strive for excellence’.  - Billecart-Salmon

When we arrived at the Billecart-Salmon estate we were greeted by our guide Jerome, who took us on a tour of the “house”.  Unfortunately, as Jerome began his overview of Billecart, I realized I left my notebook on the bus (Doh! – perhaps too much Champagne with lunch?) The tour included the gardens, which were striking (sorry no pics – but here a link to a post that has lots of photos).  The estate sits on top of a vast network of underground cellars.

Billecart has a reputation for producing wines that offer excellent value.  In particular their multi-vintage Rosé, which retails for $75 is widely considered to be a benchmark for “affordable” Rosé Champagne (I know, I know – $75 buck is a lot of coin, but with increasing demand for Rosé Champagne many retail for well over $100).

We tasted the following wines:

  • NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Rosé
  • NV Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
  • 2004 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru
  • 2006 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Extra Brut
  • 1999 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart

My favorite was the 1999 Billecart-Salmon Champagne Cuvée Nicolas-François Billecart.  It’s a blend of 60% pinot noir and 40% chardonnay. (10% of the pinot is fermented in barrel) with a fine bead, and a luxuriously delicate and creamy mousse with complex aromas and flavors of poach peaches, mineral, bread dough, and hazelnuts, and a long finish.  It’s a very elegant Champagne!

Learned: Champagne should be served around 12c (53-54 degrees) to fully appreciate it’s aromas and flavors.  If served too cold, you’ll miss out!  And for the first time, I heard someone suggest decanting Champagne.  Our host Jerome, suggesting decanting the Cuvée Nicolas-François for an hour. It’s an unorthodox practice, but on the surface it makes sense to me with Champagne that is mature and complex.

These are widely available Champagnes that are worth seeking out that offer very good bang for the buck. 

See below for gallery of visit to Billecart-Salmon

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Bruno Paillard

Bruno Paillard’s family lineage of brokers and growers in the two Grand Cru villages of Bouzy and Verzenay dates back to 1704. Following in their footsteps, Bruno began as a broker in 1975, and acquired a deep and extensive knowledge of the region and its wines. In 1981, at the age of 27, he started his own Champagne house – the first new maison in nearly a century. After renting a cellar for three years and purchasing carefully selected grapes from independent growers, Bruno released his first Champagnes. He then built his own cellar, allowing him total control over temperature, lighting and humidity. In 1990 Bruno built his current winery, and in 1994 began purchasing vineyards. He now has 62 acres, almost half of which are Grand Cru. The fruit from these vineyards cover 50% of his production needs and they are farmed organically and sustainably – a rigorous and delicate job given that his holdings are subdivided into 70 different parcels. Bruno sources the remaining fruit through long-term contracts with high-quality, independent growers.  Each wine is vinified separately in stainless steel (75%) and oak (25%). The exception is N.P.U. which is fermented and aged entirely in oak.” (Source) Although they are labeled as Brut, all of Paillard’s Champagnes are technically Extra Brut as their dosage is 6 grams or less per liter.  Annual production is 450,000 – 500,000 bottles.

Upon arrival at Paillard, we were greeted by Alice Paillard who gave us a tour of their facilities.  She explained to use that all their vintage wines feature original art that reflects a theme.  For example, the 1996 Brut had the them “Structure and Velvet”.   That theme was given to Italian artist Paola Marchesi, who created custom art for the label. Very cool!

We tasted the following wines:

  • NV Bruno Paillard Chardonnay Champagne Blanc de Blancs Réserve Privée
  • NV Bruno Paillard Champagne Brut Premiere Cuvée
  • NV Bruno Paillard Champagne Rosé Brut Première Cuvée
  • 2004 Bruno Paillard Champagne Brut Blanc de Blancs
  • 2004 Bruno Paillard Champagne Assemblage Brut
  • 1999 Bruno Paillard Champagne Nec Plus Ultra (N.P.U.)

