Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Grand Champagne Tasting of 2012

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.

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