Let’s toast! Today is the 4th annual International Champagne Day, an occasion meant to sample, order, buy and definitely drink this wonderful wine. “Champagne, often the selection to mark joyous and special occasions, is a wine that evokes friendship, laughter and enduring memories when enjoyed among friends and family,” said Sam Heitner, director of the Champagne Bureau, USA.
Remember only real Champagne from the cool Champagne region of France - about 90 miles northeast of Paris – can be legally called Champagne. There are some great bubblies produced here in the California, around the country and in various spots around the world. But real Champagne is tres magnifique!
The historic and important city of Reims (pronounced Hrans) is the largest city in this appellation and is where many of the famous Champagne Houses are located. Though the big brands are well known internationally there are also more than 4,700 “Mom and Pop” small Champagne grower-producers in the region making fine bubblies too. Only grapes harvested by hand ever appear in Champagne and only three grapes varieties, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, are used. About 95% of Champagnes produced are blends from these grapes.
Top exporters of Champagne include: Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Piper Heidsieck, Laurent Perrier, Pommery, Mumm, Nicolas Feuillatte, Lanson, Taittinger, and Perrier Jouët. I thoroughly enjoy sipping anything by Deutz or a fine under-the-radar bubby, Drappier’s Grand Annee. This year I sampled a brand new Champagne from specialty producer, Arteis & Co. Peachy, warm, round and zaftig, this bubbly is a serious new wine to consider. You can only find it at some exclusive tasting houses around the US.
Of course you can’t go wrong with the classics like Dom Perignon or Pommery’s wonderful Cuvee Louise. I love Delamotte’s Blanc de Blancs and Veuve Cliquot’s standard Yellow Label is superb. Yet my all time favorite remains Krug’s Grande Cuvee. It is bold, masculine, toasty and rich with a long, languorous finish. It is the quintessential, king of full bodied Champagnes.
Champagne lovers around the globe are encouraged to blog, tweet, post and share their experience celebrating with the #ChampagneDay hashtag. To find some of the events happening around the world and learn more about how to participate in the online celebrations, visit the official Champagne Day event page: http://bit.ly/19EIh4L
Drink some bubbly – today!
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c. Bob Ecker 2013