Schlepping for Champagne Leigh December 19th, 2011


by Leigh Ranucci, Wine Traditions, LTD

When it comes to schlepping for the holidays, I strap on my party shoes and take the high road. Eat your heart out Arthur Miller, I walk with Champagne!

I’m not talking about Dom Perignon to match my Louis Vuittons (LVMH you eat your heart out). This is grower-Champagne. Farmer Fizz. Down to earth glamour. Unexpectedly gorgeous. Made from scratch, vine to bottle, by farmers from small, independently owned family estates. No time, no mind for serfdom. The New Wave of Champagne.

Wine Traditions imports Champagne from three independent producers, each producing in separate areas in the Champagne appellation, each with different soils, climates and grape plantings, each with completely distinctive results. Following is a selection from each producer. Check out to read about all of their wines.

R. Dumont Pere et Fils Solera Reserve NV, 100% Chardonnay (Aube)

The property is located in the southeastern corner of Champagne in the Côte de Bar, close to Chablis, and shares the same Kimmeridgian soils as Chablis.

Dumont is one of the very few Champagne producers to produce a Champagne using the solera method. Beginning in 1991, Bernard Dumont dedicated one stainless steel tank to Chardonnay, ⅓ of which he bottles and then replaces by fermented juice from the current vintage, making it at present, a blend of approximately 20 vintages. This solera system produced its first release in 2010. Production is about 400 cases annually. The result is sophisticated and complex; a blend of wine on its tertiary aspects – at the core earthy and rich aged Chardonnay, balanced and heightened with fresh elements of younger wine. Dosage is low at 6 grams.

José Michel et Fils Brut NV “ Pinot Meunier” (Côtes d’Epernay)

José Michel has somewhat of a cult following for his Champagnes. This “Maison de Tradition” began in 1847 and five generations later the Michels still carry on an artisanal sensibility to their craft. They are located in Moussy, a small village just south of Epernay.

Richard Juhlin, had this to say in his review of 2000 Champagnes:

“The two great exceptions that prove the rule about the maturing potential of Pinot Meunier are Krug and José Michel.”

José Michel is one of very few producers to bottle a Champagne of 100% Pinot Meunier. The wine is extraordinary; vinous, grapey, earthy and rich – it is exemplary of a Champagne that is meant to pair with food; duck breast, squab(!), pheasant w/ reduced sauces w/winter herbs and fruit compotes. In a pinch, just Roquefort. Killer.

Thierry Triolet Brut Rose NV (Côtes de Sezanne)

The Champagne house of Thierry Triolet is located in the village of Bethon in the Côtes de Sezanne region of Champagne, traditionally, a source of excellent Chardonnay grapes for the large negociant Champagne houses to the north.

Triolet’s Rosé Champagne combines a base of Chardonnay with 15% red wine. The red wine is a 50/50 blend of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. The wines are blended and the “assemblage” undergoes the second fermentation followed by an extended period “sur lattes”. The result is a charming Rosé Champagne, w/ lovely saturation of medium pink color, wildly redolent of field strawberries, pure, delicately fruity and mouthfilling. This reaches beyond the mere imitation of glamour, this is true romance. Drink it. Feel it.

More on schlepping from Rhode Palate: Schlep of a Salesman

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • StumbleUpon
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Print

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.