Above: This and the images below were all captured in September 2008, when Franco and I visited the truly marvelous and amazing Ca’ del Bosco in Franciacorta. That’s Anna Caprini, director of media relations, who gave us an excellent tour of the winery.
In the case you don’t know or read BrooklynGuy’s blog, you don’t know what you’re missing! His blog is everything a great wine blog should be: open, honest, with no hidden agenda other than sharing his impressions and knowledge and entertaining us with his wry and dry (pun intended) humor.
BrooklynGuy has one of the purest palates in the blogosphere and even though he doesn’t work in the wine industry, he is often asked to take part in tasting panels — by both major magazines and high-profile trade personalities who want to get his impressions.
Above: Ca’ del Bosco produces a wide range of superb champagne-method wines. And while technology prevails there (after all, Champagne and champagne-method wines are, perhaps more than any other, the fruit of technology), works of art also punctuate the winery tour experience, like this rhino suspended, seemingly precariously, from the facility’s ceiling.
But the greatest thing about his blog, for those of us who have been following it for a while now, is BrooklynGuy’s (and I mean this in the most complimentary way) “Rain Man” approach to tasting and wine writing. He’s never lost that sense of innocence that sets his blog apart from the pack (otherwise dominated by folks who think they’re doing the world a favor by sharing their informed and informative palates).
BrooklynGuy loves him some bubbles (as evidenced by his nearly weekly series Friday Night Bubbles).
Above: The remuage or riddling process was the leap in technology that made Champagne and champagne-method wines like those produced in Franciacorta possible. The bottles are stored in these racks and then “riddled”: every day they are turned, gently, by hand, so that the lees of the wine will settle in the neck.
I asked him to cull his blog for some great-value Champagnes and otherwise bubbly wines and he graciously obliged.
As the Latins used to say, ubi maior, minor cessat…
I am not someone who sees Champagne as a seasonal beverage. I drink it the way I drink any other wine — as often as I can. That said, there are many people who will buy champagne in the coming week who do not ordinarily do so, and the variety and prices can get a bit overwhelming. Here are some of my favorite sparkling wines at a few different price points (NYC prices, anyway). These are wines that I are available now, that I would confidently purchase for myself or to share with others at a celebration. There are loads of other great choices too, and these are all rather small production wines, so if you don’t find these, ask your friendly knowledgeable wine clerk, or leave Dr. J [editor’s note: that would be me] a comment and he’ll try to get back to you.
Domaine de Montbourgeau Cremant du Jura NV
$20, Neal Rosenthal Imports.
A delicious Blanc de Blancs made from Jura Chardonnay. Refreshing and balanced, very earthy.
Huet Vouvray Petillant Brut 2002
$28, Robert Chadderdon Selections.
The finest of the sparkling wines from Vouvray, from one of the finest producers in Vouvray. This is incredibly high quality wine, and at this price it’s a steal.
Above: A detail of the lees (the dead yeast cells) that will be disgorged before the wine is bottled and released.
Pierre Brigandat Champagne Brut Reserve NV
$32, Bonhomie Wine Imports.
A lively and expressive Blanc de Noirs that offers ripe and clean fruit, but also a definite sense of soil and mineral.
Chartogne-Taillet Cuvée Sainte-Anne Brut NV
$38, Terry Theise Selections, Michael Skurnik Imports.
This to me is a classic Champagne — floral and biscuit aromas, great acidity and tension, a chalky finish, just delicious. A blend of equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
Pierre Gimmonet Champagne Selection Belles Années Blanc de Blancs Brut NV
$35, Terry Theise Selections, Michael Skurnik Imports.
A new cuvée from Gimmonet made of a blend of two vintages of the Cuvée Gastronome, the wine bottled at lower pressure so as to be more harmonious with food. A lithe and tasty wine.
Thanks, again, BrooklynGuy! You ROCK! And happy new year, everyone!
Wow, thanks for all of the kind words Dr. Parzen. Very kind indeed. Have to go now. There’s Jeopardy at 4 o’clock.
We always had a half-bottle of Chartogne-Taillet Cuvée Sainte-Anne in the fridge, just in case Anne had occasion to celebrate. It was the house toasting wine — because it was eponymous, and because it was good.
For special occasions, there was the 1996 Chiquet ‘Special Club,’ which spoke to us mightily – I recall intending to drink a glass apiece one December 31, and before we knew it, the bottle was gone.
I came late to Champagne (one of the many fine things my marriage taught me) but can now, on a good night, have the zeal of a convert. And this convert lifts a glass to 2010, and to the happiness of JP and TB.
@BrooklynGuy thanks again for guest posting. It’s an honor to have you here and thanks for the friendship and camaraderie over the last years…
@Howard thanks for stopping by and the well wishes. They mean so much… I know the Cuvée Sainte-Anne was and is a special wine in your home… Like the memories of a lifetime, the different vintages of a cuvée are blended together, from the good years and the not so good years, all for the best…