Champagne. The crème de la crème of it all. But, did you know not one champagne is the same? They are all different (gasp).
I was recently asked if I liked to drink champagne. I of course replied “yes!”, but I was honest when I added: “I am still learning about the different styles and producers, but I at least know the style I prefer”. I am unsure if the person asking was impressed with my answer or perplexed. Because I feel not everyone knows the different styles of champagne or what they prefer, they just like it because it is “champagne”. And I’ll admit, I used to be one of these people, until I began studying and drinking more bubbly.
In order to figure out the style I preferred, I did have to try a few champagnes such as: Le Mesnil Grand Cru, Blanc de Blanc; Alan Vessel; Bruno Paillard Premier Cru; Lanson Gold Label Brut Vintage 1999; Nicolas Feuillate; Dom Perignon and Moet & Chandon to name a few (it’s such a tough job tasting!). I prefer (although I will never say NO to champagne!!) – a balanced (more citrus and mineral notes than bread and yeasty notes), more medium body style.
Here is one (in a medium body style) I enjoyed recently to celebrate my birthday…
Pierre Gimonnet & Fils, Premier Cru, Brut
This is what I call a balanced champagne. It was a Blanc de blanc, which means it was made from 100% Chardonnay (some are made from a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier). It had fine bubbles, a smooth mouthfeel and it offers citrus and mineral notes that bounce lightly in your mouth along with the toasted notes – they are well-integrated. It was dry. It’s not aggressive or bold like some other champagne styles (i.e. Lanson, etc), it had more finesse. But of course, everyone likes something different – that’s the beauty of champagne and wine, it’s all about personal preference. This one is also a Premier Cru due to the location of the vineyard (it means its one of their best). It is also a Growers Champagne (becoming more popular in North America) – here’s a good article from Wine Folly to explain what “Growers Champagne” means.
My answer to my friends Champagne question sparked some thought. I have been contemplating taking the Champagne master class through the French Wine Society (in which I am a member and have already completed the French Wine Scholar course). So upon my return from a trip to Chicago, I thought… why am I just saying I want to learn more…sign up already! and start learning! So I signed up! It’s funny, this is an industry where I feel drawn to learn more, and with that, you still don’t know it all, and it draws you in more, like a vicious little circle! 😉 If only I had felt this way with English, Chemistry and Math in High School!
So, for this course, I’ll join my 2 other French Wine Scholar/WSET Advanced friends Christine (girlsgogrape.com) and Elizabeth and we’ll study and taste together and hopefully write our exam in the Spring of 2016. This will also get my head back into study mode and get me ready for WSET Diploma studies (to become a Professional Sommelier). I recently decided to do this because someone I know challenged me to think bigger. And I did, and I am. It’s a beautiful thing that we can learn from every single relationship, acquaintance or encounter that we have in life. So if you are reading this, thank you DR 😉 xo
Here is a reason to drink bubbles: there is a study out there suggesting a few glasses of champagne a week can prevent dementia! So, from your couch, or your desk or the stool at your local coffee shop, take a trip to Champagne, France via this article in afar.com .
Drink more bubbles, explore and enjoy!