My favorite was the 1999 Nec Plus Ultra (N.P.U.), and the 2004 Brut Blanc de Blancs.  Both were stunningly outstanding with creamy, elegant, harmonious character. The NPU, from the excellent 1999 vintage was aged on less 10 years, then bottled aged for another 2+ years! It’s a majestic, full-bodied wine with a cherry, black currant, quince, brioche and honey character. It’s dosed at 4g/L.

Learned: Champagne producers may substitute sugar for time (i.e. rather than aging wine longer, they increase the amount of the dosage)

Paillard was my favorite visit.  The wines were all outstanding.  I can guaran-damn-tee you I’ll be buying some of these, if I can find them!

See below for gallery of visit to Bruno Paillard

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It was a another awesome day in Champagne wine-wise.  If you’ve been following this series, you may be wondering why there is no food porn. This was the only day we didn’t have any scheduled lunches or dinner combined with a visit to one of the producers.

And my waist line thanked me for it!

My next (and last) post in this series features a visit to the Cote des Bar - a relatively unknown but important region which makes up more than 20 percent of the appellation’s 17,000 acres. 

Wine of the Week; 2012 Tablas Creek Petit Manseng

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2012 Tablas Creek Petit Manseng.

The Winery

Tablas Creek Vineyard (“TCV”) is probably the best-known of all Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone style wines.  It is a partnership between Robert Haas, and the Perrin Family of Chateau de Beaucastel in the Chateauneuf du Pape region in FranceWhat I find interesting about TCV is that they specifically chose to establish themselves in Paso Robles because of the similarities of the soil conditions and climate of Paso Robles to Chateauneuf du Pape.  They went as far as to import vines from Chateauneuf du Pape.  The vines were propagated and grafted in their on-site nursery and used to plant their 120 acre organic vineyard.  Check the full story here.

The Wine

Petit Manseng is a white grape traditional to France’s southwest, where it has been used to produce the highly regarded, but not widely disseminated sweet wines of the Jurancon region for centuries. It’s a grape with naturally high acidity that can achieve sufficient concentration and sugar content to make naturally sweet wines without botrytis, or being fortified.

Tablas Creek was the first in California to produce a wine from the Petit Manseng grape variety. The 2012 vintage is TCV’s third bottling of Petit Manseng.

The wine is 100% Petit Manseng produced from grapes harvested at 30.2° Brix and a pH of 3.28.   Fermentation was stopped when it had about 42 grams/liter of sugar left and sat at an alcohol of 13.5%.  The high acidity makes it taste much drier than the sugar reading would suggest.  The wine was aged on its lees in barrel and bottled in November 2013

Because of its residual sugar and high acidity, the wine has tremendous aging potential.

Wine of the Week; 2012 Tablas Creek Petit Manseng

My tasting notes follow:

Pale gold color with appealing mango, pineapple, honey and hints of ginger, sweet spice and citrus aromas. On the palate it’s medium bodied, and semi-sweet with a supple, smooth texture and very good acidity. The flavors follow the aromas with spiced sweet lemon zest joining the party. Clean lingering finish. Retail - $35 (500ml)

Rating: A-;  This was such an enjoyable wine for me!  

Pair with: I paired this with a Peach Ginger Cobbler I prepared for a food and wine pairing event (see link below), but its refreshing acidity and off-dry character make it pretty versatile, especially with spicy fare such as Spicy Thai Pumpkin Curry or Spicy Shrimp Curry.  It will also pair with salty cheeses (I loved it with 24 month aged Parmigiano Reggiano), or a variety of fruit-based desserts.

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
Other posts you might enjoy

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Peach and Ginger Cobbler and Tablas Creek Petit Manseng for #winePW

Wine Pairing Weekend is a monthly collaborative event for wine/food bloggers started by David Crowley of Cooking Chat.  It’s a great way to find food and wine pairings that work; along with tips on how to create your own food and wine pairing magic.

The theme for this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend is ““Fall Fruits and Wine Pairings“, and it’s all about making dishes prepared with the bounty of fall fruits and vegetable which come to mind when the air turns cool and tree blaze with color.

The Food

Ah…but Fall here in Northern California isn’t really Fall like it is elsewhere.  This time of year we’re usually in the midst of Indian Summer.

