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in july mr suzi will be celebrating his 20th year at work(2/3 of his hated work life will be over).  he wants to have a special meal that reflects our history but he wants a great bottle of bubbly.  i would appreciate any suggestions.  

so far the menu includes frito pie and corn dogs(i figure beer with this stuff - most likely his homemade beer) for the time we spent in east texas.  shrimp wrapped in bacon; filet mignon(i have a premier cru stashed away for this part). mixed green salad with fresh jersey tomatoes, fresh jersey corn-on-the cob with godiva and neuhaus chocolates for dessert.

i've been thinking pommeray louise, the widow or cuvee winston churchill.  any ideas/suggestions for where or pairing will be greatly appreciated.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

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I've always found Veuve Cliquot Yellow Label Brut to be to our liking, vintage or non-vintage depending on your price point.  It has a quite dry finish with a nice amount of fruit taste and a very refreshing mouthfeel.  In fact I prefer it to any other label, regardless of price.  I don't know what vintage is being sold now, so you might check the reviews.

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Be sure to care about the vintage as well.  1990 and prior years had a lot of stars (Winston Churchill is a good choice).  Subsequent to then, the pickin's are leaner.

How much do you want to spend?

it also happens to be our 20th wedding anniversary and, since we aren't going anywhere, i figured to put the part of my vacation money into this so i have around 350.00us to spend.

with such diverse foods i was going to try to find several bottles and/or half bottles we could sip on and enjoy.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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This is probably not going to be "special occasion" enough but I had some really lovely Pol Roger White Foil (nv) in a restaurant the other day. It's in the shops in the UK for the equivilent of $34.00 and a 1993 for $55.00. It had good acidity, a bit of body, nice and dry and just delicious.

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I've found that I only enjoy Vueve Cliquot le grande dame.  The non vintage stuff I've tried has invariably been thin, and generally disappointing.  But, to my underdeveloped palate, the grande dame has been consistently excellent.

What do members think of rose champaign?  I've always thought it's a little gimicky, and have never tried it.

Another option might be the Tatinger blanc de blancs--I've read excellent reviews, but never tried them.  

My problem with champaigne consumption is that I rarely have the opportunity or desire to consume an entire bottle.  At a restaurant, champagne is only a good match for the first couple of courses--if that.  At home, nothing that I prepare would work with champagne, and it feels unacceptably decadent and wasteful to open a top-notch champagne just for celebration, or even as an apertif.  I'd like to hear how other members believe top quality champagne should be consumed--both at home and in the restaurant.

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Ajay - Champagne and other sparkling wines are not just for special occasions.  Champagne can be enjoyed any time with most any foods; I feel they are some of the most versatile wines made.  Sparkling wines are made with varying amounts of residual sugars so they range (and are labeled) from sweet (demi-sec) to slightly sweet (sec) to dry (brut).  They are also made with different combinations of wines;  Champagne is made from chardonnay, pinot meunier and pinot noir.  Some (blanc de blanc) are made with 100% chardonnay and others (bland de noir) are made with pinot noir.  Without writing a book champagne has may styles and is easily paired with food, even steak.  An other misconception about Champagne is that it is meant to be sipped when actually Champagne is best gulped more like soda than cognac.

I would agree that most vintage sparkling wines are expensive for everyday but there are many non-vintage wines that are affordable and great.  I used to work for Moet and Chandon as a promoter with the goal being to help Americans understand that champagne is not just for special occasions (I must not have done a good job).  

First we should differentiate vintage form non-vintage.  Non-vintage wines are made year after year with one goal in mind, to maintain a consistent brand style and taste.  They are made by mixing new wine with older vintage wines; the idea is that you should be able to open bottles that were produced years apart and they should be (as long as they are properly cared for) the same.  Vintage champagne is made only in years that the producer feels are extraordinary and in those years the wine is made with 100% wine from that year; this is why quality houses don't produce vintage wines every year.

As far as N/V goes I suggest that you try a bunch of different producers and find what you like (dry, nutty, citrusy, etc.) and stick with it.

Some of my favorites:

Louis Roderer N/V

Pommery

Nicolas Feuillatte

Taittenger Brut de la Francais

Pol Roger

Moet and Chandon

Egly-Ouriet

Vintage Champagne is a bit harder because each year is different (the exception is Krug multi-vintage; made from diff. vintage years only).  I suggest you find a producer you trust and try the different vintages.

