Mar 072012

Without question, one of the most underrated Champagnes around is Paul Laurent. 

Bottom line, it is delicious. Easily enjoyed on its own, Paul Laurent also pairs very well with most dishes, and costs significantly less than its counterparts.  Value! This wonderful champagne is full of character and refinement.  Paul Laurent is one of the newer champagne houses, hailing from the Gruet family who have also expanded into the sparkling wine business in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

I discovered Paul Laurent years ago when I was making an effort to branch out beyond the few big houses that were always my go-to bottles.  Boozy best friends were over, a bottle was popped and we discovered the magic of Paul Laurent together.  We were oohing and ahhing over the smoothness, the balance, the lovely colour and delicate bubbles.  We were all converted into fans immediately.

Paul Laurent is a blend of pinot noir (80%) and chardonnay (20%) and made in the traditional méthode champenoise.  It always delivers and can be consumed at any and every moment. I adore that it emphasizes the taste of even the most simple dishes and enhances the pleasure of the most elaborate ones.

Don’t miss this delicious, refined, delicate AND economic champagne.

Champagne Detail #3–The pressure in a bottle of champagne is 90 pounds per square inch–almost three times more pressure than in a car tire.  If you want to blow the cork, do it outside!

 Posted by on March 7, 2012
Mar 062012

Since it is the champagne year, it is only fitting to include a category that focusses on crémants and sparkling wines.  Crémants are sparkling wines made in France, but not within the region of Champagne.  Most of my favourites hail from the Loire Valley and Bourgogne.  Sparkling wine can come from anywhere.  Many of the big champagne houses are now operating in California and are producing some impressive sparklings.  The sparkling and crémant options are not only economic, but can also be very delicious.  Some of the better ones are hard to distinguish when blindly tested against champagne.

Louis Roederer is one of the biggest Champagne houses around, producing a host of delicious champs including one of the most expensive champagnes of all–Cristal–their prestige cuvée.  I was obviously very excited to come across the Roederer California sparkling but lost my enthusiasm pretty quickly once the bottle was popped.

Roederer sparkling comes from grapes grown in the Anderson Valley in Northern California and is a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.   Sounds great so far, but the high acidity content (I think they were trying hard to achieve “crisp” in their blending notes) is the type of bubbly that renders immediate heart burn, and the knowledge that if you continue drinking it, or even worse, spend the night drinking it exclusively, you will spend the entire next day praying to Jesus, hoping to be saved from a brutal hangover.

The difference could arise from the fact that Roederer Estate is not using the traditional méthode champenoise, but the cheaper, less delicious charmat process.  The charmat process is when the wine undergoes its secondary fermentation process in bulk tanks, not in the bottle as it does during the méthode champenoise.

The bite of this sparkling was sadly too intense to be even considered as a top contender in this very important division.

There are so many fantastic sparkling options at a similar (or even cheaper) price point which are quite delicious, this one simply doesn’t make the cut.

 Posted by on March 6, 2012
Mar 022012

You know how it is.  You don’t have the aisle seat and your place is a few seats in.  This happens in pretty much all spaces that require seating including theatres, planes, auditoriums, pews etc.  So there you are, you need to get to your seat and have to pass by people who are already seated.  Did you know there is etiquette surrounding the way in which you pass them?  Do you pass facing the front or pass by giving them your back?

It was something I had never actually thought about and definitely had never been told. The Germ was the first to alert me to the fact that there is indeed protocol regarding passing someone.   He alerted me because I had done the pass incorrectly–according to good form.  Sacre bleu!

You always pass with your front.  Never pass with your behind.  No one wants a random butt starring them in the eye.

Now you know–and knowing is half the battle.

 Posted by on March 2, 2012