It was 85 degrees and sunny last week. The last thing on my mind was apple, sweet potatoes and pumpkins!

I headed to my local Whole Foods Market and they were promoting “Last Tango” peaches (so named because they are the last peaches of the year).  Since we were entertaining friends, and needed a dessert, I decided to make a peach cobbler.  I’ve had wild success with a Paula Deen recipe, so I decided to make that.

Except with a twist – crystallized ginger!  Why crystallized ginger?  Just a hunch.  Plus ginger is one of the aromas and flavor descriptors in my wine of choice – so I thought there might be some potential to bridge that with my wine of choice.

 

DSCN0357

Peach and Ginger Cobbler with a couple of scoops of Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Gelato – Nom, nom, nom!

This is a pretty easy recipe. In fact, the hard part for me was peeling the peaches (click here for 3 easy ways to peel peaches)

Peach and Ginger Cobbler
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Southern
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10 servings
 
A Southern dessert with a spicy twist - Crystallized ginger!
Ingredients
  • 4 cups peeled, sliced fresh peaches
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 TBSP crystallized ginger; finely chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1½ cups self-rising flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • Ground cinnamon, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, 1 TBSP of crystallized ginger, and water in a saucepan and mix well. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  3. Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.
  4. Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes.
  5. To serve, scoop onto a plate and serve with your choice of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Notes
Depending on whether you prefer your cobbler with more dough or more fruit, you may adjust the amount of the flour mixture accordingly. Same thing for the crystallized ginger. Try it before you finalize to get as much or as little of the ginger flavor and spice as you prefer

The Wine

My wine choice for the cobbler is the 2012 Tablas Creek Petit Manseng.  Not familiar with Petit Manseng?

Neither was I.  But I’ve had this bottle of wine in my refrigerator for about 6 months and since I’m a wine drinker, not a wine collector I decided it was time. Beside, I love trying new grape varieties!

Petit Manseng is a white grape traditional to France’s southwest, where it has been used to produce the highly regarded, but not widely disseminated sweet wines of the Jurancon region for centuries. It’s a grape with naturally high acidity that can achieve sufficient concentration and sugar content to make naturally sweet wines without botrytis, or being fortified.

Tablas Creek was the first in California to produce a wine from the Petit Manseng grape variety.

IMG_0732

Paso Robles AVA
100% Petit Manseng
$35 (500ml), 13.5% abv.

My tasting notes follow:

Pale gold color with appealing mango, pineapple, honey and hints of ginger, sweet spice and citrus aromas. On the palate it’s medium bodied, and off-dry with a supple, smooth texture and very good acidity. The flavors follow the aromas with spiced sweet lemon zest joining the party. Clean lingering finish.

The Food and Wine Pairing

When pairing wine with dessert there are three key factors to consider acidity (a wine with moderate to high acidity pairs especially well with fruit desserts which has its own natural acidity), intensity (the more intense the flavors in the dessert, the more intense the wine should be, and sweetness (a dessert wine should be sweeter than the dessert itself)

The pairing was three for three and very enjoyable.  The acidity of the matched the acidity of the fruit and prepared the palate for the next bite of the cobbler.  The slightly sweet and spicy crust moderated the sweetness of the peach/ginger filling  and was a very good match for the moderate intensity, and tropical, honey, and citrus character of the wine.  And last, but not least the wine was just a tad sweeter than the cobbler. Score!

I’m looking forward to trying this wine one of my favorite ethnic foods – Spicy Thai Pumpkin Curry. It will also pair well with spicy Indian curry, salty cheese, apple pie, sweet potato pie, and foie gras!

Here’s what all of the bloggers have created for the October Wine Pairing Weekend!

Savories

Sweets

Surprise!

Join the #winePW conversation: Follow the #winePW conversation on Twitter throughout the weekend and beyond. If you’re reading this early enough, you can join us for a live Twitter chat on our theme “Fall Fruits and Wine Pairings” on Saturday, October 11 from 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Time. You can also visit our group Pinterest board to pin some great pairing ideas for later!

