Monday, May 23, 2011

Champagne Week - Final Wrap

I don't know about you, but I'm all Champagned out.

After a week of bubbles, what do you make of all these Champagnes?  Have we learned anything?  Yes, dammit, yes.  Before we recap on conclusions, here's a quick recap on the wines and their respective scores.  Oh, and these are in my loose order of preference - but it's a tight cluster at the top:

Maison JJ Vincent Crémant de Bourgogne $20
Trapiche Extra Brut Mendoza $15
Pol Roger Brut Reserve 'White Foil' $50
Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut $10
Lamberti Rosé Spumante Veneto $14
Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs $25

So, what did we learn? 
  • It should be consumed weekly.  If beer can be any every day drink and wine can be an every day drink, then Champagne should be able to be an every day drink, right? No.  While it can actually be pretty darn enjoyable, I'm not yet convinced that Champagne is a beverage to be enjoyed daily. Part of the reason is that its allure becomes diluted if its presence is too common. Weekly? For sure. But not daily.
  • You can drink it with food. No, really, you can. It'll probably be a tough habit to develop, but a fun one to cultivate.
  • Champagne (the place in France) is not the only source for good bubbly.  As this lineup shows, qualitatively superior and stylistically diverse options abound from every corner of the globe - and at every price point.  Heck, one of our favorite go-to sparkling wines (not included in this quiver) is from New Mexico.
  • Not all Champagne gives you hangovers. Previous experimentation with Champagne usually occurred on celebratory occasions, right? And whatever little Champagne you had was probably preceded by thirteen gin and tonics. It wasn't that glass of Champagne that gave you the hangover, dummy.
  • There is a possibility for Champagne beyond its confined existence here in the US.  But there are some serious headwinds up against it, chief among them is the marketing practices of those owning the lion's share of brand equity.  The Moets, Roederers, and Cliquots of the world seem intent on maintaining Champagne's image as a refreshment for the elite.  Little, if any, targeting is done to bring men into the fold.  And the spend cycles coincide directly with those sparkly holidays, not beyond.  When those with the dough wake up (or make a play in the everyman price point market), there might be a chance for this beverage to go mainstream.  Until then, consider yourself among the cognoscenti.
Cheers!

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