When the night arrived, I had 53 people at my house. Each was asked to bring an entree, appetizer or dessert that were in keeping with the French theme. Surprisingly, only one person brought Brie, and only one caviar dish.
sparkler is the entry level for Heidsieck and Co., but offers that autolytic character (yeastiness) that one expects from Champagne. The wine was dry, with some minerally notes, and a touch of apple and citrus. Nice acidity, structure and a moderately long finish. There was some questions about the word "monopole". This simply means that the winery controls the vineyard and the production. In Champagne, many wineries purchase their grapes from co-op houses.
Our second wine moved a little south and west from the far northern reaches of Champagne. Our least expensive wine of the night came from the Loire, and more specifically from the Touraine region. Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are the primary white grapes for this region, and I went with a Sauvignon Blanc from Ricard Les Trois Chenes Touraine 2011. This one really surprised some people, not only for its' low price of only $15, but the fact that it is a very good wine. Crisp acidity, with grapefruit, minerals, and only a bit of that vegetal aroma you get with Sauvignon Blanc. This is a great summer wine!
|Decanted wine service|
While all the wines that were planned for the evening were outstanding, we had a few little "tricks up our sleeves". Two of our members brought some older vintages to share with the group. The first two bottles were purchased at a local charity event, so the provenance was questionable. Both bottles were from Bordeaux, and the 1985 vintage. They were Chateau Mouton-Cadet and Chateau Certan de May (Pomerol). The first was over the hill, The cork broke upon opening and the wine was oxidized. The second wine was from the right bank, and mostly merlot based. It held up surprisingly well. It was a bit "skunky" upon opening, but soon opened up to a little bit of red fruit,and smooth tannins. Medium bodied, with a medium finish.
|1966 Latour - empty|
While I was conducting the tasting, some of my friends decided to venture down to my wine cellar. Luckily, I hid the key. But, the joke's on them. After they left, and only a few people remained, I opened up the cellar and pulled out a 1983 Opus One. I know it's not French, but it was a nice way to end the evening.