Sarah of Curious Cuisiniere (http://www.curiouscuisiniere.com/) will be hosting November’s ‪#‎winePW‬with the theme of Creative Thanksgiving Pairings. Join the fun on November 8th!

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Wine of the Week: 2005 Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2005 Marqués de Riscal Rioja Reserva.

The Winery

Herederos de Marqués de Riscal, founded in 1858, is one of the oldest wineries in Rioja.  Over their long, and storied history they have been on the forefront of various innovations. They were the first winery in the Rioja to produce wines following the Bordeaux method and in 1972, it was the first winery to promote the Rueda Designation of Origin, where it produced its famous Marqués de Riscal white wines.

A benchmark winery in Rioja for more than 150 years, this producer’s recent visionary moves changed how the wine world sees Spain – Wine Enthusiast 

Marqués de Riscal sells its products in over 100 countries and its wines have enjoyed the highest international distinctions as well as numerous awards including being named the 2013 European Winery of the Year by the Wine Enthusiast.

Marques de Riscal

The Hotel de Marques de Riscal, in the heart of the City of Wine. Image courtesy fo Marques de Riscal

In addition to their world-class wine, they are also renown for their world-class hotel, and spa the Hotel Marques de Riscal (click here for a virtual tour). Designed by Frank O. Gehry, it’s an architectural marvel at the heart of City of Wine.

The Wine

A blend of Tempranillo, Marzuelo and Graciano sourced from 70-year-old vines in Rioja Alavesa.  It was fermented in stainless steel tanks, then aged in American oak for 18 months.  It was aged in bottle another two years before being released.

13.5% alcohol; Retail - about $20 Drink: Now

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My tasting notes follow:

Dark brick color with appealing cherry, tobacco, vanilla, and spice. On the palate, it approaches medium-bodied, and is layered and fresh with polished tannins, and dark cherry, plum and spiced vanilla flavors. Medium + finish. This is a wine that was even better on Day 2. It picked up some earthy, savory notes and showed a hint red currant. 13.5% alcohol. >>Find this wine<<

Rating: A-: A Reserva with a bit of age on it like this one is a great introduction to traditional Rioja wines!

Pair with: Stews, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Leg of Lamb or Turkey Chili

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

A Taste Place – Bechthold Vineyard Cinsault

Lodi, the self-proclaimed “Zinfandel Capital of the World”, is a region on the rise. It’s been perceived as a region primarily known for producing “fruit bomb” style Zinfandel, and being a source of grapes used in producing value wines.

But Lodi is much more than that.  It’s the home of thousands of acres of old vine Zinfandel vineyards that date back as far as the late 1800s.  These old vines produce smaller yields which results in wines of greater structure, concentration, and complexity.

And the old vines aren’t limited to Zinfandel…

Bechthold-Vineyard-Cinsault-After-Pruning-Courtesy-Michael-David

Image courtesy of Lodiwine.com

About the Vineyard

I recently attended an online tasting that featured the Bechthold Vineyard.

Here’s what Lodiwine.com say about  the vineyard, which was recently named California’s Vineyard of the Year at the California State Fair…

Bechthold-Vineyard-Buyers-Map-Acreage-Courtesy-Michael-David

There are eight wineries that work the Bechthold vineyard. Image courtesy of Lodiwine.com

At 126 years of age, Bechthold is the oldest continuously farmed vineyard in the Lodi AVA (planted in 1886!), with 25 acres of gnarled, head trained vines. Famous for its stunningly expressive Cinsault, this venerated vineyard is not only alive and well, it is highly productive and lovingly cared for by some of the industry’s top names (Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm callsBechthold “the future of California wine… if people can ever become civilized”). 

The Tasting

The tasting was moderated by Camron King, Executive Director of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, along with co-hosts Kevin Phillips, VP of Operations for Phillips Farms and Michael David Winery, and Adam Mettler, Director of Wine Operations at Michael David Winery.

