The Stars of Champagne with Mary Burnham – August 30

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

The stars aligned last night @ SFWC as we gathered with Mary Burnham, freelance food and wine writer and author of Food & Wine Magazine’s 2012 Guide to Wine. Mary taught us about the prized region of Champagne, France, and why the soil, grapes, and climate are so important in making Champagne. We learned about how Champagne is made, why the second fermentation is so important, and what effect the dead yeast cells, or lees, have on the taste of Champagne. During the tasting, we enjoyed a broad range of large house Champagnes and special grower Champagnes. Most of the large houses in Champagne buy grapes from different sources in the area and then blend for a consistent style every year. Grower Champagnes are made from producers who grow their own grapes and might sell some to the large houses and use some for their own production. The wines were really special, and everyone enjoyed the lineup. It was amazing to taste the different styles, compare vintage and non-vintage, and experience different vintages. Hats off to Brian for creating an exceptional tasting!

The wines:

1.            Pierre Peters Brut Cuvee Reserve Grand Cru *

2.            Laurent Perrier Brut 1996

3.            Hubert Paulet Brut Premier Cru 1999

4.            Chartogne-Taillet Brut VV 2002 *

5.            Gaston Chiquet Brut Cart d’Or 2002 *

6.            Vilmart Cuvee Grand Cellier d’Or 2005 *

7.            Ayala Rose Majeur

8.            Krug Brut Rose *

Wines with a star (*) are available in very limited quantities for purchase here at SFWC. Contact Brian if you are interested:

Thanks to Mary for a fantastic education in all things bubbly and to the students for attending!

Next week: Jason Alexander will take us through the red wines of Burgundy.

Until then, enjoy the holiday weekend and CHEERS!

Melanie Friedman

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