Intro: Exploring the Wine World with Bruce


Cisco the HSS blogging cat here… Thought it was about time to unearth the experiences of Da Gizz as he roamed the world in search of wine… What follows is his first “getting acquainted” memories of France. (More wine details in subsequent posts!)

Landing at Charles de Gaul Airport @ 7:am after an all nighter from New York is the beginning of My 3 week wine tour. To preface, I was working for a wine importer and set up a whirlwind tour of France, from Paris to Paris, clockwise…

After renting a car and looking at a map, I headed for Epernay, to the north east of Paris. Along the way, I stopped at the open market in the town of Brie de Maux and picked out a scrumptious fromage and jambon on baguette {that’s cheese and ham on a roll}, with a local mustard. It definitely hit the satisfaction spot.

Back on the road to Epernay, I had 2 hours ahead of me to think about the landscape. The roads are much smaller than the States and the vineyards are all along the path. Interestingly enough, when approaching a village, the houses were built up to the sidewalk with fences between them. The front yards are all where we would call the back yards. They open up to some family space and to the vineyards.

Coming upon the city of Epernay, the land scape was not white to black but there was an abrupt change in roadside looks. My first desire was to find My hotel, shower and rest. I had 3 hours until my first winery appointment so it was definitely time to relax…

Epernay and Reims are the two major cities of the Champagne Region.  Keep in mind only wines made from grapes grown and processed by a stringent set of rules from this region may be called Champagne. No other wines made anywhere in the world may be called “Champagne!” The Methode Champenoise is the ‘process’ used, also known as Methode Traditional, these terms may be placed on the label of any wine made anywhere in the world that is a sparkling wine using the Champagne method.  One last techie point before tasting and discussing is that of the grapes used: Pinor Noir, Chardonnay, and a little bit of Petite Meuniere…

I had 2 appointments in Champagne.  One at Krug and the other at Moet Chandon.  To be honest with you, the wines from both houses were similar in nature.  The “Tete du Cuvee’s” or literally “head of the blends” or otherwise known as specials of the house were both clean on the palate with crisp tiny and plentiful bubbles.  If there was any difference, I noted that the Dom Perignon from Moet was a little lighter and the Krug was a bit creamier, but not by much. (One point to keep in mind is when comparing wines tasted on a different day of even later in the day – you must rely heavily on your notes.  This is why a well constructed tasting sheet and a very technical one is used. )
Another wine I was totally blown away by at Moet was both levels of Rose.  The Dom Perignon Rose and the lesser, Moet Chandon Brut Rose.  These wines are not sweet as in the on-occasion still wine rose’s.  They are floral to the nose yet clean on the tongue.  There is a richer quality the wine gives to the palate that comes from the pinot noir grape.

As for appropriate foods, I believe Champagnes can be served anytime with just about any food, but especially great with appetizers and desserts.  Desserts of a raisin, apricot or chocolate base are extra specialanzzo.
Hope you enjoyed my days in Champagne but we are now off to Strasbourg and the wines of Alsace/Lorraine.

Da Gizz

So that’s our first entry from Bruce… Stay tuned for more, maybe even with pictures!

Two cats blogging by the racks

P.S. Don’t forget our word search contest and write a story contest!!!

Wine Glossaries

* Nat Decants: A thorough glossary from Natalie MacLean, noted wine writer, speaker, and judge.
* “The Independent Consumer’s Guide to Fine Wines”
* GLOSSARY of Wine-Tasting Terminology (Version 1.4 – Jan. 1995): A thorough collection of definitions from Anthony Hawkins.

Beer Glossaries

* ratebeer: Now that’s a straightforward name!
* beer-pages: Roger Protz and Tom Cannavan say that “it’s all about beer”.
* A fine collection of Beer dictionaries.


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