We tasted through the Cinsault wines from the Bechthold Vineyard in the following order:

2013 Michael David Winery Ancient Vine Cinsault (SRP $25)
2013 Turley Wine Cellars Cinsault (SRP $17)
2012 Estate Crush Cinsault (SRP $26)
2011 Onesta Cinsault (SRP $29)

My tasting notes follow:

A Taste Place - Bechthold Vineyards Cinsault

  • 2013 Michael-David Vineyards Cinsault Ancient Vine Bechthold Vineyard 
    Red color with aromatic, but a tad hot, hazelnut, kirsch, strawberry, dried rose and spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied with very good acidity, a creamy texture and baked cherry, strawberry, and baking spice flavors with a lingering finish. 14.5% alcohol.  Aged 12 months in neutral French Oak (89 pts.)

A Taste Place - Bechthold Vineyards Cinsault

  • 2013 Turley Cinsault Bechthold Vineyard 
    Red color with fresh, clean but restrained strawberry, raspberry and sweet wood aromas. On the palate, it’s light-bodied with moderate acidity, and fresh, clean, harmonious, fresh, ripe mash-up of strawberry, cherry, and raspberry flavors. This one didn’t knock me over immediately,but its fresh clean balanced character grew on me with each sip. Medium finish. The wine is made 100% whole cluster (no de-stemming of the fruit). Turley does not inoculate the fermentations, primary and malolactic are all native.  Aged in 5-7 y.o. barrels. 1000 cases produced.  At retail of $17, this easily offers the best value of the bunch for me.(90 pts.)

A Taste Place - Bechthold Vineyards Cinsault

  • 2012 Estate Crush Cinsault Bechthold Vineyard
    Red color with appealing, aromatic roast hazelnut, candied cherry, strawberry, and a bit of leather aromas. On the palate, it’s medium-bodied with moderate acidity and sour cherry and spice flavors. Medium finish.  13.8% alcohol. 100 cases produced (89 pts.)

A Taste Place - Bechthold Vineyards Cinsault

  • 2011 Onesta Cinsault Bechthold Vineyard 
    Dark red color with an appealing mixture of musk, black cherry, strawberry aromas with a hint of caramel. On the palate it light-bodied moderate to very good acidity and fresh raspberry, strawberry, spice and a bit of mineral flavors. Medium finish. Aged 9 months in neutral oak. 370 cases produced. (90 pts.)

My Takeaways

  • It was a fun and informative tasting that reinforced my belief that old-vine fruit is special.
  • Bechthold Cinsault ancient vine fruit is singular among Cinsault. In fact it was noted that most Cinsault is better used as a blending grape.
  • With different vintages and vinification of the fruit one would expect the wines to be significantly different, but they shared a certain elegance, and an alluring concentrated red berry and spice character.
  • The wines brought to mind Cru Beaujolais for me – ample red fruit, spice, low tannins and good to very good acidity.
  • Any of these wine would be great at the table for Thanksgiving!

Many thanks to Lodi Wines and Charles Communications Associates (“CCA”) for providing the sample wines!

If you would like to see the recorded video of the tasting of the wines, please visit the Brandlive site by clicking here.  I highly recommend viewing the video for the wealth of information and insight provided.

Related posts you might enjoy:

__________________________________________________________________

Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.

Champagne Chronicles – Day 3

This is the third in what will be a series of five posts about my visit to Champagne

  • Day 1 - Guided tour of Reims Cathedral and Champagne dinner
  • Day 2 - C.I.V.C., Roger Coulon, and Veuve Clicquot

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Last month, I had the privilege of traveling to the Champagne region in France as a guest of the U.S. Champagne Bureau for the 2014 Champagne Harvest Media Trip.  Here’s what they said about the trip…

The trip to Champagne will be an opportunity for you to learn more about the production of Champagne and its unique qualities, as well as what the region is doing to protect its name in the United States.  The week-long trip… will give you the opportunity to visit select producers – from large houses to cooperatives and small growers – and learn about the appellation as a whole…you will also experience firsthand the winemaking process, from picking and crushing grapes to exquisite Champagne pairing dinners.

