Here is the skinny of this week's edition:
Life is short. Drink Champagne.
This past weekend, I went out to a fabulous dinner and we over-spent on Champagne. Guess what? It didn't matter, because we had Champagne.
It's one of life's greatest pleasures. So today, I'm bubbling over about all things Champagne.
Speaking of bubbles, one of my favorite facts from the Wine Bible is that an open bottle of Champagne contains 100 million bubbles. This is according to bubble researcher Gérard Liger-Belair of the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (yes, we all went to the wrong school).
Karen MacNeil, the Wine Bible author and Wine Blueprint newsletter fixture, goes on to say, "In an unopened bottle, there's only the potential for bubbles."
Hopefully, that's the metaphor you need for this week.
Now, let's pop the cork on this newsletter!
P.S. - Fire up Taylor Swift's champagne problems for an enhanced reading experience.
Champagne Goes With Nearly Everything
Champagne is the Swiss army knife on pairing wine and food. It's so good, wine tests will limit you to using it only once during an exam.
Champagne goes with nearly everything thanks to its acidity and texture. It has wonderful aromas too. As a blend or single variety of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, or Chardonnay, it runs a wide range of styles.
From foie gras to fried chicken, potato chips to pâté, Champagne makes your favorite foods better.
If you need inspiration, check out these Champagne pairing guides from Wine Folly, Advanced Mixology and Epicurious.
Otherwise, grab Champagne and you're ready for any meal.
A Champagne Resource List
Champagne is a wonderful starting point for any wine learning journey. Facts, figures, and quotes abound. It's easy to fall in love with Champagne, and here are some resources to get you started.
A 3 Hour Free Champagne Course - This MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) has been created by the Comité Champagne and contains plenty of wonderful videos to build your Champagne knowledge.
My Favorite Champagne Podcast Episode Ever - Had to go to the way back machine for this one. This 2016 episode of Wine for Normal People was so helpful when I was just getting started in wine. There's still incredible value as this episode gives a breakdown of the region and its history.
And what library would be complete without at least a few books on Champagne.
Here are some of my favorites books, in no particular order:
- Champagne: The Essential Guide to the Wines, Producers, and Terroirs of the Iconic Region by Peter Liem
- The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It by Tilar Mazzeo
- Champagne: Wine of Kings and the King of Wines Hardcover by Tom Bruce-Gardyne
- Champagne: How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times by Don Kladstrup and Petie Kladstrup
- Bursting Bubbles: A Secret History of Champagne and the Rise of the Great Growers by Robert Walters
- But First, Champagne: A Modern Guide to the World's Favorite Wine by David White
Four Must-Try Champagnes
Listen, I like to avoid hyperbole when talking about wine.
But it still took everything in my power to not title this section 4 Champagnes to Enjoy Before You Die.
While you've heard of Dom and Cristal, I wanted to highlight a few others. Here are some my personal favorite Champagnes. Great for gifts or making a Tuesday night special!
Krug Grande Cuvée - It’s my gold standard, and once you taste it, your life will be better.
Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé - I don’t think there’s a more consistently delicious Champagne that you can find nearly everywhere. And while Rosé Champagnes come at a premium, this one will allow you to recover from the other purchases on this list.
2008 Henri Goutorbe Special Club Grand Cru - Special Club is an elite group of producers in Champagne that hold each other to the highest standard. This bottle is an introduction to the club, plus it's vintage Champagne and Grand Cru. Enjoy the wine rabbit holes.
2008 or 2011 Taittinger Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs - Another vintage, Grand Cru champagne, but it's Blanc de Blancs. This means is contains only white grapes. In all but a few cases, that's 100% Chardonnay. If Krug is a Rolls Royce, CdC is an F1 race car. Both expensive, but the drive is different.
If you're fortunate to have sampled all the above, then have you dare tried any of these Champagnes featuring the other four permitted varieties?
Wine News and Notes
If you couldn't tell, I was pretty into Champagne this week.
As a result, I stumbled upon a wonderful Alton Brown before and after. First, giving sabering advice, then failing to follow it years later.
That led to a delightful run of Champagne sabering world record attempts.
And, I did enjoy reading about the rising popularity of German wine in The Drinks Business. It makes me wonder how long before sommeliers are getting Riesling tattoos removed?
Still here? Rock on 🤘 and thanks for reading 📖.
Since you made it this far, take a moment and share this with someone else who loves wine and wants to learn more about it.
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Remember, I get most of my newsletter ideas through conversations with readers. So, hit me up to talk about wine anytime. Who knows, you might inspire a future email.