Some of my favorites:

Krug

Billicart-Salmon

Louis Roder (crystal)

Veuve Clicquot (la grande dame)  

Laurent-Perrier

On to Rose.  Some of the best dry Champagne are Roses.  In the states they are precives as sweet or gimmicky, but in reality they are some of the best.  If you want a mind blowing Champagne experience spring for the Krug Rose Multi-Vintage (approx. $275) it will not disappoint.

In conclusion, gulp Champagne and lots of it!

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My expereince with champagne is that it doesn't pair so well with the foods I like, especially pork products, and lamb.  

Thus, I take champagne only infrequently.

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My expereince with champagne is that it doesn't pair so well with the foods I like, especially pork products, and lamb.  

Thus, I take champagne only infrequently.

but you can't deny the combination of fried chicken and champagne.  well, you could i suppose, but i would feel the need to pelt you with rocks and garbage.

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Where's Steve P when you need him, he knows a thing or two about this subject. 1990 Dom Perignon is another real winner, which I sample courtesy of the kindness of Mr Plotnicki when he attended the UK eGullet dinner.

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but you can't deny the combination of fried chicken and champagne.  well, you could i suppose, but i would feel the need to pelt you with rocks and garbage.

so tommy- when we have the nj picnic you bring the fried chicken - i'll bring the champagne?

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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If you tend to drink non-vintage champagne,  the 1990 Grand Dame seems like the best bet based on current (California) market prices (about $80).  I'm pretty sure you'll be very happy with that. Also excellent is the 1990 Pol Roger Winston Churchill.

Bollinger Grand Anee 1989 is excellent and different, a little yeasty (a good thing in my taste vocabulary for champagne).  1990 Grand Annee is also very good.    

Dom Perignon 1990 is also nice (but I prefer the Grand Dame). I love the Dom Perignon 1985, but I think I've seen posts where others didn't like it (didn't stop me from buying a couple bottles more though :>).

If you want to go the next step up, Vintage Krug is tops.  Also Vintage Salon.  Say from 1985 or 89 or 90 (maybe even 88 for Krug I think). If it says Clos de Mensil from those years on it, you know you've hit the jackpot (and will take a jackpot to pay for it).

If you want to have a fun extra bottle, try Laurent-Perrier non-vintage Rose. I like it, and a nice Rose is nice indeed!  Should be much cheaper than the vintage stuff above.  Not the same quality level, but vintage Rose's tend to be dear.

Leave some money over for a half bottle of Chateau Y'quem from 1988 or 1989 or 1990 (Sauterne, an expensive desert wine).  That may be the most memorable bottle.

beachfan

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so tommy- when we have the nj picnic you bring the fried chicken - i'll bring the champagne?

i'm pretty sure that can be arranged.  would you prefer popeye's, or the colonel.

col_bucket.jpg

colonel's, skinless, extra crispy - pol roger or tat's?

thanks all for the suggestions.  i cut my teeth on dom '72-'75 but agree the widow is consistently one of my favorite tipples.  jordan - sorry i didn't see your campaigns but my everyday drink is either champagne or sparkling white wine(domaine chandon, rondel brut extreme, banrock station's sparkling chardonnay) a glass for an appertif and one for my dessert.

well, off to two local wine merchants to see what i can find with some of your suggestions as a guide.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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Leave some money over for a half bottle of Chateau Y'quem from 1988 or 1989 or 1990 (Sauterne, an expensive desert wine).  That may be the most memorable bottle.

i don't know about the y'quem, beachfan.  neither of us like sweet or sweetish wines though we did like some inniskillen ice wine a friend got for me from canada.

the other problem is i am in the back of beyond in northwestern nj though there are two smallish wine shops where i can locate some things(the pol roger winston churchill - not sure of vintage- for about 125.00, pommeray louise for about 100.00).

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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I understand about the Y'quem, although it transcends the concept of sweet wine.

Regarding being in the boondocks, you should be able to get someone to ship to you, even if you are limited to in state stores.

Send me a message if you need help locating a place.  I found at least one pretty quickly, and they had 1985 Salon.

beachfan

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