Our itinerary for Day 3 included:

Champagne Louis Roederer

Louis Roederer is one of the last great independent and family run Champagne houses. The family has been managing the business since 1832.  Today it is managed by Frédéric Rouzaud, who represents the seventh generation of the Roederer lineage.

Their vineyards (all Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) cover about 70% of the company’s needs, which is rare for large Champagne houses.  They produce about 3 million bottles annually.

The Roederer portfolio includes Champagne DeutzChâteau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, Ramos Pinto Port in Portugal, Domaines Ott in ProvenceRoederer Estate and Scharffenberger in California.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon, Chef de Cave, and Assistant General Director of Roederer.  After giving us an overview of the Roederer vineyards, he took us on tour of their cellars, and lead us through a tasting of a few vin clair.  It’s obvious the man has a passion for wine.  We then adjourned to the beautiful Roederer tasting room to taste their current releases:

It just so happened I’d tasted the same wines a couple of weeks before my trip (click here for detailed notes)

After our tasting, it was time for lunch.  Much to my surprise and delight we were greeted by, and dined with the man in charge himself - Frédéric Rouzaud!

And lunch? It was a gastronomic and vinous delight!

How this for lunch? L-R; 2006 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande, 2002 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut (magnum), 1993 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut, 1995 Ramos Pinto Porto Vintage

It’s a tough call, but my favorite was the 1993 Louis Roederer Cristal Brut one the wines we had with lunch.  It’s a beautifully mature, full-bodied Champagne with intense, complex, savory aromas and flavors including brioche, baked apples and peach, roast hazelnut, citrus, and a bit of caramel that harmoniously and seamlessly coalesce with energetic acidity and a smoky minerality. And it’s such fantastic food wine! 

Learned about: Roederer is the largest organic grower in Champagne with 65 of their 240 hectares farmed biodynamically.  They began converting their vineyards to biodynamic in 2000. Between 60-70% of the fruit for Cristal is biodynamic.  In fact, the current release – 2006 is the first vintage they released with primarily biodynamic fruit.  The first 100% biodynamic Cristal will be the 2011 vintage

Insider’s tip: Roederer will be launching their first Brut Nature (the driest style of sparkling wine – with less than 3g/L residual sugar) in the US this month! The 2006 Brut Nature cuvée, was developed by Louis Roederer and Philippe Starck.

Notable Quote: The secret to Cristal is Pinot Noir and Chalk” - Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon

See below for gallery of Champagne Louis Roederer visit

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Champagne René Geoffroy

“The Geoffroy family have been winemakers since the seventeenth century and the property has stayed in the family for almost 400 years, uninterrupted.  In addition to prime parcels in Cumières,  the family has holdings  in Damery, Hautvillers, and Dizy. They aim for the highest possible quality and ferment the wines in oak barrels for their Cuvée Sélectionnée [now called Cuvée Empreinte] and Brut Prestige [now called Cuvée Volupté].  The wines don’t go through malolactic fermentation, which gives them the nerve and aging potential that most Cumières Champagnes lack.  When you talk to the well-educated young Jean-Baptiste Geoffroy, you understand that this is a family that cares passionately about wine.” (Source)

Geoffroy is a grower that produces its own wines.  They are the No. 1 grower in Cumières, where they farm 14 hectares of  sustainably grown grapes.  Cumières is the most sun-drenched and earliest ripening village in Champagne, and is known primarily for its pinot noir.  They produce generous, vivacious Pinot Noir led wines that can age. Their production is about 140,000 bottles a year

We were greeted by fifth generation winemaker Jean-Baptist Geoffroy, who lead us on tour of the family’s three-story gravity flow winery and cellar.

After the tour we tasted:

  • René Geoffroy  Expression Brut Premier Cru
  • 2007 René Geoffroy  Empreinte Brut Premier Cru
  • René Geoffroy  Rosé de Saignée Brut 1er Cru
  • René Geoffroy  Blanc de Rose Extra Brut
  • 2004 René Geoffroy  Millésimé

Geoffroy is doing my favorite was the 2007 Empreinte Brut Premier Cru. It’s a blend of 76 % pinot noir, 13%chardonnay, and 11% Pinot Meunier that were all fermented in large oak foudres.  It’s a well-balanced wine with apple, pear, and bread dough aromas, and apple, toasted almond, and mineral flavors and a long finish.  It’d be fantastic with seafood dishes!

