Monday, December 21, 2009

Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne NV Brut



Denise and I opened a small bottle of Feuillatte "1/4" I had picked up recently.  I've seen it in various stores this season, usually near the checkout stand as a point-of-purchase item.  The bottle is only 187ml, so I suppose they are marketing them as stocking stuffers.  Neither of us drink a lot of sparkling wine, so the size was great for us to just sample it.  It pours out to about a flute and a half.  I've seen it listed at $10, but I got it for $4 at a sale.  As you can see in the image, there is also a rose version.

 We wanted to pair the Feuillatte with some cheeses we had picked up at the Beverly Hills Cheese Shop and Andrew's Cheese Shop in Santa Monica.  It was a chilly night, the Christmas tree was fully lit and decorated and White Christmas was on TV.  A perfect night for some Champagne and cheese.

Feuillatte is the number-one selling brand of Champagne in France and number-three worldwide.  They are now being distributed in the U.S. by Washington's Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.  To say Feuillatte is a large producer is an understatement.  From the press release: "With the support of its 5,000 wine growers, the Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte benefits from an extensive and rich supply of quality grapes, representing 7% of the Champagne wines produced."  

The grapes used in this bottling are 20% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 40% Pinot Meunier.  There is an extremely yeasty nose, almost barnyard-like in funkiness.  The mouthfeel is full and creamy with plenty of small bubbles which persist for a long time after pouring.  There's a lemon zest component and the flavor of almonds.  The wine gives me the feeling of ginger ale.

The Feuillatte went very well with the creamy Minuet cheese by Andante Dairy.  The dairy recommends a Chenin Blanc from Vouvray or a Gruner Veltliner, but this Champagne was quite serviceable with it.  It fit even better with Truffle Tremor cheese by Cypress Grove Chevre out of Arcata, CA.  The real discovery of the night was finding that the Truffle Tremor went great - scratch that - fantastic with Liqueur de Chataigne, or chestnut liqueur.