Tasting Night Recap: Champagne

Tasting Night Recap: Champagne

I’ve been doing alcohol tasting nights at home for a while now, and want to get into the habit of sharing them in case anybody else would benefit. Unsure if I’ll backfill previous nights but for now I want to share the most recent: Champagne! If you want to see the full presentation, go here.

Quick Recap

More specifically, this one was all about things made in the traditional champagne style, Méthode Champenoise. See the slides for more details but the quick of it is that all 8 bottles went through the process of secondary fermentation in the bottle, riddling (getting lees to bottom of bottle), and disgorging (removing) the lees, even though only one was champagne proper.

The flight we had was:

  1. Antech Limoux: $13 - Limoux, France - from a French region that has been making sparkling wine longer than the Champagne region
  2. Loxarel Reserva 2012: $25 - Spain
  3. Gruet Brut: $19 - New Mexico
  4. Gruet Blanc de Noir: $19 - New Mexico
  5. Moët & Chandon: $40 - Champagne, France
  6. Heidrun Hawaiian Macadamia Nut: $22 - Point Reyes, CA - sparkling mead, where the only difference between bottles is the honey used
  7. Heidrun Arizona Desert Mesquite: $28 - Point Reyes, CA
  8. Birra del Borgo L’Equilibrista: $?? (can’t remember) - Rome, Italy - 40% wine, 60% beer, slightly sour

General thoughts on the lineup, from talking to people:

  • Antech Limoux held up very well for being significantly cheaper than all others
  • Moët was great but probably not worth the price if you’re not the most discerning drinker
  • Heidrun was a crowd favorite, but different people preferred one vs the other (which I consider quite a good thing)
  • If you like sour beers, you love Birra del Borgo

And some notable/fun bits I learned while researching:

  • riddling takes ~3 months by hand but can be done in less than a week by machine
  • “Brut” is not the dryest style, “Brut Nature” is
  • Demi-Sec (one of the sweetest champagnes) was the most common ~150 years ago
  • Prosecco has 2 certification levels: DOC and DOCG, where DOCG is the higher designation. Costco $7 prosecco is DOCG.
  • recommended to drink proper champagne around 47F-50F, which is likely warmer than you would think

Keeping this post short and simple, so that’s it. Cheers!