Insiders tip: Look for the yet to be released “Houtrants” cuvée. It’s an interesting multi-vintage, field blend, old vine (minimum age of 50 years) wine cuvée composed of five of the permitted grapes (rather than the typical three) with lovely aromatics, and a rich, creamy, slightly autolytic tart apple and mineral character and a long finish.

See below for gallery of Champagne René Geoffroy visit

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Champagne Jacquesson

“Jacquesson is one of Champagne’s most venerable houses, not only predating Krug, but giving birth to it, when in 1843 Johann-Joseph Krug left Jacquesson to form his own house.  But despite more than 200 years of history, Jacquesson has become a revolutionary among Champagne’s established houses, under the leadership of brothers Laurent and Jean-Hervé Chiquet, who took over from their father in the 1980′s.

Since then, the house has adopted a herbicide-free, terroir-based philosophy. It also retired, after 150 years, its non-vintage blend and replaced it with a groundbreaking single-vintage-based cuvée, which changes yearly. And next came its terroir-based cuvées, an unprecedented move for a traditional house.” (Source)

They are based in the Dizy region of Champagne. They farm 28 hectares of grapes (10 are certified organic) located in the Grand Cru villages of AÿAvize and Oiry and in the Premier Cru villages of Dizy, Hautvillers and Mareuil-sur-Aÿ.   They currently produce about 270,000 bottle annually with approximately 15% of the fruit sourced from growers in these villages as well as the Grand Cru village of Chouilly and the Premier Cru village Cumières.  The house makes the claim it is the oldest independent Champagne house.

We were greeted by Jean-Hervé Chiquet who lead us on a tour of the winery, cellars and guided our tasting.

It was a blowout tasting!

  • Jacquesson & Fils  Cuvée No. 733
  • Jacquesson & Fils  Cuvée No. 733 Dégorgement Tardif
  • Jacquesson & Fils  Cuvée No. 736
  • Jacquesson & Fils  Cuvée No. 737
  • Jacquesson & Fils  Cuvée No. 738
  • 2008 Jacquesson & Fils Dizy Terres Rouges Rosé
  • 2004 Jacquesson & Fils  Dizy Corne Bautray
  • 2004 Jacquesson & Fils  Brut Avize Grand Cru Champ Caïn
  • 2004 Jacquesson & Fils  Ay Vauzelle Terme
My favorite was the 2004 Ay Vauzelle Terme one of the ”lieu-dit” (single-vineyard) wines.(all of which were outstanding). It’s 100% Pinot Noir sourced from 2,500 vines planted in 1980 on 0.30 hectare that grow in limestone mixed with a little clay, on chalk bedrock. Aged 8 years on lees.  It’s pale salmon color with intriguing cherry, raspberry, tangerine, roast nut, and floral aromas.  On the palate it It’s medium-bodied, and superbly balanced with a creamy mousse and great finesse. It shows cherry, strawberry and a hint of tangerine flavors and lingering, satisfying finish
After our tasting made our way to the Jacquesson dining room on the second floor of their property another fantastic meal expertly paired with more wines awaited!
Learned: “Fils” means “son’ in French, which is why you see it so often in the name of French wineries

Insiders tip: Look for the 2008 Terres Rouges Rosé.  It’s among the best rosé Champagne I’ve tasted.  It has an exotic floral, berry, pomegranate, slightly earthy character.

Notable Quote:We favor excellency over consistency” - Jean-Hervé Chiquet

See below for gallery of Champagne Jacquesson visit

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What an awesome day!  As if the continued brilliance of Louis Roederer  and the revelations of Geoffroy and Jacquesson weren’t enough. I was blown away by the superb lunch and dinner expertly paired with wonderous wines!

