I have the honor of hosting Wine Blogging Wednesday #49, "A Toast to the End of the Bush Era." Read more about it on the link, and come back later this week for my WBW#49 round-up. I will be linking wine bloggers' responses from around the country and around the world. My choice for Inauguration night? N.V. Pierre Peters Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Cuvée de Réserve.
The Wooden Guys are happily dancing around this terrific champagne.
Le Mesnil Sur Oger
$39.99 at Chambers Street Wines
The is a "blanc de blanc" champagne, meaning it is made entirely from chardonnay grapes. It is also a "grower champagne." That means it is made by the same person who grows the grapes, rather than by a corporation/negociant. Read more here about
why to buy grower champagne. I bought it from Chambers Street Wines, a wonderful wine shop in Tribeca, which is not exactly Bush country. Simply stated, this wine is everything George W. Bush could possible be against- it is French (was there ever a more embarrassing moment than when we talked about "Old Europe" and renamed "Freedom Fries," all petit attacks against our oldest ally, the nation to which we owe our very existence as a nation?), it is anti-corporate, and it is "elite," you know, champagne, not beer. To celebrate the end of the Bush Era, I will happily drink this poke in his eye.
The color is clear light golden straw, and bubbles are tiny tiny tiny. The nose is rich and yeasty, fresh-baked bread and buttered toast, with light delicate citrus (key limes and a hint of pink grapefruit) and lychee.
The palate is equally delightful. The mousse is full but delicate. Anybody wondering about the term "mousse" in champagne need but try this to understand how something can be rich and mouth-filling yet light as air at the same time. It also gives a perfect lesson in "brut," proving something can be fruit-filled and floral but bone-dry at the same time. The fruit on the palate is like the fruit on the nose- key lime and a touch of sweet grapefruit. Florals were equally citrusy, orange blossoms from a distance. The toast evolved from attack to midpalate in a fascinating way. Up front it was yeasty and toasty, but as that flavor blended with the fruit, well, the best way to describe it is an incredibly light key lime pie with a Zweiback, not graham cracker, crust. Have you ever had real, genuine, New York cheesecake? One where the crust complements the cake rather than competes with it? Those have crusts made from Zweiback crackers and butter. The overall sense of this wine is sweetness, but it is not sweet. It also had clear minerality, but only as background, not foreground.
The finish lasted quite a while, the different tastes all coming together and lingering, all very light but lasting.
On night two the yeastiness took even more of the nose. The smell was richer. Have you ever had Cuban toast? It is Cuban bread, sliced, generously buttered, then "toasted" in a sandwich press. It is yeasty, crusty, and redolent with butter. Spread a piece of that very thinly with key lime and lychee jellies, and you're there.
The palate was similar to the nose- Cuban bread and citrus, plus citrus flowers. Bubbles remained tiny overnight and the mouse smooth and gentle. It was a delightful mouthful, all bubbles and smiles.
I will happily pop a bottle of this the night George W. Bush says "goodbye" to his power. It's French. It's non-corporate. And yes, it's upper-class. To the end of an era, and good riddance to it.
Unless McCain/Palin win. Then I might be looking for a Merlot-Hemlock blend.