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    Blog

    Meunier: The Black Sheep of Champagne with Alan Tardi

    Meunier has always been somewhat marginalized in Champagne despite the fact that it occupies a third of the territory under vine. Many Champenois consider it mere filler to bulk up the ‘star players’ Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while for others the late-budding early-ripening variety represents little more than an insurance policy against frost.

    But Meunier has its own unique personality which can make a significant contribution to a classic blend and, given the chance, the variety can also show exceptionally well all on its own.

    While many vignerons were once hesitant to even admit they grew it, more and more producers have gotten behind it, proudly producing 100% Meunier wines that demonstrate the variety's true potential and offer an entirely different facet of Champagne.

    In this webinar we’ll take a close look at the Meunier variety and assess its true significance in Champagne while also examining exactly where it grows within the region and some of the most important wines and producers that champion it.

    Presenter: Alan Tardi

    Alan Tardi first became interested in wine through food, working as a cook, chef, and chef-owner in New York City.

    As a freelance food and wine journalist, Tardi has authored numerous articles for publications including The New York Times, Wine & Spirits Magazine, The Wine Spectator, Decanter, and Sommelier Journal.

    In 2003, Alan moved to the village of Castiglione Falletto in the Barolo region of Italy, where he spent several years working in the surrounding vineyards and wineries through all phases of the growing and production process.

    This lead to his first book, 'Romancing the Vine: Life, Love and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo' (St Martins Press, 2006), which won a James Beard Award for Best Wine and Spirits Book of 2006.

    In 2015, Tardi became the first-ever US Ambassador of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco.

    His new book, “Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink” (Hachette 2016) recently won a Gourmand Best in the World Award.

    Read more...

    Champagne Anomalies with Alan Tardi

    Abstract:

    Everybody knows Champagne. But the vast majority of what most people are familiar with is the bubbly brand-driven non-vintage brut which, meticulously assembled in a consistent house style year after year, has set the standard for luxury and celebration for well over a century.

    There’s nothing wrong with this: many of these wines are perfectly enjoyable and some can be downright exceptional.

    But there are also some interesting and compelling yet largely overlooked anomalies of Champagne that offer an entirely different perspective on the area and thus a deeper understanding of the wine that is made there.

    In this webinar we’ll explore some little-known aspects of Champagne such as:

    • The two other practically unknown appellations of the Champagne viticole — Coteaux Champenois AOC (the fascinating still wines, both red and white, that preceded the development of the méthode Champenoise) and Rosé des Riceys AOC;
    • producers who are focusing on lesser-known native grape varieties besides pinot noir and chardonnay;
    • specificity of terroir through single-vineyards, lieux dits and clos;
    • geological twists, like the southern Aube (which is essentially an extension of the Cote d’Or) and the town of Montgueux (which, though located in the south, is essentially a satellite of the Cote des Blancs);
    • and interesting practices in the cellar, such as a local adaptation of the Solera technique of blending.

    Presenter: Alan Tardi

    Alan Tardi first became interested in wine through food, working as a cook, chef, and chef-owner in New York City.

    As a freelance food and wine journalist, Tardi has authored numerous articles for publications including The New York Times, Wine & Spirits Magazine, The Wine Spectator, Decanter, and Sommelier Journal.

    In 2003, Alan moved to the village of Castiglione Falletto in the Barolo region of Italy, where he spent several years working in the surrounding vineyards and wineries through all phases of the growing and production process.

    This lead to his first book, 'Romancing the Vine: Life, Love and Transformation in the Vineyards of Barolo' (St Martins Press, 2006), which won a James Beard Award for Best Wine and Spirits Book of 2006.

    In 2015, Tardi became the first-ever US Ambassador of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco.

    His new book, “Champagne, Uncorked: The House of Krug and the Timeless Allure of the World’s Most Celebrated Drink” (Hachette 2016) recently won a Gourmand Best in the World Award.

    Learn More About Champagne:

    Read more...

    Ten Essential French White Wines

    The white wines of France offer unrivaled perfection. With few exceptions, every vineyard growing white grapes is so planted not because reds won’t grow well there, but because whites will flourish. France’s white wines are not an afterthought or a consolation prize. These are vinous treasures worth exploring.

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    The Diversity of Champagne Houses, Growers, and Coopératives

    Autumn in Champagne is a spectacular time to explore the region. The countryside and vineyards are abounding in rich palettes of color and the intoxicating fall fragrance instills a unique sensorial experience. Champagne is like laughter as it fills my senses with joy, especially when the cork pops and the bubbles burst with song!

    The educational experience created by the Wine Scholar Guild is a first class escapade! The inception of our tour and taste of Champagne, guided by Master of Wine, Essi Avellan, brought us full circle through the entire region with a sprinkling of the styles between Houses, Growers and Coopératives. Our adventure began with an introduction to the infamous Champagne Houses of Ruinart and Roederer.

    Read more...

    Champagne & War with Don & Petie Kladstrup

    How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times

    It's been said that Champagne has been the site of more bloody battles and large-scale wars than any other place on earth. 

    From the time of Attila the Hun to the Germans in World War II, countless invaders have tried to conquer this strife-torn land.  Yet, somehow it managed to become the birthplace of the world's most beloved wine. 

    On December 7, Don and Petie Kladstrup will show how this sparkling wine, born of bloodshed, became the symbol of glamour, good times and celebration.

    It is a story filled with larger-than-life characters: Dom Perignon, the father of champagne, who, contrary to popular belief, worked his entire life to keep bubbles out of champagne; the Sun King, Louis XIV, who rarely drank anything else; and Napoleon, who, in trying to conquer the world, introduced it to champagne.

    Presenters: Don & Petie Kladstrup

    Don and Petie Kladstrup are former journalists who have written extensively about wine and France for numerous publications.

    Don, a winner of three Emmys and numerous other awards, was a foreign correspondent for ABC and CBS television news.

    Petie, an Overseas Press Club winner, was a newspaper journalist and more recently protocol officer for the U.S. ambassador to UNESCO.

    The Kladstrups divide their time between Paris and Normandy.

    Learn more about Champagne with the Champagne Master Level Program and embark on a Champagne Wine immersion trip.

    Read more...

    Chemistry behind Champagne aromas

    A BIT OF WINE CHEMISTRY: Lessons from Champagne

    Day one of the Champagne study trip initiated a discussion which continued throughout the week of factors impacting aromas and flavors in champagne. Broadly, aromas can be categorized into the impacts of grape variety, terroir, vinification, and post-production events (influencing individual bottles versus entire “batches”).

    This article will focus upon the biochemistry of sulfur, nitrogen, oxygen, and sugars in an acidic environment (esters arising from acidification of alcohol); the intent is not intended to be comprehensive. For purposes of this essay, the use of the word aroma will include the complex notes of aging characterized as “bouquet.”

    “Although many efforts have been made to characterize the quality and flavor of the compounds in wine… tasting remains the single universal test used… This is because the taste of a molecule, or blend of molecules, is constructed within the brain of a taster.” F. Brochet and D. Dubourdieu, 2001

    Read more...

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