While I love a lot of the tastings I do at The Wine Country there is one that gets me fired up like no other....Artisan Champagne. Most of my Champagne department is made up of small growers so it is not like it is unusual for us to be tasting, drinking or featuring wines from the small houses but this one night a year I put together my favorite wines from various estates that are drinking beautifully right now. See that is the thing about Champagne, it is ever changing, we get new batches, wines that were tight six months ago have filled out or we get our greedy little paws on some rare vintage wines that we cant wait to share. I spend weeks making a mental list of what to pour and spend the days before the event re-writing it. My goal each time is to show people what truly fantastic wines these are, not just yummy fizzy wine but wines with depth, texture, layers and length.
Anyone that has ever attended one of our bubbly events knows that it tends to be a party atmosphere. We start out trying to parcel out bits of information but by the second flight the attendees are in full chatter and the only time they look to us is when their glass is empty. This, "arrangement" works splendidly for me as I freak out having to be in the front of the class...seriously, my face starts burning, I can feel my stomach churning and it takes all my strength not to hurl. It's terribly traumatic but on this one night a year my desire to make a point, make them understand and make them really taste the wines crushes the nausea and leaves me just a little more steady on my feet.
This was the quietest party I had ever attended....these people were so quiet, they would whisper back and forth but for the majority of the tasting the crowd was shockingly studious. I was starting to get nervous and began asking the crowd if they had any questions....they didn't....my steady feeling became a full out panic complete with a stream of sweat trickling down my back. At that point if I could tap dance I would have....anything to entertain the crowd. We poured the third flight and the decibels increased, fourth flight we are in full roar and the final flight...silent again. The wines were simply stunning and the crowds reaction, while I didn't know it at the time was exactly what I wanted, they got it, they understood how serious these wines were and they were rendered almost speechless.
We broke records that night, those 27 people purchased more wine that night than we have ever sold on any night ever!! Hooray Artisan Champagne! See it's not just me!!!
NV Jean Milan Carte Blanche Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (48.99) Clean, bright and loaded with citrus. Would be awesome with oysters!
NV Jean Mialn Cuvee Speciale Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (48.99) Lovely lemon like flavors with a toasty bready quality.
NV Pierre Peters Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs (48.99) Always a special bottle for me, (those of you that have seen my tattoo know why) roasted apples, buttery crust and a beautiful long finish.
NV Agrapart & Fils 1er Cru Rose (49.99) Our favorite batch of Rose from the house so far! Tart but deeply fruited with bits of minerals and a creamy but bright finish.
NV Rene Geoffroy 1er Cru Cuvee Empreinte (52.99) So delicate and floral. A pretty wine with such a graceful gentle handed finish.
NV Rene Geoffroy 1er Cru Brut Rose (63.99) Packed with wild strawberry and cream, almost too easy to drink with tiny bubbles and a creamy finish.
NV Camille Saves Carte Blanche (59.99) The first blockbuster of the night, high in Pinot Noir the wine is both weighty and delicate with tons of baked fruit and buttered toast...scary good.
NV Camille Saves Brut Rose (68.99) Busting with deep sweet red cherry and vanilla. Seriously layered wine with a massive mouth feel and a powerful finish.
NV H. Billiot Grand Cru Brut Reserve (51.99) Another monster Pinot Noir based wine with a massive richness and loaded with baked fruit, red apple and yeast.
1999 H. Billiot Grand Cru Brut (63.99) The 1996 vintage of this lovely wine was our wine of the year a couple years ago and the 99 is no runner up I assure you. Doughy, full, sexy as hell and serious enough to shhhh even the loudest of party goer.