I am a very lucky girl. I know this. My job allows me to travel the world and taste amazing wines. As the year comes to a close, I remember getting an actual pearl in an oyster I had New Year’s Eve last year. I knew then that 2012 would be an amazing year. It did not let me down. In April, my husband and I toured and tasted at the Chandon Winery in California. In June, while I waited for the bus at Oregon Pinot Camp, I was given mimosas made with Argyle Sparkling Brut. Last week, I was able to sit down with Master Sommelier and Krug Champagne Ambassador Ian Cauble to taste some of the world’s most sought-after Champagnes. From beginning to end, my year was full of bubbles. So here are the Sparkling wines that really stood out:
Domaine Chandon Etoile Brut NV, California –
Etoile means star in French, and this definitely lives up to its moniker. Notes of ginger, lemon curd, and spice abound, making it terrific for foods like salmon, sushi, or Thai.
Argyle NV Brut –
While in Oregon this summer, I tasted a few different sparkling wines, but the overall king was Argyle. Biscotti, apple, and pear are found on the nose, with bright, lively bubbles of honey, almond, and baked apple on the palate. Enjoy this with classic appetizers like baked brie and smoked salmon or with a dessert like Nino’s delicious cinnamon raisin bread pudding.
Lanson NV Brut Rose –
Lanson has been served by presidents and royalty for centuries. In fact, Lanson has held a Royal Warrant from the Royal Family since 1859. So when I had the chance to taste the Brut and Brut Rose about three months ago, I was very curious. I figured that if the Queen drinks it, it has to be good, right? Right. I was wowed. The Rose had a beautiful bouquet of rose hips and apple blossom, with black cherry, red and black raspberry, Christmas spices, and cake on the palate. Be like the Queen and have this stunning Rose with berry tarts, crumpets, and clotted cream.
Krug Grand Cuvee NV –
I’ve blogged about my affinity for the Krug Champagne House. I simply love it. As I listened to Mr. Cauble last week over lunch, I could tell he loved it too. I learned a lot about the care that goes into every bottle of Krug. For instance, every bottle of Krug is aged in used French oak barrels so that the flavor of the delicate grapes is not overshadowed by the oak of the barrel. Every bottle of Non-Vintage Brut has up to 20 years worth of production put into it. The blend can be a cépage of wines that date back 15 years if the cellar master feels it is right. The bubbles in the particular glass I tasted produce a steady fine steam, and on the nose, I got brioche, ripe pear, and roasted almond. The bubbles formed a creamy mousse, and the flavors of fresh-cut lemon, marzipan, and candied citrus flourished. Refreshing, with acidity that leaves you wanting more, this Champagne is perfect for lobster with drawn butter, along with caviar, or even as an aperitif.
Well, I hope 2013 is even better–for us all–than 2012 was. I can’t think of a better way to ring in the New Year than by raising a glass of delicious Champagne and toasting to not only the future but also the past.