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Oct 12, 2008 07:36 PM

Blissful Weekend: Champagne and Barolo

Finishing dinner, with a glass of Goisot 2006 Cotes D'Auxerre Corps de Garde, I'm moved to share the wonderful wine I've had this weekend.

Friday: I went to a Champagne class put together by my friend Bubbles4me:
1. NV Jean Milan Carte Blanche Blanc de Blancs - Classic Champagne: yeasty, doughy nose, Granny Smith apples on the palate with nice acidity and a round finish. But it was totally eclipsed by its flight partner, #2, the...
2. 2002 Agrapart & Fils Mineral Blanc de Blancs (!!!) - on the nose, it was dried apricots, with yeast, brioche, and marzipan. It was so rich and complex, it was almost dessert, only if I really thought about it, I blushed a little, and then,,,
3. 1999 Pierre Peters Millesime Blanc de Blancs (oh, my!) - The nose-- perfumed with resin, nutmeg, and spice. It was rich with glycerin. The mouthfeel was wonderful. The finish lasted forever. Hazelnuts? Pignolias? More of that resin that I couldn't quite place. I thought I was in love with the Agrapart, but now, what to do? And we're only on #3!
4. NV Jose Dhondt Blanc de Blancs - Herbal on the nose. On the flight with the Peters. It was applesauce and more nuts.
5. NV Jean MIlan Reserve - Classic Champagne nose, yeast, acid. Nice structure.
6. NV Agrapart & Fils Rosé - This had some earthy, barnyard character from the Pinot Noir. It had a frothy body. Almost like drinking mousse.
7. NV Charles de la Milaniere Rosé - Salmon in color. Took a while to open up. The nose was night blooming jasmine. This is a sexy wine. Quite delicious.
8. NV Camille Saves Rosé - Beautiful pink color. Floral on the nose. This is surprisingly ethereal for a rosé. Where the Charles de la Milaniere is sexy, this one is romantic. This was another one of my favorites. Right up there with the Agrapart and Peters above.
9. NV Vilmart Cuvee Rubis - Oaky. The kind of oak that reminds me of toasted marshmallows. Also strong cinnamon on the nose. The spiciness translated to the mouth, as well.
10. 1998 Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé- Elisabeth (I am speechless) I didn't write any notes on this one, so please forgive me. Suffice to say, I now completely understand what all the fuss is about. As soon as I finished the first sip, I knew I was taking this one home.

The hell with the recession, 401k's, and all that. I bought the vintage Pierre Peters (my partner/fiancé's birthday is next week), and for our wedding, on the 2nd of November, the Elisabeth. It was hard limiting it to 2 bottles. I also covet the Vintage Agrapart and the Camille Saves Rosé. I'm actually a little nervous about sharing these bottles with my soon to be spouse, even though she likes Champagne. Will she like these? Am I too excited by them? (Surely not)

Then, on the the Saturday afternoon tasting: Barolo. I'm not going into the same detail here, but as a group, they were beautiful. I am a sucker for perfume, and oooohh!! I could just walk around and sniff them for an inordinate amount of time. They were a pleasure to have with food. There was prosciutto, salumi, paté (the least successful pairing, IMHO), Fontina, Gorgonzola, Parmesano Reggiano, and a soft, orange rind cheese, which I didn't get the name of. Here's a list of what we had. Stars denote the ones I particularly liked:
1. 2004 Stefano Farina, Normale, La Morra
2. 2001 Giacomo Borgogno, Riserva Classico, Barolo ★
3.2003 Elio Altare, Normale, La Morra, Serralunga d'Alba, Castiglione Falletto
4. 2003 Azelia, Bricco Fiasco, Castigliono Falletto ★ ★
5. 2003 Mauro Molino, Conca, La Morra ★
6. 2004 Fratelli Revello, Normale, La Morra
7. 2003 Domenico Clerico, Pajana, La Morra ★
8. 2003 Paolo Scavino, Bricco Ambrogio, Roddi
9. 2003 Paolo Scavino, Bric del Fiasc, Castiglione Falletto
10. (a Barbaresco) 2004 La Spinetta, Valeirano, Treiso ★ ★

What a weekend. I am incredibly happy.

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    That sounds... WOW!

    >>>10. 1998 Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé- Elisabeth (I am speechless) I didn't write any notes on this one, so please forgive me. Suffice to say, I now completely understand what all the fuss is about. As soon as I finished the first sip, I knew I was taking this one home. <<<

    The '96 is the best rose wine I have ever had... by a lot. Dances circles around the NV Krug rose. Now you have me wanting to go out and buy the '98! I love LOVE Billecart and I'm so glad you enjoyed the experience.

    Thank you for sharing!

    1 Reply
    1. re: whiner

      We popped one to celebrate Christmas eve 2 years ago. My wife and sister-in-law made the bottle disappear in a flash and wanted more.

      Sadly, I can only take limited amounts of champagne because of the bubbles (hiccups) and acidity (don't take to it too good).

      Sounds like you had a super time! Thanks for sharing.

    2. Vickib,
      So glad you had a good time.....were those Champagnes wicked good or what?! I'm with you on the 1999 Pierre Peters, so deep, expressive, floral and rich...kept tasting the wine long after the last sip was gone! My other knock out wine was the 2002 Agrapart Mineral but I am always a sucker for Non Dosage wines...complexity is off the charts with this one. I think the Agrapart shows best when drunk alone, (not in a line up like I had going) as the wine changes in the glass....just gets better as it warms in the glass...nutty, doughy, loaded with minerals with a really long tangy finish....drool.

      The Barolo tasting was an eye opener for me, as a Burgundy freak people have always told me that I should love Barolo....and I, (until Saturday) didnt get it...sooo tannic that I could not see the connection but you hit the nail on the head....aromatics, that is what Barolo and Burgundy have in common....haunting aromatics that you can't seem to stop smelling.

      I tasted the wines early, (and told them to decant!) and my favorite was the 2003 Scavino Bric del was the most expressive right from the bottle, really roasted almost like coffee aromas...reminded me of some great Burgundy I have had....I see you didnt care for that one...wonder if it changed that much after being splooshed around?

      So now I have to get my hands on an older Barolo, (like I need another expensive wine to love) and see what they are like with softer those young wines were kinda mean on my mouth....but the one thing that was making me crazy, (besides the aromas) was although they were firm wines they had amazing freshness....not clunky round fruit, not too dense...really fresh tasting....damn it....another wine to love!

      1 Reply
      1. re: bubbles4me

        It was hard not to buy the 2002 Agrapart. I'm actually pining over it a little.

        As for the Barolos, I'm now a convert, too. I actually did like the Bric del Fiasc. I don't remember any coffee notes, but that doesn' mean much. Frankly, by the time we got to that one, I wasn't taking great notes anymore, and then the last one was so different, being a Barbaresco, that I think I really responded to the contrast between it and the others.

        I went to a Chianti tasting a few months ago, and couldn't relate. They seemed so rough to me. These Barolos, however, are wonderful. I'm really going to have to look at putting aside some cash for some, and lay them down a few years.