A symbol of celebration, decadence, to down right debauchery, champagne for me has always represented excess excess excess. From champagne towers, Grand Prix messes, to champagne glass burlesque, the image of a bubbly has the ability to evoke many emotions. Victory, defeat, seduction, bliss, all embodied in a glass.
My favourite beverage, I am always on the lookout to expand my champagne horizon. Here is my latest champagne update of 3 distinctive styles.
Ruinart, the oldest Champagne house, its bottle is a voluptuous silhouette different from all other champagne houses. Mesmerized by the beautiful packaging, we tried the NV Blanc de Blancs for the first time. Super chalky and mineral, the mousse was impressive, yet the bubbles seemed a bit large and sporadic. Great aromas of pear and apple, firm acidity, the finish with a tinge of bitterness at the end. Super easy to drink, pure and straightforward. We tried the wine again for Bill’s birthday. It was definitely better with food, great with langoustines, and quite enjoyable even unchilled. Considering this as my “house champagne”…
Went to a sparkling tasting and the first one up was Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1999 (a Blanc de Blancs). I loved the wine. The nose reminiscent of a nice cool swimming pool (a clean one). Yes it sounds disgusting, but that was my impression, light and perfect for this dreadful summer heat. Transported to the dream world of infinity pools (preferably in 5 star establishments) I quickly delved into my glass. It was an outer worldly experience of pure elegance. I had never had a champagne that was so silky smooth! The bubbles were refined and yet pronounced like a shower of tingly crystals. It was clean and linear, and felt like a crisp linen sheet drenched in citrus sunshine. I can’t wait to serve it at a pool side party (if I ever have the chance/ a pool).
After the Tattiger, Jacques Selosse Brut Blanc de Blancs Initiale NV was next on the list. The minerality was intense on the nose, almost as if you just ate a huge crab dinner and the smell of the ocean just wouldn’t go away. I was surprised by the oxidative quality inherent in the wine, like sherry or even xiaoxing wine. It was so different than the usual contenders, where toast and citrus are the frequent show stealers. Initiale was a macho wine, with a hint of oaky violence that melded into butter after the mousse subsides. Like playing go-cart, the wine was not my style, but still super fun. Can’t wait to try it again!
Just realized all 3 wines are Blanc de Blancs. Now I am biased.
Ruinart NV - Watson’s Wine Cellar $500
Taittinger Comtes de Champagne 1999 - GDV $1200
Initiale - GDV $1100