Monday, December 17, 2012

Tasting Panel Champagne Event 2012

During the holidays, everyone wants to talk about the bubbles.  And why not?  What’s more festive than a flute full of stars?

The Tasting Panel magazine stages a little Champagne event each holiday season, and this year’s event depicted Editor-In-Chief Anthony Dias Blue as a Photoshopped elf.  I couldn’t stay away.  I attended the Los Angeles event on December 13, 2012 at Waterloo and City, in Culver City.

I’m glad I didn’t stay away.  I don’t drink a lot of sparkling wine throughout the year.  At the event, I happened to mention to a colleague that “I’m not a sparkling person.”  Taking the cue, she replied wryly, “Yes, we’ve noticed that about you.”  Nevertheless, I do like a chance to taste a number of good sparkling wines side-by-side.

Some of the bubbles poured are extremely affordable - some are in what you might call the “special occasion” category.  Here are a few I found interesting, with the prices taken from the sheet that was handed out at the door.

Frank Family Vineyards 2008 Blanc de Blancs ($45) - Most interesting, with some funky aromas and flavors of burnt toast and herbs.

Domaine Carneros 2008 Brut ($27) - This was the least expensive wine poured at the event, and it’s one of the best.  Frothy and funky with fine bubbles and a toasty palate.

JCB 2007 #9 ($48) - Nice bubbles lead to a crème brûlée nose and an edgy palate.

Ferrari Perle 2006, Metodo Classico, Trento DOC, Italy ($35) - This smells dark and brooding, but tastes earthy and fruity. 

Schramsberg 2008 Blanc de Noirs ($39) - Lovely toasty flavor.  Their ‘09 Blancs de Blancs wasn’t bad, either. ($37)

Champagne Paul Goerg 2002 Brut ($40) - A little light on bubbles, if that sort of thing matters to you, but a nose of caramel toast and a candy apple finish makes up for it.

Champagne Henriot Millesime 2005 ($99) - Almost without bubbles when I got to it, but great, earthy toast on the nose and palate.

Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2002 ($58) - Funky toast on the bouquet, with crisp golden apple flavors following.  

Champagne Paul Goerg 2000 Cuvée Lady Brut Vintage ($95) - An earthy, funky nose, fantastic bubbles and a toasty palate.

Champagne Gosset Grand Millesime 2000 ($100) - Aromas of Sweet Tarts and a really nice apricot flavor seem at odds, but it works.

Champagne Perrier-Jouet 2004 Belle Epoque ($130) - The most expensive wine I tasted at the event is elegant, toasty and fruity - it has it all.

All the Champagnes priced at over $100 showed characteristics worthy of note, although many of the wines at the lower end of the price spectrum displayed much more bang for the buck.

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