Tomorrow is the sixth annual #ChampagneDay! The 2015 #ChampagneDay is set for Friday, October 23.
What makes Champagne Champagne and not just another bottle of bubbles you wonder?
- Champagne is from the Champagne region of France, which, on July 5th 2015 was granted World Heritage status by UNESCO.
- Champagne is from the Champagne region of France, making it the only sparkling wine that can be called Champagne.
- Champagne is from Champagne, France.
But beyond the fact that CHAMPAGNE only comes from the Champagne region of France and all other bubbles are just sparkling wine and NOT Champagne? This video offers a few clues:
Que Syrah Sue and I contemplated this question recently as we tasted Champagne Jacquart’s Brut Mosaique and I shared with her some notes from the sparkling wine session at Sunset Savor the Central Coast a few weeks ago. (More on this session where we tasted and compared and contrasted Champagne with Prosecco and new world sparkling wine in a future post).
— Gwendolyn Alley, MA (@ArtPredator) September 27, 2015
While what might stand out first in a Champagne is the bubbles, in general, Champagne offers aromas of fruit, toasted nuts, soy or yeast, caramel or vanilla with some spice, it is crisp, full in body, and creamy on the palate, and not very sweet with a long, satisfying finish.
The strongest and most distinct indicator of a sparkling wine from Champagne to me is the yeasty, bready, almost heady quality of the wine.
What we decided made a Champagne special is the refined quality, a gentle quality. In some ways, it is easier to define a great Champagne by what it is NOT: It is not harsh or rough in anyway. Like a gentleman or gentle lady, the more expensive bottles of bubbles offer a gentle finish, gentle bubbles, and gentle fruit. The more expensive, the more gentlemanly or lady-like, the more refined the sparkling wine in every way.
A blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes, the Brut Mosaique is a pale white gold in color and surprised me at first with a finish that reminded me of cocoa powder. We found fresh pear on the nose as well as the palate, and that fresh crisp fruit lingers in the finish. Toasted almonds and yeasty notes signal its origins of Champagne, and a bit or orange blossom and honeycomb show with a bit of agitation (okay I almost knocked my glass over but there was a reward for that near miss and mistake!)
Winemaker notes include: “Chardonnay is the dominant grape variety (35%-40%), giving Brut Mosaique its freshness and delicate aromas. Pinot Noir (35%-40%) adds structure and Pinot Meunier (25% -30%) brings fruit. The grapes are sourced from exceptional terroirs, including the Grands Crus of the Cote des Blancs and the Montagne de Reims. The presence of 20% reserve wine ensures regularity of style, while more than three years ageing and a light dosage of 10g/l result in a balanced and complex champagne.”
Too often people think only of making a toast with Champagne and if they think of food, the go to is OYSTERS! Paired with the kumamoto oyster from Jolly Oyster in Ventura made us feel like we were tasting the sea air. The champagne brought out the freshness of the ocean, and the sweetness. With the Pacific oyster from Jolly Oyster, the Champagne brought out the saltiness of the oyster.
Another go to pair for Champagne is soft cheeses like brie, and this was lovely with a mushroom brie –it brought out the earthy richness in it.
But Champagne is really a great food wine and pairs well with just about anything except a big hunk of red meat.
We were pleased to discover how well this Champagne paired with asparagus wrapped in proscuitto as asparagus is notoriously challenging to pair with wine. Sue prepared a mini-pizza with the mushroom brie as a base, and small rounds of asparagus and a few red ribbons of proscuitto — very simple but very elegant and refined appetizer and what a wonderful pairing as well. For dinner, we paired the Brut with fresh clams cooked in their own juices with garlic, herbs, and some white wine served on linguini. We greedily gobbled up the clams and the Champagne! According to 1000 Corks, the wine retails between $30 and $40, and it definitely tastes like a $40 bottle of wine– it will not disappoint you!
Champagne Jacquart is, of course, located in Champagne, France, and in 2014, celebrated 50 years. Home to 1,800 vineyards in the Champagne region, Champagne Jacquart has 60% of their vines located in Cru sites. They report that they constantly aim to exceed industry guidelines for traditional winemaking methods.
In November, I will be learning more about Champagne Jacquart when I attend a press lunch in Beverly Hills where the guest of honor will be Floriane Eznack, Cellar Master for Champagne Jacquart. The luncheon will pair signature dishes created by Ocean Prime Executive Chef Matthew Briggs with the wines of Champagne Jacquart. I am very excited and look forward to sharing what I learn here.
I love Champagne Day and celebrate it every year (see posts from 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014!) So, welcome to the sixth annual #ChampagneDay!
Raise a flute to the wine of celebration, good cheer and toasts everywhere: Champagne! And while there are great sparkling wines from around the world, remember that Champagne only comes from Champagne, France.
To participate in tomorrow’s Champagne Day, all you need is a glass of Champagne on October 23, 2015 and to share your photos, tasting notes, experiences and videos on any social media site. Add the #ChampagneDay hash tag so your friends from around the globe can share in the fun.