Stay tuned for Day 4, which featured visits to Bereche & Fils, Billecart-Salmon, and Bruno Paillard!

 

Wine of the Week; 2011 Ridge Geyserville

Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out.  My Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Ridge Vineyards Geyserville.

The Winery

Ridge Vineyards  is a California winery with two estates, Monte Bello in Cupertino, and Lytton Springs in Healdsburg.  They are best known for producing single-vineyard premium Bordeaux style Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (“Monte Bello”), Zinfandels, and Chardonnay.  Ridge was established by three engineers from nearby Stanford Research Institute (SRI).  They produced its first commercial wine in 1962 after purchasing the winery in 1960.

Great wines have always been determined by their site – by nature, not by man – Paul Draper

It wasn’t too long after that, that Ridge gained an international  rep when the  Ridge Monte Bello, under the direction of winemaker Paul Draper , took fifth place in the “Judgment of Paris” in 1976 against nine other French and California wines.  Here’s what’s really cool though, the 1976 Monte Bello unanimously took first place in The Judgment of Paris 30th Anniversary when it was tasted against the same wines thirty years later!

Ridge has four estate vineyards, Monte Bello (first commercial release was in 1962), Geyserville (first release 1966), Lytton Springs (first release 1972), and their newest property East Bench.

The Wine

The fruit for this wine comes from Ridge’s Geyserville vineyard located in the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.  It has is home to the oldest vines that Ridge farms. The “Old Patch” section of the vineyard contains vines that are more than 130 years of age.

Geyserville is a traditional field blend of zinfandel and its complementary varieties: carignane, petite sirah, and mataro (mourvedre). Each vintage is unique, distinct, extraordinary… yet they do have elements in common, including the blackest of blackberry fruit, ripe plum, rich cherry, and cedar. A remarkably consistent and elegant wine with exceptional layering, Geyserville’s unique flavor characteristics are often attributed to the relatively higher percentage of carignane, added to the petite sirah found in most of our other zinfandels. Among the most age-worthy of Ridge wines, Geyserville often drinks beautifully well beyond 10 years of age. – Ridge Vineyards

Click here to watch a video of winemaker Eric Baugher describe this vineyard.

Blend of 78% Zinfandel, 16% Carignane, 4% Petite Sirah, 1% Alicante Bouschet, and 1% Mataro; 14% alcohol; Retail – $38

IMG_0217
My tasting notes follow:
Dark ruby color with lifted kirsch, bramble, lavender and spice aromas. On the palate it’s medium-bodied and balanced with wonderful acidity and tart black cherry, black raspberry and mineral flavors with a long savory finish. Drink now or age for at least 10 years >>Find this wine<<
Rating: A: I adore field blends and this is one is among the best year in year out. And it’s one of the most food friendly Zins I’ve ever had.

Pair with: I went to a Ridge event last year where the 2006 vintage of this wine (drinking beautifully BTW) was paired with Kale, Sausage and Pecorino Pizza.  This would make a great Thanksgiving wine.  And for my vegan brethren consider pairing with Braised Seitan with Black Pepper Plum Sauce. 

Sample purchased for review

Ratings Key:

(A+) – 95-100/Extraordinary
(A) – 92-95/Outstanding
(A-) – 89-91/Very Good to Outstanding
(B+) – 86-88/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
Related posts:

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Martin Redmond is a Financial Executive by day, and a certified wine geek with latent foodie tendencies the rest of the time. In addition to the wine lifestyle and food he enjoys family, fitness and traveling. He likes to get thoughts of wine off his mind by sharing experiences on his ENOFYLZ Wine blog, which features wine reviews, wine country travel, and wine and food pairings.

Follow me on Twitter @martindredmond for all things wine, and since I’m a wino, with latent foodie tendencies, you’ll also find food and wine pairings, and food related stuff! Become a fan and join ENOFYLZ Wine Blog on Facebook. Cheers!

This article is original to ENOFYLZ Wine Blog.com. Copyright 2014 ENOFYLZ Wine BlogAll rights reserved.