What information does the consumer want from the wine he's about to drink? Today's labels include the alcohol percentage, sometimes a little tasting note or some generic information on the winery—and more often than not the "contains sulfites" statement. Is this really enough or does the consumer want more information?
In my experience, vins clairs tastings are a rare opportunity to catch a glimpse of the wine before the bubbles, and to imagine their development over time; they are a unique foray into the magical kingdom of champagne. Early in the life of a bottle of champagne, before bubbles have
Here in Champagne, one often says that champagne is first and foremost a wine. However the characteristics of this wine change significantly with the adding of the dosage (a mixture of base wine and cane sugar) at the time of disgorging. Today's most popular Champagne style is brut—which often contains 6 to 12
Golden with a delicate mousse. Mineral nose with a hint of fresh almonds. Complex, intense champagne, with lots of citrus (grapefruit, Meyer lemon, tangerine) flavors. Long pastry finish. WHO: Pierre Gimonnet WHAT: Champagne WHERE: Cuis, Champagne, France WHEN: 2005 HOW MUCH: around $64 (media sample)
Pale yellow color. Delicate white blossom and mineral (iodine) nose. Quite linear champagne, almost flinty on the palate, some citrus notes and a lingering saline finish. Pair with sashimi. WHO: Paul Goerg WHAT: Champagne WHERE: Vertus, Champagne, France WHEN: NV disgorged in 2011 HOW MUCH: around $50 (media sample)
Bright coral pink champagne, with red currant and Florida grapefruit on the nose. Very smooth and rounded champagne, with flavors of red currant and pomegranate, a hint of ripe red apple and a lingering rounded finish. Pair with a red fruit dessert. WHO: Tarlant WHAT: Champagne WHERE: Oeuilly, Champagne, France
Light golden color with small elegant bubbles. Tangerine, acacia honey and apple blossom on the nose. Crisp and zesty champagne with flavors of Meyer lemon, a little brioche and iodine. A hint of tangerine in the lingering finish. Pair with oysters or drink as an aperitif. WHO: Tarlant WHAT: Champagne
Golden in color with very fine bubbles. Grapefruit, Meyer lemon and a white nectarine on the nose. Delicate yet vibrant wine with flavors of ripe Meyer lemon, kumquat and tarte tatin. Some vanilla notes in the long finish. Pair with lobster thermidor. WHO: Ayala WHAT: Champagne WHERE: Ay, Champagne, France