Two Bubbles

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the PR firm for the brand.

My goal for the posts about bubbles was to have them up before New Year’s Eve. However, I got taken down by a bronchial infection that I’m really just starting to kick now. Pardon my unexcused absence around here! I think many people drink Champagne for Valentine’s Day, so consider me early with a recommendation for that “holiday.” I received several bottles of bubbles from a PR firm, and this was above and away my favorite.  The Perrier Jouet Grand Brut has a Champagne closure, clocks in at 12% alcohol by volume, and looks to retail for around $40 from various online retailers.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) We tried four sparkling wines over the course of a few days, and this one got top marks from the whole family.

2.) The wine had an intriguing ginger candy note.

3.) I used my new air popcorn popper and popped up some fresh popcorn to go with this wine. Slightly cliched as a pairing, but really a nice salty match.

4.) $40 for a tasty well-done Champagne seems like a pretty good deal to me for a special event wine.

On the nose I got lemon, grapefruit, toast, and apple. I could almost smell the acidity that I could tell was coming on the palate. In the mouth I got spice, lemon, grapefruit, a honey note, and ginger candy. The palate had a lot going on and kept me coming back for more as I mulled over what I was tasting.

 

 

Bubbles in the Air

I’m running low on bubbles and it’s too hot to have anymore shipped to my house! I am going to have cast my net far and wide to wine shops I don’t usually visit in the area since I’ve pretty much bled the local collections dry. I wonder what Matt would say to a day trip to visit out of the way wine shops…he’d probably just (continue to) think I’m crazy. We stopped by a small wine shop in downtown Alexandria the other day, Grape and Bean, where I picked up this Charles Orban Carte Noir Brut. It cost me $39, had a traditional Champagne closure, and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.


On the nose I got apricot, lemon, and toasty brioche. While the nose didn’t seem terribly complex, it did smell very good, like walking into a shop where they bake fresh bread. In the mouth, more apricot, figs, toast, and apples. I thought the bubbles on this Champagne were fantastic, small, and lots of them. Overall I enjoyed this Champagne very much and would definitely by it again.

The Joy of Champagne

I’ve never drank a lot of actual Champagne. It’s one of those regions where I often feel like I’m paying the price for the name “Champagne.” Plus, I’ve had a difficult time finding any in stores local to me that’s not one of the giant houses. If I’m going to spend $50+ on a bottle of wine, I really do want something unique, not s big name wine  you can find in every supermarket. Additionally, I am on a quest this year to drink more bubbles, so a bottle of sparkling or Champagne is making its way into an almost weekly rotation in our house! Tonight we tried the A Margaine Brut Premier Cru Champagne. I picked this up at Unwined in Alexandria, VA for $46.99, it had a traditional Champagne closure, and clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume.

Right out of the glass aromas of walking into a bakery jumped out. Yeasty dough, fresh baked bread, sourdough bread, a carb lover’s dream. I also got lemon and wafers with a hint of cream. In the mouth, more lemon, green apple, lime, and bread. I thought it almost tasted reminiscent of a pineapple Lifesaver on the finish. Overall I’ve call this wine delicate (I used that word at least 3 times in my notes!) and refined. It convinced me that I must drink more Champagne from smaller producers.

Random Tastings

Some wines I tasted at dinner/the Grand Sonoma tasting at the Wine Blogger Conference this summer.  I thought it worth telling you about them since I took the time to take notes and many are worth your time to hunt down!

Sadly, I didn’t get to taste very many wines at the Sonoma Grand Tasting. The location (chosen I think to pre-empt our poolside party) was not large enough for anywhere near 100 people, let alone 275. I only tasted 5 wines throughout the whole event before I ran for cover from the jostling crowd which wasn’t conducive to talking, tasting, taking notes, or really, moving around!

2007 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Chardonnay: French Oak. Oak, butter, maloactic, apple, spice, white pepper, nice acidity, good fruit.

2007 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: Strawberry, cherry, raspberry, spice, pepper, tarragon, red fruit, nice structure, tart fruit.

2008 Lancaster Alexander Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Grapefruit, melon, lemon, spice, crisp, nice mouthfeel, tart citrus. Saw 10% oak.

2006 Roth Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Vanilla, strawberry, currants, blackberry, black cherry, nice structure, reserved.

2005 Roth Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: Big red nose, herbs, leather, earth, black cherry, blackberry, pepper, peppery, smooth, well integrated.

2008 Titus Sauvignon Blanc: Melon, grass, hay, tart, dry, lemon , citrus. Nice.

2007 Titus Zinfandel: Bramble fruit, blackberry tart, vanilla crea, black fruit, violets, tart, nice ripe fruit.

2007 Sojourn Gaps Crown Pinot Noir: Bright red fruit nose, brown sugar, tart, raspberry, nice mouthfeel, spice, cinnamon.

