AWC Blog

Spotlight: Champagne

“I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it — unless I’m thirsty.” ― Lily Bollinger House of Bollinger Champagne

Lily basically sums up my feelings as well, and though I feel Champagne isn’t as understood or often enjoyed as it should be, we can let that discussion stand for another time. It’s time to Celebrate and ‘popping’ a cork of bubbles is what it’s all about!

Marc Hébrart ‘Cuvee de Reserve’ 1er Brut NV

Peter Liem writes of Champagne Hébrart on “Hébrart’s wines have a broad appeal: if you like to think about your wines, they’re intellectually engaging enough to satisfy you; on the other hand, if you’re just looking to drink, they’re simply delicious. The wines are full and generous without being weighty, complex and soil-driven without being demanding. Overall, the entire range is of consistently high quality, and represents excellent value for the money.”

I couldn’t agree more. Hébrart is an unbelievable value in the world of Champagne. Premier Cru fruit (75% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay) is impossible to find at this price point. They used to sell their grapes to the big houses and decided in the 1950’s to start bottling their own instead. I am so glad they made that choice to be part of the Grower Champagne movement. Believe me, after this bottle it’ll be Veuve who?

Egly-Ouriet Brut Tradition Grand Cru NV

Hard to believe that there was a time when the term Grower Champagne was not in use or a thing. One of the very first of the Growers and now on their fourth generation of winemaker, Egly-Ouriet’s major holdings are Pinot Noir in the famed Grand Cru of Ambonnay. Their style is all power and elegance. Sometimes overlooked in favor of the younger crop, they, for me, are still the benchmark to aspire to.

Krug Grand Cuvee MV

Krug is entirely in its own category and deserves much written attention. How do they differ from anyone and everyone else? In a nutshell: Each specific parcel of land is vinified separately, everything is done in oak as opposed to steel, and they take a minimum of 10 different vintages to make their Grand Cuvee which is why they call it a MV (Multi Vintage) instead of NV (non vintage). And yes!, the proof is most definitely in the pudding.
Olivier Krug suggests (insists) that his wine be served in glasses as opposed to flutes to allow his wine to fully shine. I know sometimes it’s hard to remember, but at the end of the day Champagne is a wine first and foremost, and if you give it a try you may never go back to flutes at all.

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