There are thousands of different wine grape varietals, and I would argue hundreds of different distinct styles of wine. Many (e.g Pinot Noir) are versatile while others more appropriate for a specific food pairing or event. One style pairs with virtually any food, and definitely with any occasion. That wine is Champagne.
The LBD of Wine!
Champagne is the one wine you can use for any occasions and it will be delightful and appropriate, just like your favorite little black dress!
Champagne is such a celebratory drink, and there will be many occasions to pop a cork on a chilled bottle of bubbly this year, Or, maybe you don’t need any occasion, just the urge to sip something wonderful.
Shopping for Champagne
In shopping for Champagne, it is really important not to confuse it with the dozens of other sparkling wines that are available from all over the world. Many of these may be excellent wines, but Champagne comes from only one place, the Champagne region of northern France.
Champagne is made from any combination of three grape varietals, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Munier. Many great Champagne wines contain all three grapes, while others focus on only one.
Print Restaurant Tasting:
Recently, we had the opportunity to attend a master class at PRINT restaurant, with Floriane Eznack, the Cellar Master and Winemaker at Champagne Jacquart. Jacquart specializes in wines made using the whole rich mosaic of grapes from great vineyards throughout the Champagne region.
According to Ms. Eznack, her goal has been to develop the character of Champagne Jacquart’s wines so that the response to modern-day needs by making the experience of tasting them match the unique encounters during which they are consumed.
At the same time, she is looking to create a wine with finesse and elegance that represents the mosaic of flavors that come from the myriad growers that provide the grapes for the wines.
In doing this, Ms. Eznack developed a wine called Mosaic Brut ($40), a blend that represents all of the grapes that the house has access to. Her goal was to create Mosaic as a consistent rendition of Jacquart’s unique house style.
The wine includes between 25 and 35 percent reserve grapes and is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier. It is aged for 3 years in the cellars. The Mosaic style is the basis for all of the wines produced by Champagne Jacquat.
Mosaic is pale to golden yellow in color, with a toasty apple nose. It has a creamy mousse and is apply and yeasty up front with a clean citrusy finish.
Ms. Eznack suggests that this wine should be drunk young, and would not suggest cellaring it for over 5 years. At PRINT, this wine was paired with a spicy prawn dish, and as good champagne should, it stood up to the spice extremely well.
This wine was followed with a vintage Blanc de Blanc, Jacquart Blanc de Blanc (2009: $50). 2009 was pale gold in color, with a yeasty nose with tropical notes. It had a light mousse, and was apple-y and yeasty up front, finishing in toasty notes.
PRINT paired this wine a mushroomy pork belly, and the acid in the wine handled the fatty belly very well.
Ms. Eznack considers her vintage wines, like the 2009 Blanc de Blanc, to be the jewels of the collection, as they are wines that in a way transcend time, and capture the quintessential qualities of an outstanding vintage in the bottle.
Our third wine of the evening was Champagne Jacquart Mosaic Rose ($50), which was paired with Mediterranean style lamb chops.
Rose Champagne is a great choice when dining at a fine restaurant like PRINT, not only because it is elegant, but because the color is so festive.
This wine was salmon pink, with a toasty nose, some raspberry notes on the front, and a long fresh finish.
This Rose Champagne was a balanced blend of all three champagne grapes, and about 18 percent is pinot noir still wine which gives it is luscious color. One-third of the blend is made from reserve wines.
The final wine in the tasting was Champagne Jacquart Alpha Brut (2010: $110). Alpha is truly a jewel in Champagne Jacquart’s crown.
According to Ms. Eznack, the Alpha label symbolizes the ultimate quest for harmony between finesse and depth. She considers this to be a wine with a feeling about it rather than a flavor.
We tasted the wine with grilled whole sea bass. My tasting notes simply said this is a quintessential champagne.
Light gold in color with a fresh clean nose, the wine was rich and toasty up front, with that caramel flavor that comes out in good aged champagne in the mid-palate.
The finish on this wine was extremely long with a nice clean minerality.
It was truly a pleasure to sample these very balanced and elegant champagne’s, and Ms. Eznack was as charming as she was knowledgeable. Think about champagne to add flavor and feeling to just about any event.
For more on Champagne Jacquart please visit: https://www.champagne-jacquart.com/en/
For more on the Champagne region visit: https://www.champagne.fr/en/homepage