2004 Michel Schlumberger Deux Terres: Leather, bramble, blackberry, dark fruit, fresh blackberry, spice, tannic.

2008 Cline Marsanne Roussane: Pear, orange blossom, spice, honey suckle, spice, orange zest, honey, crisp.

2007 Eric Ross Russian River Valley Marsanne Roussanne: Toasted spice, tinned pear, flowers, grapefruit, really nice acidity, pineapple, caramel finish. One of my top wines of the weekend.

2006 Tytanium Ty Caton: 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Petite Sirah, 20% Syrah, 5% Merlot. Vanilla cream, blue fruit, violets, pepper, chocolate syrup, tight, blueberries, coffee, espresso. Huge wine. I really wanted to see what this would be like the next day, but it was dark in the dinner room and I accidentally grabbed the wrong bottle on my way out!

2007 Teresina Sonoma Valley Zinfandel: Raspberry, cranberry, pomegrante, spice, smooth, cherry, hard candy, pepper.

2006 Kopriva Cassidy Ranch Carneros Chardonnay: Spice apple, pear, spice, cinnamon, overripe peach, nice round mouthfeel, with clean acidity, baked apple pice, green apple.

2006 Titus Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon: Vanilla cream, black, tannic, blackberry pie, dusty milk chocolate, raspberry, tart fruit, anise.

2006 Titus Cabernet Franc: Pepper, herbs, leather, raspberry, tannic, dark, spice, anise, strawberry.

Obviously, I was hanging out just a bit with Christophe from Titus, given how many wines from them I tasted and reviewed. Always a good time, Christophe was sporting a ‘hawk at this year’s WBC, taking the place of Ward from last year!

Bubbly from the Folks

My parents were down visiting not too long ago and in their tradition of supporting my wine-drinking habit, showed up bearing a bottle of NV Lamiable Grand Cru Brut Champagne. We enjoyed this after dinner, and even my mom had a glass, and enjoyed it, which is quite unusual for her!

The nose of the wine displayed honey, apple, yeast and a hint of lemon. The yeast was the most prominent aroma and it carried through nicely to the mouth with a good biscuit aroma. I also found lemons and apples in the mouth.

Overall, the wine was dry and tart, with good bubbles (or bead for my friends who seem to like picking up wine terms from me!) We enjoyed this after our meal was over, and I could easily see how this would be a crowd pleaser. It clocked in at 12% alcohol by volume and I believe can be purchased for around $50.

…and flowed some more!

Lots of celebrations happening at the Wannabe Wino house now that we’ve had a bit of time to get settled in and can actually walk through our living room again after finally unpacking all of the crystal and china that we got as wedding gifts last year and were never really able to find a place for in our apartment.

We paired this Moet & Chandon White Star Champagne with the disaster of the first meal I ever cooked in the new house. You know those pots with the locking lids that you just flip over to drain pasta? Well, I put the lid on, flipped, and drained…..and then the lid wouldn’t come off. I think perhaps the heat expanded it and it just wouldn’t budge. I ended up having to throw the pot away after leaving it in the fridge all night hoping the metal would contract. And in the meantime, cooked new pasta, but the cheesy cream sauce I made reformed into basically one big lump of cheese from cooking too long and it was just not good. So the meal was supposed to be pasta with fresh tomatoes, cheddar cheese sauce and grilled chicken.

The champagne was $41.99 on sale, had a traditional champagne closure, and weighed in at 12% alcohol by volume. At least the champagne helped salvage what otherwise would have been a disaster of an evening and I think it would have gone really well with my pasta if the sauce hadn’t been destroyed.

I would say the nose of the champagne could only be described at toasty and yeasty. It really smelled as if I were making bread from scratch. In the mouth, it was smooth, with a fine bead and certainly went down very easily, displaying mostly crisp green apple flavors. Slightly sweeter than I had expected for this bottle.

Overall, a decent bottle of champagne, though I wouldn’t pay that price point again.

…and flowed

Matt’s Uncle Bruce came over for dinner the other night and arrived bearing wine gifts, which are always greatly appreciated in out household! One bottle was the Veuve Clicquot Demi-Sec to help toast our new house. I popped it in the fridge and we enjoyed it together after dinner, though I imagine it would have gone quite well with the baked ham I made!

I know the same champagne was reviewed just the other day over on Huevos con Vino, I suggest you pop (pun intended) on over there and check out that review too, but that doesn’t spare you from getting my opinion on the bottle as well!

The champagne had a traditional closure and was 12% alcohol by volume. Overall, the wine had a very fine bead, good acidity and bubbles in the mouth and was an excellent sweet champagne! Delicious, I would certainly get it again to celebrate an occassion.

I would describe the nose as displaying aromas of toast, toasted almonds and sweet honey. In the mouth it was quite sweet, but nicely balanced with honey, sweet almonds, green apples and flowers. An excellent way to toast the house and end our evening.

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