This week, the last of the year, I have decided to dedicate to Champagne. Here is another article chronicling one of my recent experiences centered around the wine chosen by many to celebrate the New Year.
For me, it is difficult to really concentrate on the wines during a walk-around tasting as well, you are walking around. I feel like if I stop to take a few tasting notes I will either lose my glass when I set it down or people will think I am a dork for pounding away on my phone, or more likely, both.
Instead, I decided to be social since there were a few people I knew (Anatoli from Talk-a-Vino, Cathrine from Dame Wine, and Mary Anne from Terlato Wines). There were also a few people who I wanted to meet (Laura Jensen and Anna Micic from Terlato, and Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher formerly of the Wall Street Journal, and of Open That Bottle Night fame).
Oh, and there was champagne. Lots and lots of champagne.
I did not really need to be anywhere for a couple of hours, so, well, I drank champagne.
Lots and lots of champagne.
After draining more than my share of the 2006 (which, at least at this point in their respective maturations, was drinking much better than the more expensive Rare—but in a few years, however, watch out: that Rare is going to be gangbusters), I left the tasting to head down town for my next event.
A couple of weeks earlier, my buddy Gabe Sasso (also known as my “wine pimp”) asked if I wanted to attend the following:
Wait. Let me get this straight.
Pre-Release Screening. James Bond. Bollinger Champagne. After party.
Even though I am a pretty big James Bond fan (or at least when 007 is portrayed by Sean Connery), I would have said yes if the movie starred Roseanne Barr as Dora the Explorer.
Why? Bollinger Champagne. Bollinger is one of the few producers in Champagne that still ages some of their vins clairs in oak (another is Krug, need I say more?), and is consistently one of my favorite wines from the region.
I would like to say that I took copious notes on the film, but I didn’t (it was OK, but a little predictable). I would like to say that I carefully examined the wines, but I didn’t (the standard N.V. Brut was stellar as usual and the special edition “Spectre” Cuvée was exceptional).
I did have my iPhone, however, and was able to take a few photos:
The following day, I went to lunch with a couple other wine writers at Koi Restaurant in SoHo with Régis Camus, the Chef de Cave at Piper-Heidsieck and Mary Anne Sullivan and Anna Micic of Terlato.
The food was stellar, the champagnes were wonderful, but the people and the conversation really stood out. I was fortunate enough to sit next to Régis who was an absolute crack-up. The day before he showed glimpses of his sense of humor, but in the smaller, more intimate setting, he really let loose, and I was barely able to eat in between guffaws (although it did not really slow down my champagne consumption).
N.V. Piper-Heidsieck Brut: Retail $45. Pear and white grape on the nose. More citrusy on the palate. Outstanding. 89-91 Points.
2006 Piper-Heidsieck Millésimé: Retail $85. This was my favorite the day before and it is just as stellar today. Husky yet svelte. This is my wheelhouse, by a lot. Outstanding. 93-95 Points.
2002 Piper-Heidsieck Rare: Retail $180. This is a beautiful bottle of wine but it is young. Really young. Without a doubt this is a hold for another decade wine. No problem. Outstanding and 91-93 Points now. In a decade? 93-96+ Points.
N.V. Piper-Heidsieck Rosé Sauvage: Retail $65. Decidedly fruitier on the nose with red berry fruit. Rich and full this is a wonderful wine for most food. Outstanding. 91-93 Points.
N.V. Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Sublime: Retail $55. Same wine as the N.V. Brut but an extra year on the lees and the a little more sugar in the dosage. Impeccably balanced and slightly sweet. Outstanding. 90-92 Points.
I have not been to Champagne for a couple of years now, but these 24 hours in Manhattan almost made up for it. Many thanks to DKC Public Relations (Bollinger) and particularly Donna White of Donna White Communications and Mary Anne Sullivan and Anna Micic of Terlato Wines for including me in these wonderful events.