Life has been busy with the holidays and all. I think we have all been a little out of sync with Thanksgiving being so late. The annual Grower Producer Champagne seminar was held in November, hosted by Harry Root of Grassroots Wines and facilitated by Marie Sauer of Sauer Grapes. The wines presented were another “killer” line up. It is always difficult to choose favorites because each wine is unique, but there were a couple of noteworthy additions. Renée Geoffroy captured my attention a couple of years ago with his amazing rosés. This year, his Expression Brut NV was among the selections and I found it captivating. Is is a blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, and Chardonnay with a pale straw color, full body, notable pear aroma and flavors, and some vanilla notes.
Another winner was the H. Billiot Reserve Brut Rosé. I can’t wait to drink the bottle I purchased but at the same time, I want to save it! The wine is 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay from the Ambonnay region. It is a lovely shade of pink and bursts with cherry and raspberry flavors with hints of spice. Pictured to the right are my favorite rose, Renee Geoffroy Rosé de Saignée, and the Pehu Simonet Rosé that I had never tried and found to be as wonderful as the brut that I have written about in the past.
The seminar ended with a blind tasting of three champagnes, two grower and one large corporate brand. I was easily able to match the three wines to the labels. It is a fun exercise to try if you have enough people to justify opening three bottles 🙂
Last night there was another Champagne tasting hosted by Debbie Marlowe at The Wine Shop of Charleston. Although I was familiar with all but one of the labels, she featured some cuvées that were new to me. Charles Orban Blanc de Noirs Brut was the label I had never heard of and the wine was delightful with apple and apricot notes. Another favorite was Mousse Fils Blanc de Noirs Reserve, a citrusy, slightly spicy gem.
Grower Champagnes are gaining in popularity as they become better known. As always, I encourage you to seek out some of these fine products at your local wine shops. They are often less expensive than the big name Champagnes and worth every dollar.
Merry Christmas and Happy 2014!