I was invited to a friend’s house in the Bay area last night and swiftly put my diet on hold. Our aperitif was the stunning non vintage brut style Champagne from Piper Heidsieck. It opened up in the flute with apple and brioche notes that translated onto the palate seamlessly. A fine mousse and refreshing acidity mingled in with some lemon and biscuit. The mousse was perfect for me, I don’t like large bubbles and the sweetness (or lack thereof) was ideal. Smooth and balanced with a decent finish. We drank this wine with appetizers of cheese, olives and dips. It paired well with all the flavors and was an excellent choice. Very adaptable, this is a brand I will cellar for intimate parties or special occasions. I found it online for $40 and would give it 90 points and 4 stars. Good Champagne is never cheap, this one happens to be a great value. Salut….
The iconic Champagne that every wine drinker has heard of. You can’t mention the region or the style without thinking of this brand, and for good reason. It is absolutely delicious, no doubt about it, and it’s also pretty pricey.
Yesterday, we celebrated my parent’s 50th anniversary. Dad had been saving the 1998 Dom for years, and stuffed it into a carry bag filled with ice and brought it along on our day trip to St. Michaels, Maryland. Before digging into the bountiful lunch of seafood and Blue Crabs, a toast was made with this 15 year young sparkler. Apples and yeast on the nose prepared me for what was to come. The mousse was smooth, rounded and extremely pleasant, allowing the flavors of nuts, apples and perhaps some caramel to come through the perfect acidity. The mouthfeel was incredible, perhaps the term ‘slick’ comes into play, for it was so easy to drink. This wine is a baby, with years ahead and is drinking beautifully now but I reckon it could last a long time if cellared correctly. Very complex with levels of flavors, I loved it. I’m not well versed in sparkling wines, but for me it performed like a 95 point wine should. 5 stars is hard to give a wine that is now available for about $200, yet it seems right. There’s a time and a place for everything; yesterday, they both happened and will make the day that much more memorable.
I normally put the picture after my notes, but in this case I figured it was worth a thousand words. Who does not recognize this wine? It is widely available, decently priced and always a consistent performer. NV means it is of no particular vintage and signifies two points. The wines were not of a quality for the Champagne house to ‘declare’ a vintage, and 2: The wine is consistent with the house style of previous years.
On the nose, bright apple mixed with some interesting yeast notes. On the palate, very smooth bubbles open up a spicy citrus laden apple pie thingy. It’s hard to explain, but a very interesting mix of flavors. This is by far the best bottle of VC I have had. Its acidity was well defined and the balance of the key components was excellent. When you buy a real ‘Champagne”, it’s going to cost. At around $45 per bottle, this is a 4 star wine that I would give 91 points to. A crowd pleaser for most occasions.
I was going to Sabre the bottle, but ran out of time. Here’s how I did it in the past- a neat party trick.
Two bottles of fizz, chopped at the neck and poured. What a neat party trick , and easy to do. I use a big, heavy carving knife- the blunt side. The Champagne bottle has a seam running its length. Simply line the seam facing the sky, and run the back side of the saber along it- poof. The top will come off clean!