The 2012 annual Champagne tasting hosted by the Institute of Masters of Wine recently took place in San Francisco. The freakish 90 degree heat in October was offset by a nicely air-conditioned room on the second floor of the Ferry Building. What an enchanting view of the Bay, chilled bubblies in hand! Mesmerized. Slightly tipsy, my thoughts drifted - "is it time to try for a second kid?..." I guess Champagne will do that :)
I document this worthwhile event every year. For getting a broad swath of the latest and greatest in Champagne, to my knowledge, there is no better event in the Bay Area. And considering the $60 admission fee, this is probably the best bang for your buck of any wine tasting of the year.
Teeth aching of acid overdose, a hundred bottles worth thousands of $$ of glorious sparkling sampled, a few exemplars truly moved... The best bottles are not cheap - retailing for well over $100, and the Rosé over $300, but when you are ready to live it up, it's hard to go back to the non-vintage rank-and-file after these vintage beauts.
Henriot "Enchanteleurs" 1998. Another power-house Henriot following the great 1996. Riper and richer (sweeter?) than most other dry champagnes, with a smile-inducing kaleidoscope of flavors. Very sexy.
Veuve Clicquot "La Grand Dame" 2004. On the wings of the great 1998, comes another perfect Champagne with a pronounced citrus note from Veuve Clicquot, this time from the 2004 vintage.
Charles Heidsieck "Blanc des Millenaires" 1995. A classic. Overall, the most balanced and text-book perfect Champagne specimen of the tasting.
Perrier-Jouet "Belle Epoque" Rosé 2004. Absolute beauty, with dreamy, elegant honeyed Pinot berry flavor.
P.S. Worth a mention -- Charles Ellner and Pol Roger were solid across their portfolios. The Bollinger NV was quite lovely as well.