“Living Patrimony” (Bollinger Champagne Recent Releases)

Vinted on October 22, 2015 binned in elegant wines, kick-ass wines, on the road, sexy wines, wine review
Bollinger house

“Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…”

In theory, it ought to be easy to hate on the Champagne house Bollinger.

Bollinger racksThey’re big (producing about 3 million bottles annually); they’re kitschy-famous (getting the royal warrant from the UK market in 1884, and then becoming the official Champers of agent 007); they’re fairly corporate (a staggering – and, one imagines, barely manageable – 175 shareholders); they have that other matriarch, the one with the famous and too-oft-cited quote about basically drinking Champagne all of the time (and let’s not forget that Lilly Bollinger originally resisted the release of a rosé, viewing it as “red-light district” wine, which casts serious doubts as to her sanity in my view…); and they have 5 kilometers of cellars under the town of Ay, housing 700,000 magnums full of aging wines (ok, that last bit is actually really cool).

But with Bollinger, we have a clear case of the gimcrack facade belying a core of true vinous substance (rather than the other way around). So… sorry, but the haters are gonna need to shelve that shiz for a few hundred words.

On a rainy day in September, my visit included a chat with Adjoint de Cave Denis Bunner, a young guy who had a my-job-is-really-awesome smile chiseled onto his face in a near-permanent state. He seemed to revel quietly in the history of Bollinger, dating back to when Ay was the epicenter of Champagne production. He described Bollinger as a “living patrimony” to Champagne, thanks primarily to Madame Jacques Bollinger’s tenacity: “She would say, ‘if it’s good for the wine, I don’t care about the cost; we do it!'”…

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Wine Reviews: Weekly Mini Round-Up For October 19, 2015

Vinted on October 19, 2015 binned in wine mini-reviews

So, like, what is this stuff, anyway?
I taste a bunch-o-wine (technical term for more than most people). So each week, I share some of my wine reviews (mostly from samples) and tasting notes with you via twitter (limited to 140 characters). They are meant to be quirky, fun, and easily-digestible reviews of currently available wines. Below is a wrap-up of those twitter wine reviews from the past week (click here for the skinny on how to read them), along with links to help you find these wines, so that you can try them for yourself. Cheers!

  • NV Alexandre Bonnet Perle Brut Rose (Champagne): Raspberries that want to be liked, bringing both the flowers & the polished bling. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Alexandre Bonnet Noir Extra-Brut (Champagne): Lithe, clean, tropical, chalky, and generally giving the Aube a very good name. $45 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 06 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Brut (Champagne): Imagine the whole boutique bakery shop, as owned by lavishly-dressed royalty. $150 A- >>find this wine<<
  • NV Veuve Clicquot Brut Yellow Label (Champagne): Can you smoke apricots while eating biscuits? No? Well, this will get you close. $40 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 14 Terlato Family Vineyards Friuli Pinot Grigio (Friuli Colli Orientali): Dynamic personality more than makes up for the love handles $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • NV Emilio Hildago Fino Jerez Seco (Jerez): Fino that flexes some intensely nutty muscles, and flaunts a splendid overall physique. $14 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 13 Karl Schaefer Sonnentropfen Wachenheim Riesling Medium Dry (Pfalz): Sun drops is actually pretty spot on here; so is lemon drops. $29 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 10 Piccini Villa al Cortile Brunello di Montalcino (Montalcino): Earthy to earthy, acid to acid, dusty tannin to dusty tannin… $52 A- >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Piccini Sasso al Poggio (Toscana): Plaintively gardening in the dirt, but actually has some dirty fantasies going on in its mind. $25 B+ >>find this wine<<
  • 09 Gussalli Beretta Lo Sparviere Brut (Franciacorta): This one sneaks up one you, & you'll drain those bubbles dry before it's done. $30 B+ >>find this wine<<
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That *Other* Perrier (Joseph Perrier Champagne Recent Releases)

Vinted on October 15, 2015 binned in crowd pleaser wines, elegant wines, on the road, wine review

Joseph Perrier caves

Jean-Claude Fourmon – president of the fourth-generation family-owned Joseph Perrier in Châlons-en-Champagne – doesn’t seem at all deterred by the fact that, in the U.S., his brand is probably best known as “that other Perrier” that not-as-many people have tasted.

Jean-Claude Fourmon

Jean-Claude Fourmon

He’s quick with amusing witticisms, bordering on platitudes if not for his fantastic delivery; things like, “a day without Champagne is very sad” (truer words were never spoken, I suppose), “we all know that Prosecco is a poison” (definitely not true, but funny), “grapes, blend, and dosage make all the difference, the rest is fantasy” (refreshingly honest), and “‘Can I have another glass?’ That is how I measure success!” (not a bad watermark, methinks).

Now, if he were less affable, he might be a bit more worried about the fact that, since they export seventy-five percent of their production, having a lower profile in one of the world’s largest wine markets isn’t ideal. But Fourmon seems to think that history will prevail.

After all, Joseph Perrier has the Champagne traditions that wine geeks love: along with multi-generational family ownership, there’s multi-generational grape-growing supply agreements, multi-generational cellarmasters, equipment that’s reminiscent of a working museum, and a history that puts the brand in lock-step with the better-known Champers houses (in the early twentieth century, they shared the region’s first paper label with those other brands – only the brand names was changed on each at the time)…

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