No one knows what the body can do. -Spinoza

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Champagne in the All Day Night of Alaska, Continued

As you may recall, my sister and I tasted a number of champagnes over the December holiday. In a previous post I gave champagne notes for the first four. Following are notes for the next four we drank.

5. Pierre Gimonnet & Fils, Blanc de blanc

I've just gotten released from jury duty. They kept me for two days of questioning. The first day the state prosecutor demanded to know about any interaction any of us had had with the cops. The second day, the defense asked philosophical questions about the legal system, and ideas of guilt and innocence. I am the wrong person to ask such questions.

Our mom arrives, ready to taste the champagne with us. She's in a rush between making our dad his lunch, and running off to town to run some errands.

My sister had been sure I'd be chosen for the jury.

Thomas Keller, from the French Laundry serves Pierre Gimonnet as his house champagne. This is a good, straightforward choice for such things. An accessible, balanced champagne. Creamy, with a sharp finish. Good for opening up the palette before a meal.

There's a new bakery in Anchorage with good, solid breads, and interesting sandwiches. We drink the champagne to prepare for this --a turkey, green apple, light chutney, and white cheese sandwich on ciabatta. The blanc de blanc serves these flavors well.

We've had ice fog hovering over town for days, with weather too cold for going outside, and snow too slow to ski. We can't see the mountains.

I explain to both of them the kinds of questions we were asked. I tell them I talked too much. Everyone the lawyers kept had straightforward answers. Mine were all long, and too complicated. My mom is proud. It's proof of something, though she doesn't say what, that I escaped the jury process.

Finishing her flute of wine, Mom rushes off. It's time to finish errands.

6. Krug Grande Cuvee

We sisters go in the other room and watch Absolutely Fabulous. I haven't seen much of it, and it's Melanie's favorite. We'd planned months ago to watch it together.

The women on screen are drinking "Bolly, Eddy?" We're laughing. We've got some Bollinger we plan to drink with the
Ab-Fab ladies later in the visit, but right now we're not expecting any guests so we're drinking the Krug now to enjoy it for ourselves.

Strong cheesy, bready nose. Clean taste and finish. Full and round flavors. Very drinkable. Could handle a broad range of foods from sweeter, to fatty. Would be good for the foods that are classically served with dry, acidic white wine, like oysters. The flavors are strong enough, it might even stand up to a steak.

Champagne is classically made with a mix of three grapes--chardonnay, pinot noir, pinot meunier. Krug admits to having the highest proportion of Pinot Meunier of any of the houses. It showcases a well-balanced taste of all three grapes--you can find them each in your mouth. Pinot meunier is thought to be too delicate a grape to age very well, so champagne houses don't admit to how much they use in their blend so that people will buy it even vintage. Krug has proven to age well. This makes it seem perhaps pinot meunier actually ages fine too.

The Veuve Cliquot Grande Dame is a fuller, rounder flavor, more fruity, and less crisp than the Krug. But the Krug is lovely.

The episode has finished. We've moved back into the other room, where we're drinking the Krug with St Andre Triple Cream, and Caars Whole Wheat Crackers. The tastes are perfect together. We turn on classic Dolly Parton. Her voice is strong, and smooth, singing about a love that will never leave her, though she is leaving him.

7. Marc Hebrart Premier Cru

The snow has started to fall outside.

Hebrart is considered a new and interesting producer. He grows mostly pinot noir, and some chardonnay, with a style considered similar to Gimonnet. His champagne combines the two grapes, without the pinot meunier.

Flavors of bread, with a bite, and a touch of sweet. Creamy and tart with fine bubbles. A smooth texture in the mouth. Rather sharp and acidic. More so than the Gimonnet.

It is quiet outside with the snow falling. The fog has finally lifted. With fresh snow the temperature has risen as well. The evergreen trees are dark, but lit by white atop their branches.

8. Inflorescence Blanc de Noirs

I am excited to try champagnes made from each of the three types of grapes, in varying combinations. There is plenty of blanc de blanc (just chardonnay) out there. But rarely do you see straight pinot meunier, and not very often just blanc de noirs (pinot noir). We have been looking forward to this wine.

Very crisp, though not biting. Light apple flavors. Acidic in the mouth. Not very sophisticated flavor, but drinkable. Would drink again, but not buy again. The flavors would suit well for omelettes.

Melanie's partner and son return tomorrow. It will be good to see them both. Before they get back, it's time to enjoy some more "Bolly, Eddy?" With the snow falling we go back to spend sometime with the Ab-Fab ladies. They are being awful, and we're laughing.

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